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Georg Jensen: A Shining Legacy

Georg Jensen, the greatest silversmith of the 20th century, valued tradition yet always remained open to innovation. He also had a rare ability to recognize and foster talent in others. This generosity of spirit still guides the Georg Jensen Company and has been a major factor in its continuing success.

Jensen deeply believed in the importance of the collaborative process, one of the basic precepts of the Arts & Crafts movement in which his work was rooted. He even took the unusual step of permitting other designers to use their own distinctive marks on their work for Georg Jensen. This practice of giving credit where credit is due continues to the present.

In the company’s 117 years, more than 90 designers have contributed to the evolution of Jensen style. Among the most important contributors:

Johan Rohde

Jensen’s first collaborator and life-long friend, Rohde worked with the firm for years. His restrained, elegant “Acorn” flatware pattern, created in 1915, is one of the world’s best-known silver designs. Eighty different pieces are still produced today.

Georg Jensen Sterling Silver Pitcher, Denmark, 1933-44,
by Johan Rohde. Sold for $4,200
Georg Jensen Sterling Silver Pitcher, Denmark, 1933-44, by Johan Rohde.
Sold for $4,200

Some Rohde designs were far in advance of their time. His iconic pitcher #432 was designed in 1920 but wasn’t produced until 1925. Still a top seller, it’s been called the single greatest silver design of the 20th century.

Harald Nielsen

Georg Jensen’s near contemporary and brother-in-law, Nielsen moved beyond Jensen’s signature naturalistic designs with their sinuous rounded leaves, blossoms and fruits to a more stylized look.

Pair of Georg Jensen Sterling Dwarf Candlesticks by Harald Nielsen
Pair of Georg Jensen Sterling Dwarf Candlesticks,
post-1945, pattern number 604B by Harald Nielsen.
Sold for $1,225

Nielsen’s restrained decoration and pared-down Functionalist esthetic made him a favorite designer in the 1930s. Like so many other Jensen designers, his work seems timeless. Nielsen remained active in the firm until the 1960s.

Gundorph Albertus

Albertus started his 40-year career at the Georg Jensen Silversmithy when Jensen himself was still active. As well as being responsible for quality control, Albertus designed the popular “Cactus” pattern (1930) and the first Jensen stainless steel flatware in 1941.

Georg Jensen Sterling Silver Cactus Plate,
by Gundorph Albertus, Denmark, 1933-34.
Sold for $474

His simplified floral decoration was a transition from Jensen’s early more ornamented patterns to the abstract Modernism of post-World War II.

Georg Jensen stepped away from day-to-involvement in the Silversmithy in 1919. His philosophy of affordable, functional beauty expressed in metal continued to guide the output of a growing international business. Several generations of designers have continued to carry forward Jensen’s vision of elegance in design coupled with excellence in craftsmanship.

Sigvard Bernadotte

In 1930, Sigvard Bernadotte, a son of the King of Sweden, attended the Stockholm Exhibition and was immediately convinced to become a designer. Bernadotte spent the next 15 years designing 150 pieces of hollow ware, and many unique presentation pieces, for Jensen, designs that perfectly captured the sophisticated Functionalist aesthetic of the years between the wars.

Georg Jensen Sterling Silver Bernadotte Bowl,
Denmark, 1945, by Sigvard Bernadotte.
Sold for $1,067

Bernadotte carried forward Jensen’s mission to create beautiful objects for the home that could be afforded and enjoyed by many. Departing from Jensen’s own more nature-based realistic designs, Bernadotte was a pioneer of Swedish Modern style. He brought to Jensen an emphasis on restrained linear designs featuring engraved line and fluting. The “Bernadotte” flatware he designed in 1939 is still produced and widely admired.

Henning Koppel

Trained as an artist and sculptor, Koppel started at Georg Jensen in the 1940s. He designed some of the company’s most renowned pieces. Koppel never worked in silver himself; he rendered his designs in plaster and turned them over to the silversmiths to be made in metal.

Georg Jensen Sterling Silver Pitcher, Denmark, 1952, by Henning Koppel.

Henning Koppel was lauded for creating elegant “functional sculpture,” notably his extraordinary abstract pitchers and platters. These sleek designs, devoid of ornamentation set the tone for the modern 1950s and 60s postwar era.

The Georg Jensen Company has managed to balance continuity and renewal, remaining in the forefront of contemporary silver design for over 100 years. Some who have carried forward the Jensen tradition in more recent years:

Nanna Ditzel

Danish-born Ditzel, like many other notable Jensen designers and like Jensen himself, did distinguished work in other fields as well as silversmithing. She was an award-winning furniture designer before she turned to jewelry in the 1950s.

Ditzel’s designs were bold and architectural. In a departure from Jensen’s signature metal, silver, several Ditzel creations were also produced in 18 karat gold.


Georg Jensen, 18kt Gold and Cultured Pearl Brooch, by Nanna and Jorgen Ditzel.
Sold for $2,015
Sterling Silver and Onyx Brooch, Georg Jensen, Denmark, designed by Nanna Ditzel
Sterling Silver and Onyx Brooch, Georg Jensen, Denmark, designed by Nanna Ditzel.

Søren Georg Jensen

Georg Jensen’s fifth child, Søren like his father studied sculpture at the Royal Danish Academy. In 1949 the young man became a designer at the Georg Jensen Company and was its artistic director from 1962 to 1974.

He contributed a series of notable hollowware pieces as well as some jewelry.

Søren Jensen’s work was inspired by the Functionalist movement, which emphasized linearity and freedom from ornament. He incorporated abstract geometrical shapes in his designs, stressing clarity and balance.

Georg Jensen Sterling silver Salt and Pepper Shakers,  
Denmark, by Soren Georg Jensen.
Georg Jensen Sterling silver Salt and Pepper Shakers,
Denmark, by Soren Georg Jensen.
Sold for $677

Astrid Fog

Astrid Fog was a fashion designer who started creating jewelry to complement her clothes. She designed her first jewelry collection for Georg Jensen in 1969. The most successful of her 1970s silver spiral pieces for Jensen was a simple, large heart pendant on a chain.

Her Modernist sensibilities were displayed in basic geometric shapes: circles, squares, and rectangles. Fog’s jewelry is notable for its unconventional bold hollow forms.

Two Georg Jensen Sterling Silver Pendants in the shape of a puffed heart, designed by Astrid Fog
Two Georg Jensen Sterling Silver Pendants, a puffed heart, by Astrid Fog.
Sold for $800

Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe

Known simply as Torun, she was one of Sweden’s leading 20th century designers and soon became internationally noted. Her “anti-status” jewelry designs, featuring silver wire and non-precious stones, were already well known when she began to design exclusively for Georg Jensen in 1969.

Torun’s signature bangle wristwatch, “Vivianna,” became the first Georg Jensen watch. Her jewelry, inspired by elemental shapes such as flowers, leaves, and water, displays her ability to make metal seem infinitely flexible. Her biomorphic bracelets and necklaces seem to flow naturally around the wearer’s body.

Georg Jensen Stainless Steel and Diamond Wristwatch, by Vivianna Torun Bulow-Hube.
Sold for $923

The Georg Jensen Company remains the design leader in silver. The continuing admiration and loyalty of both clients and designers for more than a century is proof of Jensen’s creative spirit and his success in attracting and encouraging the creativity of others.

Skinner is pleased to be able to offer a wide variety of work from the Jensen dynasty in a number of sales categories, including silver, jewelry, and 20th century design. You will find opportunities to acquire examples of the most iconic designs of the last 100-plus years at www.skinnerinc.com.

CONSIGN GEORG JENSEN SILVER

January Regional Consignment Days | Maine & Westchester

We invite you to join us online for regional consignment days in Maine and Westchester, New York. Skinner specialists look forward to evaluating items via email, and beginning the conversation about the advantages of selling at auction.

Gather information and images for up to three items of fine & decorative arts, furniture, jewelry, silver, watches & coins and much more. Send an email with the information and images at maine@skinnerinc.com, newyork@skinnerinc.com or at the buttons below.… Read More

Expressions of Faith

Many of the world’s most treasured creations—paintings, sculptures, buildings, music— are examples of religious art. From the Parthenon to Michelangelo’s pietà, the buddhas of Asia to the medieval altarpieces of Europe, ancient cave paintings to Raphael’s madonnas, religious faith has motivated artistic expression.

Examples from renowned fine artists are widely known and admired. Folk art also has a rich tradition of devotional works.… Read More

Virtual First Tuesday | January 4

Join us for First Tuesday online!

AUCTION EVALUATION DAY | TUESDAY, JANUARY 4

See what hidden treasures our experts may be able to reveal

We invite you to join us online for our Virtual First Tuesday on January 4th. Submit your items anytime by the 4th and Skinner specialists from all departments will be on hand on Tuesday to evaluate items and respond by email.

Let’s get started: 

Step 1: Gather information and images for up to three items of fine & decorative arts, furniture, jewelry, silver, watches, coins and much more.Read More

Best of the Blog 2021

Catch up on some of our most read posts of the year

Here at Skinner, we thought today would be a great opportunity to share some of our top blog posts from the past year. In no particular order, these are 10 of our most viewed blog posts. We look forward to creating and sharing more great content with you in 2022. Happy New Year!

Old Ingledew Whiskey: Currently Believed to be the Oldest Known Whiskey in Existence

Skinner Rare Spirits expert, Joseph Hyman remarks, “Skinner is pleased to offer this historic bourbon whiskey at auction.… Read More

Skinner Breaks Record for Sand Bottles Sold in Single Sale

Three Andrew Clemens sand bottles brought in nearly 1.8 million dollars at auction, an example of the rapidly growing market for his work

MARLBOROUGH, MA — Skinner is delighted to announce the recent sale of three Andrew Clemens sand bottles at the recent Americana auction that took place from Nov. 15 to 22, 2022. Together, the three bottles brought nearly 1.8 million dollars, a record for sand bottles sold at a single sale. The market for the work of Andrew Clemens has grown quickly and substantially over the last several years, and the most recent sale at Skinner firmly establishes a new threshold of value for these remarkable pieces.   

Steve Fletcher, Director of American Furniture and Decorative Arts at Skinner said, “Knowledge of this art form was not common among most collectors until the last two decades.… Read More

December Regional Consignment Days | Maine & Westchester

We invite you to join us online for regional consignment days in Maine and Westchester, New York. Skinner specialists look forward to evaluating items via email, and beginning the conversation about the advantages of selling at auction.

Gather information and images for up to three items of fine & decorative arts, furniture, jewelry, silver, watches & coins and much more. Send an email with the information and images at maine@skinnerinc.com, newyork@skinnerinc.com or at the buttons below.… Read More

Skinner Auctioneers Launches First Sports Card Sale with Collection of Tom Brady Rookie Cards

MARLBOROUGH, MA — Skinner Auctioneers will host an online auction of Sports Memorabilia, from December 7-15 , 2021. The highlights of the sale include numerous rare sports cards from the longtime collection of a passionate Boston sports fan, who celebrates the elite players in baseball, football, basketball and hockey.  

Skinner is successfully breaking into sports card sales, offering the most desired and highest valued football card – Tom Brady’s 2000 Contenders Championship Rookie Ticket, autographed by the future first Hall of Fame ballot quarterback.… Read More

Over $2M in Sales at Skinner’s November Auction of The Keane Collection

The sale of the Keane Collection was led by 18th and 19th century furniture and fine art from the China Trade

MARLBOROUGH, MA — Skinner Auctioneers’ sale of The Beacon Hill Collection of John and Marilyn Keane attracted interest from passionate bidders from across the United States and around the world. The sale was held live on Friday, November 19, at Skinner’s Marlborough gallery, and was highlighted by masterpieces of 18th and early 19th century furniture, as well as a collection of 19th century paintings related to the China Trade.… Read More

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