The brooch is marked as Georg Jensen and is regarded by people as a ‘Jensen’ brooch but in fact it was designed by Arno Malinowski (1899-1976) who worked for Georg Jensen between 1936 and 1944 and again from 1949 to 1965. The brooch is made of solid silver and has clear markings on the back which allow me to identify the design and the designer. The name Georg Jensen is synonymous with Danish design and jewellery. Some would say he is the father of Danish Arts and Crafts/Art Nouveau movement. In Denmark this movement was called skønvirke and had its roots in Danish industry and craftsmanship.
Georg Jensen was born in 1866 in Radvaad, a small town north of Copenhagen and began training as a goldsmith at 14. But he really wanted to be a sculptor, so when his apprenticeship ended in 1884 (at the age of 18) he went to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 1892. Though his work was well received he was unable to make a living and in 1901 joined Mogens Ballin as a silversmith.
Belt Buckle depicting Adam & Eve with the serpent. This is thought to be one of Georg Jensen’s first pieces of silversmith jewellery made in 1899.
The young Georg Jensen
In 1904 he opened his own silversmith shop in Copenhagen and the business grew. He was though most unlucky in marriage, three of his wives died through illness. Following his marriage to his fourth wife he lost artistic control of the company as the family refused to work with him and he died in 1935. Jensen was foremost a businessman employing silversmiths and designers. By 1935 there were stores worldwide and more than 3,000 patterns. Georg Jensen is owned today by Investcorp who also own Tiffany & Co and Gucci, brands are as much investments as style statements.
The Art Nouveau influenced the design of most European countries to a varying degree.
In Belgium there was Henry van de Velde (1863-1957).
And in Spain there was Luis Masriera y Roses (1872-1958).
Both producing exquisite brooches that I would dearly love to have in my collection.