Important 20th Century Design /04 December 2005


Henning Koppel

Eel platter
Georg Jensen
Denmark, 1956
sterling silver
28 w × 7 d × 6 h in (71 × 18 × 15 cm)

Henning Koppel’s Eel platter is a true masterwork of Danish silver. The undulating contour and refined form display Koppel’s artistry and primary interest in producing objects of great beauty. Koppel’s commitment to creating beauty was, in his mind, the greatest challenge in designing functional objects. Works like the Eel Platter illustrate the lengths to which Koppel would go to achieve his aesthetic ideals, "My serving dish is a work of art, and it should be a delight to see. You display it, look at it, enjoy it every single day. It is not supposed to be put away in some cupboard. In my opinion, beauty is the first thing to strive for in everything." The sensual exterior of this form nearly masks its functionality; the two, slightly parted lips only hint at the lid and dish, while the graceful crease emphasizes the platter’s dramatic proportions. The creation of such a masterwork necessitates an enormous amount of labor and technical talent, requiring nearly 500 hours of hand hammering to the solid sterling silver. This intense production process made the design extraordinarily expensive, costing 10,000 Danish crowns at the time of its unveiling in 1956. Because of these intense requirements, very few examples of the Eel Platter were produced. The market recognizes Koppel’s Eel Platter as the masterpiece of his career. Impressed signature to underside: [HK D11 Georg Jensen Sterling Denmark 1054 925S].

provenance: Private collection, Philadelphia

literature: Henning Koppel, Moller, ppg. 20-21 Henning Koppels Verden, Kaiser, ppg. 78-79 100 Years of Georg Jensen: Magnificent Silver from the Rowler Collection, Christies, ppg. 286-287

estimate: $100,000–125,000

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