Skip to main content

Hans Christensen silver from the estate of Elisabeth Christensen

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RITArt-0065

Scope and Contents

The Hans Christensen silver from the estate of Elisabeth Christensen consists of:

1. Salt and Pepper shakers (circa 1959)

2. Serving utensils (spoon and fork)

3. Dovetail Pin

4. Square hole pin

5. Box top pin

6. Duck pin

Items have no date information, other than the salt and pepper shakers.


  • Creation: circa 1950-1970


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Hans Jorgen Thorvald Christensen (1924-1983) was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on January 21, 1924. An aspiring artist, Christensen was exposed to the world of art from a young age. His father, Holger, was an accountant with clients involved in the fields of art and architecture, while his mother, Valborg (née Makkenbol) also expressed interest in the field. Although Holger wanted his son to enter the business world, he supported his son's interest in the arts, and pushed him toward a career in silversmithing.

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.


6 Item(s) (6 silver objects)




6 silver pieces by Hans Christensen.


The collection is stored together in a box.

Physical Location

C.S.North, Shelf 75

Custodial History

These pieces were originally part of the estate of Elisabeth Christensen, wife of Hans Christensen.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, October 2011

Accession number(s): 2011:094

Related Materials

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Becky Simmons in December 2011.

Hans Christensen silver from the estate of Elisabeth Christensen
RIT Art Collection
Becky Simmons
7 December 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA