Bent Knudsen (1924 – 1997) was born in Kolding, Denmark. Also known as a master in paper craft design, his interest decorative arts led him to an apprenticeship at C.M. Cohr’s in Fredericia where the focus was on craftsmanship. In 1946, he brought his talents to the workshop of silversmith Hans Hansen.
He continued there until 1956 when he and his wife, Anni, who shared his minimalist style, together opened their own silversmith workshop. Their silver jewelry is simple, elegant and part of the wearable art movement. Many pieces are unadorned or mounted with hematite, malachite or amethyst stones.
By 1952, Bent had already established his own company that created paper craft and mobiles. Even as the Knudsens created jewelry, they combined their talents well into the 1970’s and designed and produced original Christmas ornaments and mobiles using paper, cardboard, wood, metal, glass, plastic and even fish bone.
Both husband and wife were recipients of multiple awards for design in both paper craft and jewelry. These included recognition by the Danish Trade Council as well as, in 1988, the European Gold Star for Quality. Both Danish and Swedish royalty commissioned several pieces of jewelry made by Bent Knudsen.
Their jewelry is known for simple design, e.g., a necklace from 1956 that incorporates simplicity with geometric shapes. By 1975 the Knudsens were exporting their creations to 75 countries and making major sales in America, Japan, Germany and France. They also exhibited their designs at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
Their work, always marked Bent K, exhibit the understated, clear and simple lines elemental to Danish Modern. Their work does not appear frequently on the market and is much sought after.
Despite the fact that the Knudsen workshop existed even after Bent’s passing, production of silver items was gradually phased out during the 1970s and their efforts concentrated on and specialized in paper design.