PETER DAHL- JENSEN and his Factory
people reach the object of their wishes, but my father did, richly gifted
as he was, and not least through hard toil and perseverance, and his life
became long, exciting and interesting.
was born on July 23rd 1874 in the small town of Nibe in Jutland. His
father was a cabinetmaker, and he himself became apprenticed to a joiner
in Aalborg where at the same time he learnt the wood-carver's trade, and
this brought about a fancy to modeling. The art of sculpture affected him,
and soon he realized that this was his proper field of work.
text is provided by www.jamerantik.dk.
having frequented the Technical College in Analog he accomplished his
journeyman's probation work for which he was awarded silver medal. This
resulted in studies at the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen from 1894
the same time he took lessons from Vilhelm Bissen - one of the big masters
in the art of sculpture in those days - who in all respects guided his
during the summer the Academy was closed, my father would study in Berlin
and Dresden, and after his final examination at the Royal Academy he went
to Switzerland and Italy for further education.
his return from abroad he was appointed sculptor at Bing & Grondahl
Porcelain Factory, where he worked until 1917. This factory possesses a
selection of sculptures from his hand signed by himself, and many of them
are still being produced.
1917 to 1925 my father was the manager of the porcelain factory
This text is provided by www.jamerantik.dk.
1900 he married a porcelain painter. Since her 14th year my mother had
been working in this trade, first at the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain
Factory, and later at Bing & Grondahl.
his daily work at the factory my father would work in the evenings at home
in his studio, where he modeled a long series of beasts of prey. These
were cast in bronze which he chiseled himself.
bronze figures were exhibited every year at Charlottenborg, (The Royal
Academy of Arts), or at other Danish exhibitions, and they were also shown
at exhibitions abroad, for instance in Malmo - Berlin - Munich and San
Francisco during the years 1901 to 1925.
if work was considered the main thing in life in my home, my parents also
found time for feasting, - and they knew how to feast in Copenhagen in
those days, where among artists there was a solidarity and a fellowship
which grew stronger in a festive atmosphere under moderate forms, and this
was of great value for the individual development of the artists.
these surroundings I for my part had always heard about porcelain, so it
was only natural that this industry had an irresistible attraction on me.
I learnt the trade from the bottom, and after having finished my
apprenticeship, I went to the Czech-Slovakia to study at the
"Staatfachschule fur Keramik und verwandte Kunstgewerbe". After a
couple of years I passed the final examination and then went to France to
study at the "Ecole professionelle de l'Etat" in Vierzon, where
a ceramic section was found:
in Denmark again in 1923 I very soon came in touch with a Venetian
glasswork wanting to establish a smaller porcelain factory. In spite of my
young age - I was then only 22 - I was shown the confidence that they
wanted me to work out the project; the factory started with untrained, but
happy Italians, and within a year the first firing was produced.
disapproved of contaminating the fresh air by sending tons of black and
filthy coal smoke out over beautiful Venice; but naturally, there are
sides of every-day-life of the town which are not seen by the tourists; it
must have industry and trade to occupy and feed all its inhabitants.
father's mind often played with plans of getting his own porcelain
factory; but since these factories usually are big enterprises, and my
father did not have the means, the plans remained plans. In 1924 at
Christmas time my parents paid a visit to me in Venice, and here my father
became quite enthusiastic about the factory I had established; he saw that
it was possible to produce porcelain under smaller conditions, and this
made him fancy the idea of doing something alike at home in Denmark.
then agreed to make an attempt to establish a small factory in Copenhagen;
for my part, these plans came just in time, since I could not very well
put up with the moist heat, which in beautiful Venice is a nuisance a
great part of the year to a man from the North.
August 25th 1925 we succeeded in acquiring a suitable building on 288
Frederikssundsvej in the north-western outskirts of Copenhagen, and now
began the many preparations and rebuildings necessary to production of
most important part was the building or construction of a kiln of a
moderate size; being used serving kilns of big dimensions we got into
serious trouble with this smaller one, and during the first year most of
the firings totally failed, and the contents were as a whole worthless.
such is the lot of the ceramic artist's, - he must not give up, but try,
try and try again, and even if things often seemed pretty awkward to us,
we had our minds set on that job to a degree that we in a way overlooked
the financial risk we had entered into.
length - after the elapse of nearly two years - we succeeded in producing
porcelain of an acceptable quality, and besides figurines decorated with under glaze
colors we now began to produce "crackled" porcelain,
- vases, bowls, bowls with cover, etc. Also in this field we had many
difficulties to overcome, because the glaze for "crackle" is
very complicated. Crackled porcelain is decorated on the glaze, and being
a painter, my wife has created numbers of decorations for it.
by little we could begin to sell our porcelain; in the beginning, it was
mainly the U.S.A. showing interest, but later on the Danish shops would
like to sell our porcelain too, and then came other countries.
uninfluenced by the slow progress an the mercantile domain my father still
modeled new sculptures, and by and by he got time to cultivate his passion
for people from the East by creating a series of figures representing
models from the Far East.
production steadily gained ground, and when possible we also acquired the
works of other artists, and we still continue in this way to enlarge our
model collection. ,
consider the sales - and showrooms at the factory of the greatest
importance for our contact with the interested public; here they can
always make themselves acquainted with the total production.
years passed by, even third generation got started, - my daughter Else as
a painter, and my son Anker at the technical side of the production, but
both of them in preparation for carrying on the factory.
father's dream of life came true when he attained his object, -i.e. to be
able to reproduce his works himself, so that many others might enjoy them.
He worked practically to the very end of his life; he passed away on
December 12th 1960, thus having obtained the age of 86 years.
Foreign countries told in porcelain by George