1866 - 1935
Georg Jensen was educated as a silversmith in Copenhagen in 1884. He wanted further education and studied at the Academy of Arts from 1887-1992 to become a sculptor. He then spent a few years abroad getting familiar with the trends and styles of the world outside Denmark. Upon his return to Denmark he started working with ceramist Christian Joachim.
In 1901 he returned to silver and started working for Mogens Ballin. He obtained permission to open his own workshop which he did in 1904 in Bredgade in the heart of Copenhagen. He produced jewellery in the Art Nouveau style and his designs were quickly in demand. His motto was that the price range of jewellery should be obtainable for all.
In 1912, expansion of his studio began in earnest. By 1917, he had built a workshop brimming with hundreds of employees. Jensen was awarded the Grand Prix at the world exhibition in Paris in 1925 and again in Barcelona in 1929. The sale of Jensen silver went really well and in the early 1930s there were Jensen shops in Paris, London, Berlin, Brussels, Géneva, Barcelona, Stockholm, St. Thomas, Buenos Aires and New York apart from the ones in Denmark.
Georg Jensen was something of an anomaly: he was equal parts artist and craftsman. His material knowledge came through in his designs. Unsatisfied in realizing just his own talent, he went a step further and left a legacy for other artists and craftsmen in creating a proud tradition of celebrated Danish designers. A name synonymous with excellence, Georg Jensen laid a framework for a tradition of silver known worldwide. Early on, the Art Nouveau style was a heavy influence upon a younger Jensen, but with a sculptor’s strong free lines and a silversmith’s intuitive feel for the material, he made it his own. With a fertile, creative imagination and a capacity for innovative styles, it has been said of Georg Jensen that “he never followed fashion, he created it.”
By his death in 1935, Georg Jensen was an international house of design where inspired artisans carried on a tradition of blending expert craftsmanship with forward-thinking design. In his obituary the New York Herald Tribune called him “the greatest silversmith of the last 300 years.”