Hans Christensen drawings
Scope and Contents
Spicebox designed as a symbol of separating the holy from the profane, Israel from the heathen, and sabbath from the six working days. It marks the end of the sabbath rest, it also marks the beginning of a new week of labor. Designed both to divine the future and to forefend evil.
The last drawing (11 × 28½") is of a ceremonial mace that was made in honor of Mark Ellingson, president of the Rochester Institute of Technology from 1936-1969. The item was presented to Ellingson in 1967 in honor of his 30th anniversary as president and was commissioned by the Board of Trustees. According to the Summer 1967 RIT Reporter, the mace was to be "prominently displayed in all assemblies and convocations, and carried at the head of all formal processions signifying the authority, purpose, stability and continuity of the Institute's activities."
The mace was made of sterling silver and contained two hemispheres encircled by a band. Harold James Brennan, a former Dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts described the mace in a letter. Brennan explained, "The symbolism of the mace involves an ornamental device of two hemispheres with an encircling band of silver - a world divided and unified by education." Currently, the mace is part of the RIT Art Collection.
- circa 1967
- Christensen, Hans (Person)
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Biographical / Historical
In 1939, Christensen started as an apprentice at the world-renowned Georg Jensen Silversmithy, while simultaneously taking classes at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen. His journeyman project – a teapot – not only earned him his silversmith certificate on March 30, 1944, but also won him two silver medallions. A rare accomplishment, these two awards were given in the categories of design and execution and were presented by King Frederick IX of Denmark.
Christensen continued working at Georg Jensen Silversmithy in the prototype department. In 1952, he traveled to the United States as a representative for an exhibition of Jensen factory works at the Museum of Modern Art. Although encouraged to stay in America, Christensen returned to Denmark. From 1952-1954, he worked as the lead silversmith in the prototype department and in 1953 he earned the equivalent of a master's degree in the field.
Christensen immigrated to the United States in 1954 when he accepted a faculty position at the School for the American Craftsman at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He was named professor in 1963 and was chosen for the Charlotte Fredericks Mowris Professorship in Contemporary Arts in 1976 as its first recipient. Christensen taught at the school for 29 years until his untimely death in an automobile accident on January 16, 1983. He was awarded the Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching by RIT posthumously in 1983.
A distinguished artist, Christensen earned many honors throughout his lifetime. He was awarded membership into the International Institute of Arts and Letter in Switzerland (1960) and the College of Fellows of the American Crafts Council (1979), as well as the Guldsmedehoikoleforeningen, Copenhagen, the Society of North American Goldsmiths, and the Nathaniel Rochester Society. In 1979, he was also chosen to represent Rochester, NY at the Rennes World Trade Fair held in Rennes, France. Internationally-renowned, Christensen's works are included in the collections of various royal families including Denmark, Norway, Sweden, England, and Iran, as well as the Vatican.
2.38 Linear Feet (1 flat file drawer)
Other Finding Aids
Hans Christensen drawings
- Hans Christensen drawings
- RIT Art Collection
- Lara Nicosia
- 05 January 2011
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