If you have even the slightest interest in silver atelier, Georg Jensen is a name that you should go crazy on google with. I attended a private reception and tour of Denmark’s famed silver atelier, George Jensen, in Copenhagen and it is still, to this day, one of the most memorable things during my travels.
Beauty attracts us men; but if, like an armed magnet it is pointed, beside, with gold and silver, it attracts with tenfold power. – Jean Paul
Georg Jensen began life as the son of a knife grinder in Denmark. From childhood he was drawn to the fine arts and studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. After his graduation in 1892, he began exhibiting his sculptures. Though his pieces were well received, he could not support his family on an artist’s income and went to work as a porcelain modeller. Again, his work was well received but sales were not strong.
In 1901 Jenson abandoned ceramics and apprenticed under master silversmith and designer, Mogens Ballin. At last Jensen found his calling. In 1904 he invested all of his savings and opened his own silver atelier in Copenhagen.
Jensen’s training in metalwork and his education in the fine arts combined to create the perfect artist-craftsman. Soon his refined, Art Nouveau designs garnered both critical and commercial success.
By the end of the 1920’s Georg Jensen had boutiques showcasing his works in London, Paris, New York, and of course, Copenhagen.
Georg Jensen continued to be beset by financial woes throughout his life.
In 1920 he lost everything when his bank, Landmandsbanken, in London failed. In 1924 he was no longer Managing Director of Georg Jensen Silver, due to his financial problems. In 1925, though his designs and pieces are still winning critical acclaim, receiving honors at World’s Fairs, and experiencing healthy sales, he left the company and moved to Paris. In 1926 after mending fences with P. A. Pedersen, the new Managing Director, Jensen returns to Copenhagen and Georg Jensen Silver as Creative Director. Most of his time was spent on projects in his home studio. Jensen died suddenly in 1936.
Today Georg Jensen Silver is owned by the same firm that owns Royal Copenhagen Porcelain. Their flagship store is next door to Royal Copenhagen’s.The pieces designed in the Georg Jensen atelier today are sleek and contemporary, though with a tiny nod to Jensen’s Art Nouveau designs of the early 20th century.
From time to time they’ll even reproduce one of Jensen’s original designs for a limited run.