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An Introduction to Danish Ceramics and Potters IV

P. Ipsens Enke, Copenhagen (1843-1955)

Map of Denmark

The factory was established in 1843 by potter Rasmus Peter Ipsen (1815-60) from Bornholm.

When he was 13 years old, Peter Ipsen was sent into service at a brickyard, where he, in his own words, was carrying 4000 bricks each and every day, which marked him for the rest of his life. Later he was apprenticed with a joiner where he worked from 5am to 10pm which was so bad for his constitution that he had to quit.

A school friend found a job for him as a trainee at The Royal Copenhagen. He soon became a masterly thrower with a great sense for the design and colors, and in 1843 (28 years old) he had his own pottery and married Lovise Christine Ipsen (1822-1905).

Ipsen yellowgreen pot with pea pods by Georg Jensen year 1903 Ipsen yellowbrown walrus jug by Charles Boegh year 1903 Ipsen vase with fungus and parrot glaze by Chr. Joachim year 1905

Hanging flowerpots in terracotta was the livelihood of the factory, but also pots, amphorae vases painted in oil colors and figurines, often inspired by the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844).
Peter established contact with that times Danish artists - among these many sculptors, and he succeeded so much that he in 1847 could afford to build a new factory in Utterslev outside Copenhagen.

Ipsen orange pipe holder Ipsen braided bowl, 1875

Peter Ipsen died in an early life, only 45 years old (1860), his widow Lovise Ipsen continued his work, which was rather unusual in these days, but she had a good knowledge of the factory, as she had always been a regular visitor there. The oldest son Bertel Ipsen (1846-1917) who was also a potter, took over management in 1865.

Ipsen lustre glazed vase with gold glazed handles year 1875Ipsen parrot glazed floor vase with owls by Niels Norvil year 1915 Ipsen copper glazed vase, 1875

Bertel Ipsen continued in his father's footsteps, with the "Thorvaldsen Style", and he was represented at most world exhibitions. He opened shops in Paris and London. In 1872 Ipsens Enke (enke means widow) make their first glaze. In the early days, it can be difficult to distinguish Ipsen's terracotta from L. Hjorth's terracotta, if the items were unsigned. Often they used the same motives and models, and even though the 2 factories were competitors, they often cooperated and Hjorth now and then helped Ipsen with the production. Some of Hjorts potters also, from time to time, worked at Ipsen's.

Ipsen amphore vase year 1875Ipsen, black glazed The Mermaids by Ellen Locher, 1905Ipsen yellowgreen swan vase by Axel Jensen year 1905

The style changed in the 1890's, and they moved towards production of black fired terracotta. But with Thorvald Bindesbøll (architect and sculptor, 1846-1908), Georg Jensen (sculptor and silversmith, 1866-1935) and Christian Joachim (painter and potter, 1870-1943), the Jugendstyle (Art Nouveau) had it's entry.

Thorvald Bindesbøll (1901)Thorvald Bindesbøll, who was one of the pioneers within Danish ceramics, was a very eccentric artist. His nickname was "Boelle" (danish for "Rough"). Either you loved him or you hated him. But Bertel Ipsen regarded him as exciting and had a good cooperation with him.

Georg Jensen made a few things for Ipsen, before he established his world famous silversmithy in 1904.

Ipsen vase with Danit glaze by Axel Salto, 1951.Christian Joachim was known for his vases with fungus motives. Even though he lost his right arm as a child, he studied to be a painter and was a skilled artist. He later became artistic leader of the Aluminia Faience factory, art director on The Royal Copenhagen.
In 1920-40 following new glazes were developed:

  • "Chameleon glaze" (shining in various colors added gold, platinum or silver)
  • "Jade glaze" (dull green)
  • "Danit glaze" (Red-lilac or blue-green in a big crackled network)
  • "Metal glaze" (mainly in green colors)
  • "Bronze glaze"
  • "Ivory glaze"
  • "Oxblood glaze", etc.

Georg Thylstrup (silversmith and potter, 1884-1930 sculptor)
produced a number of fishwife's mermaids and fabulous monsters.
Kai Nielsen (painter and sculptor, 1882-1924) is mostly known for his figurine "Venus Kalipygos". The name is taken from the Greek god of love Aphrodite's nickname "Kalipygos". These figurines were in great demand.

Ipsen vase with celadon glaze by Axel Salto year 1951 Ipsen vase blue, with small neck

Ib Just Andersen (sculptor and silversmith, 1884-1943) produced in 1940 a few fish and mermaids, which are reminiscent of the figures and vases etc. he later produced in diskometal from his world famous silversmithy.

Besides from those already mentioned, a number of international ly known artists have been connected to factory - among those:

  • Lauritz Jensen (1859-1935 sculptor)
  • Jens Ferdinand Willumsen (1863-1958 painter)
  • Ellen Locher (1883-1956, sculptor)
  • Axel Salto (1889-1961, lithographic artist, painter and potter)
  • Axel Soerensen (1891-1967 potter)
  • Axel Jensen (sculptor)
  • Bode Willumsen (1895-1987 sculptor and potter)
  • Arno Malinowski (1899-1976 sculptor)
  • Charles Boegh (sculptor)
  • Adam Thylstrup (sculptor)
  • Niels Norvil (sculptor and potter)
  • Arne Bang (1901-1983 sculptor and potter)
  • Johannes Hedegaard (1925-, sculptor)

Ipsen figurine with jade glaze Venus Kalipygos by Kai Nielsen, 1910Ipsen Leda with the swan by Adam Thylstrup year 1937

From 1852-1935 Ipsen products have won countless numbers of awards on exhibitions all over the world'. The factories' marks (Pressmarks) are:

  • P.I (1843-50)
  • P. Ipsen(1850-70)
  • P.Ipsen eneret (1871-1917)
  • P.I.E. (with a crown)(1918-55)
  • From time to time the signature of the artists themselves occur.

P. Ipsens Enke closed in 1955.

Part 1 > Jens Michael Andersen
Part 2 > L.Hjorts Terracotta Factory, Roenne, Bornholm
Part 3 > Soeholm, Roenne on Bornholm
Part 4 > P. Ipsens Enke, Copenhagen
Part 5 > Kongstrands Pottery, Esberg
Part 6 > Potteries and Potters around Horsens
Danish Ceramics VII - The Turn of the Century

Article kindly supplied by Tove Jespersen Klitgaarden Antique & Ceramics, Denmark. www.Klitgaarden.net e-mail: Klitgaarden@tdcadsl.dk


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