Frederik Lunning

Frederik Lunning was born in Grenaa, Denmark in December of 1881, and apprenticed and worked for the book seller  Andreas Dolleris in Copenhagen before striking out on his own as a book and art seller in 1909 in Odense. It was during this time he became acquainted with the Georg Jensen firm and began to sell their items as well as promote the silversmithy. Eventually his successful sales with the smithy lead to him being hired on as the head of the Copenhagen shop, as well setting up[ the Charlottenborg Exhibition. In 1921, the silversmithy had begun to see the potential growth overseas, coupled with the European financial crisis and an overage of stock, and Frederik Lunning was sent to the United States to create a new market and generate sales.

With a supply of items from the silversmithy, he went to New York where he began to set up displays and sell his items in the lobbies of the finest hotels in the city. Orders began to flood in and the silversmithy was saved from the crisis at home. Soon after, he moved his fledgling business to a physical shop near the wealthy and prestigious 5th Avenue in the city where he continued to sell a fine assortment of Georg Jensen silver.

All went well, until the 1940's when the World War had forced many danish artists into diaspora and supply shortages had prevented a steady flow of products to Lunning's shop. Fortunately, he had gained the ability to sell both Kaj Bojesen's wooden pieces as well as Royal Copenhagen's porcelain items. As a result, Frederik Lunning began to import other Scandinavian goods to his now expanded shop. He also employed new designers in the US to fill in with designs similar or based off of the silversmithy's line, perhaps in the hopes of carrying through the difficult times once again. This had worked for a while but without the main offices in Denmark being aware of the new artist, which had been marketed under the Georg Jensen name (although distinguishable from the original silversmithy's marks and designs), there was some confusion about what was and was not “Georg Jensen”. A lawsuit ensued, and as a result, the New York shop had discontinued its production.

Frederik Lunning had continued his business at the shop on Fifth Avenue selling a variety of items, and hired on Kai Dessau to manage the almost unwieldy inventory. His love of Scandinavian design soon after resulted in the creation of the Lunning Prize, which awarded some of the top designers in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland with a monetary prize to fund a travel experience for the artists to further develop their skills.  Frederik Lunning had unfortunately died only a year after then foundation of the Prize, which had run for 20 years. His son, Just Lunning, continued the shop in his stead, and had worked on a number of exhibitions to promote the Scandinavian Decorative Arts until his unfortunate death in 1965. The Lunning store was eventually sold in 1970 for a mere dollar.The Georg Jensen silversmithy continued many of Lunning's traditions,  including reopening the Lunning location as one of their premiere shops in New York, and by establishing the Georg Jensen Prize in 1988, much in the same vein of the original Lunning Prize.