Georg Jensen 1866–1935
Georg Jensen, a name synonymous internationally with fine tableware and jewelry design in silver, was the son of a knife grinder in Denmark. He apprenticed as a goldsmith and studied sculpture before taking a job as modeler at a porcelain factory. In 1898 he opened a small pottery workshop with a partner, but gave this up within a few years to work as a silversmith and designer with Mogens Ballin. By 1904, he had opened his own silversmith shop in Copenhagen, inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement in England and the Art Nouveau Movement in France.
The public soon recognized Jensen as a gifted designer and craftsman. In collaboration with the Danish artist Christian Mohl Hansen he created the iconic Dove brooch used on many pieces of Jensen jewelry to this day. His success with jewelry encouraged him to make hollowware. He made a teapot with the now familiar flower motif that was bought by the Museum of Decorative Art. It became the protoype for a complete tea/coffee service. The pattern became known as "Magnolia". By the end of the 1920s, he had retail outlets in Stockholm, London, Paris, Berlin, and New York.
Though Georg Jensen favored the Art Nouveau style, he encouraged his designers to work in their own styles, as long as they did so with artistry and excellence in craftsmanship. In 1905 another collaboration important in Jensen's life began, this one with Johan Rohde who, in 1916, designed the most famous of Jensen's flatware patterns, “Acorn”. The popular flatware pattern "Pyramid" is a Harald Nielsen design. Gundorph Albertus, a Danish sculptor, was the designer of “Cactus” in silver and “Mitra” in stainless steel.
Georg Jensen died in 1935 after a series of financial difficulties. The culture created by Jensen’s open-mindedness succeeded in his lifetime and continued long after his death, attracting great designers such as Sigvard Bernadotte, Arne Malinowski, Henning Koppel, Vivianna Torun Bulow-Hube, Arne Jacobsen and Maria Berntsen. His firm continues to this day and his ethic gives the 100 years of design produced in his name the reputation it deserves, whether for earrings, necklaces, flatware, teapots, bowls or candlesticks.