Just Andersen stands behind one of the largest Scandinavian commercial successes of the Art Deco period. Just Andersen was born in Greenland. He came to Denmark in 1884, but he missed the freedom of the great nature of Greenland After his father's death, he became an apprentice as a decorative sculptor, and later he studied at the Copenhagen art and craft school, and finally in 1920 he studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Copenhagen.
Just Andersen worked together with two other ontemporary metal artists - namely silversmiths Georg Jensen and Mogens Ballin, they were also his friends, .
In the beginning of his career, Just Andersen earned his living by designing for silver smithy company A. Michelsen and P. Hertz, but already in 1918 he had established his own studio. The Copenhagen-based studio grew steadily and ended up having offices in Berlin, Brussels, London, Los Angeles and New York. In 1929 Just Andersen initiated an artistic and economic cooperation with the GAB, Jewelers Aktiebolaget in Stockholm.
Disko Metal was a Household Item
Just Andersen worked with gold, silver, bronze, tin, disko metal, and silver plate. Disko metal is his own invention. The alloy is suitable for a partial hardware manufacturing (they were completed as crafts), as it was much cheaper to produce than bronze. It was the precondition for it to be purchased by people with regular income. It was a great success and created the basis for the development of the company. Also tin products (they were completed as crafts) were sold in large quantities. Just Andersen tin is characterized by lead being pulled out of the alloy making it bright and shiny after polishing. The bronze is now very much in demand, light bronze as well as the big heavy vases, which stand as icons of metal art of the period. During World War II he produced sculptures in Sandstone because of shortage of metal. They have become a collector's item as well.
Inspired by Archaic Idiom
The company produced many sculptures. The creations of Just Andersen are very distinctive and characterized by the experience of his early childhood in Greenland. Strange fish and marine life in harmony with children–like beings. Also mermaids were a favorite theme. The ideom of Just Andersen is pure art deco and neo classicism
He was greatly inspired by ancient archaic art, and wanted to give it a Nordic touch with more rounded shapes. Archaic idiom embossed crafts of Greece from about 500 years B.C.
It is characterized by reproducing naturalistic figures with simplified stylized anatomical details. The Greek art was inspired by the Egyptian, and Just Andersen spent a great deal of time at The British Museum, where he made sketches of the Egyptian archaeological finds.