around the head of the 68-mile-long Oslofjord, Oslo is probably the most
spacious city in the world. Its 175-square-mile metropolitan area
consists of over 75 percent forests and five percent water. Its fine
deep harbor, Pipervika, stretches into the heart of the city and from it
leave ferries to Denmark and Germany.
Silversmith Extraordinaire by Bob Brooke
George Jensen, known for his fine designs in silver,
brought the artistry of Scandinavian design to the public eye
throughout the world.
Born in 1866, Jensen was the son of a knife grinder in Raadvad, a
town north of Copenhagen. He began his training in goldsmithing as
an apprentice at the age of 14 with Guldsmed Andersen, a firm which
closed in 1884. This freed Jensen to enroll in sculpture courses at
the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Graduating in 1892, he began
exhibiting his clay sculptures. And though the exhibitions proved
successful, he discovered that making a living as a fine artist
would be hard, so he turned to the applied arts to support himself.
He began his career as a modeler at the Bing & Grøndahl porcelain
factory and in 1898 opened a small pottery workshop he founded with
Christian Petersen. Though their work soon became popular, sales
weren’t strong enough to support Jensen and his two small sons.A devoted family man, Jensen eventually had eight children by
four wives, three of whom died of illnesses.
He returned from a two-year traveling scholarship to
Paris and Rome in 1900, determined to create useful objects. Jensen
began working on his own designs during a period of creative
activity in Denmark known as the skonvirke, meaning artistic
endeavors, style, inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement in
England and the Art Nouveau Movement in France.
The Georg Jensen silversmithy is still flourishing because the
founder and the artistic directors who followed him were always open
to changing styles. A signature style of the firm is based on
Functionalism, named after the "form follows function" philosophy of
Walter Gropius' Bauhaus of the Twenties, who favored unembellished,
clean lines for utilitarian objects. This was better suited to
mass-production than the classic handcrafted Jensen techniques.
In 1901, Jensen gave up working in pottery and began working as a
silversmith and designer with Mogens Ballin. By 1904, he had decided
to open his own silversmith shop in Copenhagen.
Jensen's apprenticeship metalwork, plus his education in sculpture
allowed him to become an artist craftsman. Soon, the public
recognized the beauty, sophistication, and fine quality of his Art
Nouveau creations, and he was on the road to success. Business was
so good that Jensen
expanded his operations and by the end of the 1920s, Jensen had
opened retail outlets in Stockholm, London, Paris, Berlin, and New
Though Jensen favored the Art Nouveau style, he encouraged his
designers to follow throuigh on their own ideas as long as they
adhered to the artistry and excellence in craftmanship that he had
striven for in his own work. And although Jensen died in 1935, his
ideals have given the work produced by his workshops the reputation
Every year about 95 000 people die in
Sweden and, according to the law, everyone must be buried. There must be
room for everyone in the cemeteries, therefore the future needs of space
have to be predicted. Because of this funerals must be part of the
the early Middle Ages, driven by famine at home and the promise of
wealth to be had in other lands, the Vikings set out from Scandinavia to
conquer parts of England, Ireland, France, Russia, and even Turkey.
Bolstered by their successes, the Vikings pushed westward, eventually
crossing the North Atlantic and founding settlements in Iceland,
Greenland, and Newfoundland in Canada. Read
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