A new book, Georg Jensen: Scandinavian Design for Living, accompanies an exhibition of the same name opening at the Art Institute of Chicago, Regenstein Hall, on 22 June 2018. It focuses on Jensen silver tableware and products for the home – telling the story behind the creation of a global identity for Danish design and changing ideals for modern living across the twentieth century.
In 1904, Danish silversmith Georg Jensen (1866–1935) founded one of the world’s most celebrated design companies, the eponymous Georg Jensen. After emerging during a fruitful period in Danish art and culture, Jensen’s practice in Copenhagen continued to evolve, contributing to the meteoric rise of Scandinavian design around the world. Tracing the evolution of Georg Jensen silver from its place in the company’s initial emergence through its continuing role as a touchstone for the global identity of Danish design, this book examines the creative processes and business practices behind Jensen’s stunning bowls, pitchers, coffee services and other domestic objects.
Lavishly illustrated with works ranging in style from organic to industrial, Georg Jensen is full of new insights gleaned from the company’s own archives and situates Jensen’s work in the broader context of twentieth-century design. This unprecedented study includes scholarly essays by Alison Fisher, Maggie Taft and Thomas C. Thulstrup, that delve into the significant and continuing impact of Georg Jensen silver on modern domestic taste.
From its earliest days, Georg Jensen gained a reputation for producing magnificent silver tableware – monumental serving dishes, inventive candelabra and refined tea services – which were featured in exhibitions throughout Europe. In the decades that followed, a combination of gleaming sculptural forms and lush ornament established the company’s signature style. While remaining true to this unique aesthetic and the studio’s tradition of fine craftsmanship, Jensen’s talented designers, such as Johan Rohde and Sigvard Bernadotte, also created works that pushed the boundaries of modern style. This practice continued after Jensen’s death in 1935 and gained particular momentum after the Second World War. Close collaborations with now iconic designers Henning Koppel and Nanna Ditzel, as well as special commissions such as Verner Panton’s 1988 pop-inspired ‘Crash’ Tray, ensured that design at Georg Jensen kept pace with transformations in contemporary life and material culture.
Alison Fisher is Harold and Margot Schiff Associate Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago. Maggie Taft is an independent art historian specialising in twentieth-century design. Thomas C. Thulstrup is director of The Museum at Koldinghus.
The book will be published in early July. Find out more here.