Jacob E. Bang

Jacob Eiler Bang first came to the attention of Holmegaards Glasværk at the 1925 Paris exhibition, where he executed a large wall map, amongst other things, for famous Danish architect and designer Kay Fisker's scheme of the Danish pavilion in the exhibition space. Although Holmegaard themselves were not exhibiting, Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Factory had on display a few glass services from Holmegaard's first art-designer, Orla Juul Nielsen, to complement their dinnerware and as a consequence Holmegaard's director, K. Riis-Hansen, invited Bang to work for Holmegaard alongside Nielsen. In Holmegaard's archives there are drawings from Bang that dated from 1926 and 1927.

In January 1928 Jacob Bang became a full-time employee of Holmegaard, by which time the factory was in serious financial trouble, with much of the glassworks closed until just August of the previous year. It was in this climate of near-desperation that Bang's first production series was rushed out to trade exhibitions in Århus and the Købestasvnet in Fredericia in the spring and summer of that year. Despite a cynical glassworks director and an artist who didn't think that service was ready for launch the series was presented to much acclaim, even winning a recently founded medal award for Arts & Crafts at the Købestasvnet. This service was put into production June 1928 as the 54-piece 'Kunstglasservice Viol'.

Bang's success as a designer can be attributed to his appreciation that creating glass commercially is about practicality as much as, if not more than, creating a beautiful profile. This is summed up by his oft-quoted motto of "suitable, strong, inexpensive, beautiful" for Holmegaard's new wares. He also disliked his drinkware designs being promoted as 'art glass', insisting he was designing "Not the magnificent cup for Rockefeller, but the beer glass for Denmark's Hansen!"

In the years following the introduction of 'Viol' series Bang carried out a large number of services that put Holmegaard's name at the forefront of the Applied Arts, not only domestically but internationally, winning prizes at many exhibitions. In fact, the late 1920s and 1930s saw the introduction of several of Holmegaard's longest-selling series, including "Rosenborg" (1929), "Gisselfeld" (1933), and 'Stjerneborg' (1937), all of which were in production until the 1960s and 1970s.

Whilst specialising in tableware, Bang also produced a number of vases and bowls for Holmegaard, including engraved glass in the 'Swedish vernacular' for which he collaborated with Orrefors' engraver, Elving Runemalm. Together they produced many designs, including one large vase exhibited in the world exhibition in Brussels 1935. At Bang's 10th anniversary exhibition, "10 Års Dansk Glaskunst" in 1937, he unveiled his new direction in glass design - a series of thick-walled vases, bowls and carafes in a 'rustic' style, executed in heavy bright colours and in a purposefully handmade-look, and decorated in marvered frit and/or applied seals - a deliberately rustic aesthetic that would, 20 years later, be popularised by Erik Höglund.

Jacob Bang, who had trained as an architect, decided to return to his original vocation and, in July 1941, resigned from his position at Holmegaard. His post was filled in May 1942 by Per Lütken, and a new chapter in Holmegaard's rise to prominence began. Bang did, however, return to the factory very briefly in the summer of 1952 to create two elegant full lead crystal services, "Lindenborg" and "Ravnsborg."
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