HENNING KOPPEL (1917 - 82)
Henning Koppel was a native of Copenhagen and joined the Georg Jensen Company when he was 27. He had just returned to Denmark from Sweden where he, a Jew, had fled to escape the German occupation of Denmark. He was trained as an artist, particularly in drawing and sculpture and studied at the Kunstakademiet (Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts) and the Academie Rancon in Paris. From the beginning, his silverwork was abstract and sculptural and unlike anything that went before. His early designs were for jewelry and the forms were flowing and organic looking, closer to the work of other artists of his time like Aalto, Calder, Dali and Leger than anything ever produced at the Georg Jensen silversmithy. By the late 40s, Koppel shifted to designing primarily hollowware and his pieces bear a distinctive sculptural quality harking back to his training as a sculptor. In 1957, Koppel created the CARAVEL pattern of flatware, considered by some the most handsome silver pattern created in modern times. This pattern was named after the French jet plane Caravelle, which SAS had acquired. In 1963 it won the prestigious Der Goldene Loffel award.
Throughout his career, his designs whether in Jewelry, Flatware or Hollowware were a radical departure from that of all the Jensen designers who went before. From the ornate, nature inspired designs of Jensen himself to the austere, functionalist designs of Sigvaard Bernadotte, Koppel's very original work was in the spirit of modern art. It attracted international attention and made Georg Jensen a leader in the Scandinavian modern design movement. Koppel also designed porcelain pieces for Bing and Grondahl, lights and clocks for Louis Poulsen & Co., glass for Kastrup and Orrefors and furniture for Kvetny & Sonner.
Koppel was a master draughtsman who executed precise designs and for his hollowware, clay models which allowed him to understand the design's three dimensionality. His work earned him the reputation of being the leading Danish silver craftsman. Koppel won many awards, including the Lunning Prize (1953), gold medals from the Milan Triennale (1951, 1954 and 1957) and the International Design Award of the American Institute of Interior Designers (1963).
For the 75th anniversary of the Georg Jensen Silversmithy, he was also commissioned to design a series of limited edition prints (shown right) as part of the celebration. The lithographs were produced by Hostrup-Pedersen and Johansen, numbered (only 50 of each were produced) and signed by Henning Koppel himself.
Click HERE to read a summary of the book,"The World of Henning Koppel" by Niels-Jorgen Kaiser.
From GEORG JENSEN SILVERSMITHY 77 ARTISTS 75 YEARS
Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C., 1980
and GEORG JENSEN HOLLOWARE The Silver Fund Collection by David A. Taylor and Jason W. Laskey.
Click HERE to read about Henning Koppel's contribution to Danish Silver
Click HERE to read about the Lunning Prize
Click HERE to see Caravel, designed by Henning Koppel
Click HERE to see Strata, designed by Henning Koppel
Click HERE to visit a site depicting Henning Koppel's gravestone and a short biography