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Grete Prytz Kittelsen

Margrethe or Grete Prytz Kittlesen was a legendary Norwegian goldsmith, enamelist and designer. Being one of the key participants of Scandinavian Design Movement from Norway, she was called by many as the Queen of Scandinavian design. Her ability to blend simplicity and style to create aesthetic designs made her even more popular.

Born in the Norwegian capital of Oslo in 1917, she graduated in gold-smithing in 1941 from Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry, where her father, a famous goldsmith himself, was the dean. Immediately after graduating, she started working in her family gold-smithing firm which had been run by her family for more than four generations. She had married an architect and professor named Arne Korsmo in 1945, and had worked alongside him to create a few of her designs. Her marriage ended in divorce after 15 years. She had shifted to USA for a year in 1949, and had studied at the IIT Institute of Design after getting a Fulbright scholarship.

She began her career by creating some of her masterpieces in silverware, and had also given industrial designing an impetus by creating a revolutionary mass-production method. Grete was not only a specialist in creating silverware, but also designed dinnerware in steel, cast iron, and plastic; For her dinnerware collections, she associated with Hadeland Glassverk and Cathrineholm firms for producing her designs. Her items were such a hit in Norway that most of her tableware became a household item; the most famous of her dinnerware items was Sensasjonskasserollen or the sensation casserole.

Her jewellery in silver and vitreous enamel collections went on to be quite classics, and for her enamel work she won Grand Prix at the Triennale in Milan in 1954. Her works were a part of the Design in Scandinavia exhibition that was showcased all over North America from 1954-57. More recently, a large collection of her works were displayed at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design.

In her illustrious career, Grete had been bestowed with numerous awards, such as the Lunning Prize in 1952; however, the most prestigious of her honours include receiving the Knighthood, First Class, of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1986, and getting the Prince Eugen Medal in 2008. A book on her life called Grete Prytz Kittelsen: Emalje og design was released in 2008. The designing world lost a great luminary when Grete Prytz Kittlesen passed away in Oslo in 2010 at the age of 93.


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Grete Prytz Kittelsen

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