GEORG JENSEN Biography - Craftmen, artisans and people from other Occupations


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Name: Georg Arthur Jensen                                                           
Born: 31 august 1866                                                                 
Died: 2 October 1935                                                                 
Georg Arthur Jensen (August 31, 1866, Raadvad, Denmark - October 2, 1935,           
Copenhagen) was a Danish silversmith.                                               
Born in 1866, Jensen was the son of a knife grinder in the town of Raadvad just     
to the north of Copenhagen. Jensen began his training in goldsmithing at the age     
of 14 in Copenhagen. His apprenticeship, with the firm Guldsmed Andersen, ended     
in 1884 and this freed young Georg to follow his artistic interests.                 
From childhood, Jensen had longed to be a sculptor and he now pursued this           
course of study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. He graduated in 1892 and         
began exhibiting his work. Although his clay sculpture was well received, making     
a living as a fine artist proved difficult and he turned his hand to the applied     
arts. First as a modeller at the Bing & Grandahl porcelain factory and,             
beginning in 1898, with a small pottery workshop he founded in partnership with     
Christian Petersen. Again the work was well received, but sales were not strong     
enough to support Jensen, by this point a widower, and his two small sons.           
In 1901, he abandoned ceramics and began again as a silversmith and designer         
with the master, Mogens Ballin. This led Jensen to make a landmark decision,         
when in 1904, he risked what small capital he had and opened his own little         
silversmithy at 36 Bredgade in Copenhagen.                                           
Jensen's training in metalsmithing along with his education in the fine arts         
allowed him to combine the two disciplines and revivify the tradition of the         
artist craftsman. Soon, the beauty and fine quality of his Art Nouveau creations     
caught the eye of the public and his success was assured. The Copenhagen             
quarters were greatly expanded and before the close of the 1920s, Jensen had         
opened retail outlets as far ranging as New York, London, Paris, Stockholm, and     
Georg Jensen died in 1935, but in the preceding years he imbued the firm with       
his strongly held ideals concerning both artistry in design and excellence in       
craftmanship, this tradition has been adhered to throughout the twentieth           
century. Although Jensen himself was a proponent of the Art Nouveau style, he       
had the wisdom and foresight to allow his designers their own freedom of             
expression which expanded the stylistic scope of what the firm produced and         
allowed it to keep step with time.