Henning Koppel's designs were seen at the time to be a highly innovative move for jewellery and silver manufacturer Georg Jensen, who had previously created nothing remotely like it.

Rings and brooches fact file

Date

c1940s to 1980s

Designed by

Henning Koppel

Made from

Silver, amethyst, enamel

Made in

Denmark by Georg Jensen

Museum reference

K.2015.23.438K.2015.23.432, K.2015.23.430.1K.2015.23.427

Simplicity in Jewellery

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the pan-European Arts and Crafts Movement prompted a move away from ornate jewellery towards simpler forms which celebrated the beauty of materials. In the Nordic countries this style was popularised by manufacturers such as Georg Jensen in Denmark, and David Andersen in Norway. Although this trend towards simplicity continued in the early 20th century, it was in the period directly after the Second World War, which saw a pared-down Modernist aesthetic become popular in Nordic jewellery manufacture. 

This era saw a plethora of different approaches to Modernist jewellery, such as Henning Koppel’s organic forms, Astrid Fog’s geometric style, and others such as Nanna Ditzel looking at the ways in which jewellery worked with the human body.

The Nordic Modernist Design display at the National Museum of Scotland. 

Designs by Henning Koppel

Henning Koppel, is regarded as one of the most famous designers who worked for Jensen during this period. He entered the firm shortly after the end of the Second World War after returning to Denmark from Sweden where he was exile.  

His innovative modernist designs reflected his training in sculpture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and were inspired by the contemporary abstract artists Hans Arp and Constantin Brancusi.

His jewellery was considered highly innovative for the time, and a break away from anything the company had produced in the past. It was noted for its organic quality, that had a sculptural biomorphic energy. Mainly pieces were created simply in silver but he also employed enamel to create colour.

Brooch, design number 369, designed by Henning Koppel in 1969 for Georg Jensen, Denmark. 

Brooch, design number 327, designed by Henning Koppel in 1956 for Georg Jensen, Denmark. 

Brooch, design number 314, designed by Henning Koppel in 1954 for Georg Jensen, Denmark.

Ring, of silver and amethyst, design number 139, designed by Henning Koppel in 1967 for Georg Jensen, Denmark

Georg Jensen

The Danish jewellery and silver manufacturer Georg Jensen led the way in Nordic Modernism during the 20th century. The firm had a long history of collaborating with leading artists and designers to create innovative and stylish silverware and silver jewellery, and the work it produced proved to be hugely influential both in Denmark and beyond.

Brooch designed by Nanna and Jørgen Ditzel for Georg Jensen, Denmark, 1957

Georg Jensen trained as a goldsmith from the age of 14, after which he studied sculpture at the Danish Royal Academy of Fine Arts.  His training in both craft and sculpture inspired Jensen to revive the tradition of the artist-craftsman in Denmark, and in 1904 he founded his own silversmithy, which became one of the most renowned and important silverware firms of the twentieth century.

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