Nordic design shines at the Fine Art Society

At the entrance to the Fine Art Society in London, there is a silver spoon made by Danish goldsmith Georg Jensen in 1921. It was produced the same year the gallery held an exhibition and sale of the Dane’s work. . It also hosted one in 1923, before Jensen finally opened his own flagship in the capital.

Last year, nearly 100 years after that first sale, a client approached the Fine Art Society to sell a collection of Jensen jewelry. “Nordic Design“, now, is a homecoming that combines these 71 works by Jensen with silverware by Nanna Ditzel, Hans Hansen and Tapio Wirkkala, and furniture by Hans Wegner, Philip Arctander and Kurt Østervig. What unifies the assembly? “The quality of the craftsmanship, the simplicity and the pursuit of beauty,” says General Manager Pippa Stockdale. “Wegner describes it as” an ongoing process of purification, “which I think sums it up.”

Philip Arctander Clam chairs, manufactured by Nordisk Staal.

Photo: courtesy of the Fine Art Society

A Hans J. Wegner chair and ottoman for AP Stolen.

Photo: courtesy of the Fine Art Society

There’s a Scandinavian purity that permeates the largely teak and silver display, but there are a few more refined highlights as well. A rare pair of beech sheepskin and clam chairs were designed by Philip Arctander, a Danish architect who flirted with furniture design in the 1940s. They were produced for a very limited period before Arctander was born. ‘completely abandons the profession. Manufactured in 1944, their comfortable appeal and whimsical shape still feel contemporary.

Vivianna Torun Bulow-Hube jewelry for Georg Jensen.

Photo: courtesy of the Fine Art Society

Scandinavia is known for its egalitarian society, so it’s no surprise to find Viviana Torun Bülow-Hube’s treasure in the treasure here. She was the first female silversmith in Sweden and “probably the first woman in this field to gain international recognition for her work,” Stockdale explains.

Never apart from schnapps, especially during those cold winters, the Nordics knew how to make a good beverage cabinet. A teak number with revolving doors, designed by trained naval architect Østervig, is a nod to the Scandinavian love of functionalism that is entertaining and clever at the same time: two nifty stools and a shelf for mixing drinks emerge from the beautiful honey body.

A safe from Orla Molgaard-Nielsen for AS Soborg Mobelfabrik.

Photo: courtesy of the Fine Art Society

Yet it is the Jensen who shines here. The collection shows the progression of the Scandinavian style through the 20th century, from the first embellished Art Deco pieces (the 1919 Schilling gravy boat is almost Victorian) to the clean shapes we know today for Nordic design (Torun letter opener by Bülow -Hube, designed in 1989, is a futuristic swoosh of minimalism): a process of purification, just as Wegner described it.

“Nordic Design” at the Fine Art Society, Bond Street, London, until January 3, 2018.

About Gertrude H. Kerr

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