Download PDF PHILLIPS de PURY & COMPANY IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE HIGHLIGHTS FROM SEPTEMBER LONDON DESIGN AUCTION
FEATURING EXCEPTIONAL WORKS BY MASTER POTTERS LUCIE RIE AND HANS COPER FROM THE BERKELEY COLLECTION
HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT SWINTON SCHOOL WALL
AUCTION: SEPTEMBER 27, 2011, 4PM
VIEWING: SEPTEMBER 21 – 27, 2011
LOCATION: Phillips de Pury & Company, Howick Place, London, SW1P 1BB
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
London - Phillips de Pury & Company is pleased to announce the ceramics highlights from its London Design auction. The sale will offer the most important group of Modernist ceramics ever to appear at auction. Approximately forty works have been selected from the renowned Berkeley Collection. Formed during a period of nearly thirty years of close friendship between the collectors Harley Carpenter
and Geof Walker
and the Viennese born potter Lucie Rie
. This auction is a unique opportunity to acquire some major works with an extraordinary exhibition history and well documented provenance by these most revered of ceramic artists. The ceramic works and wall will be displayed in the Phillips de Pury gallery in an innovative setting designed to enhance the viewers’ experience of the exhibition.’
Lucie Rie gave Harley Carpenter
and Geof Walker
access to some of her best pieces and encouraged them to also collect those of her friend and collaborator Hans Coper
. The collection grew steadily and soon became the first port of call for Museum curators looking for willing lenders. Many of the works on offer are recently returned from a groundbreaking tour of Japan, the first retrospective of Hans Coper's work in that country. Some pieces have also been shown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Issey Miyake's Design Foundation in Tokyo, The Barbican in London, The Museum Angewandte Kunst in Vienna and The Gardiner Museum in Toronto amongst others.
“The Berkeley Collection is legendary amongst Museum curators and collectors alike. Geof Walker and Harley Carpenter were always willing to lend their cherished collection and shared with many an aim to bring this important work to a larger audience. Almost accidentally, many of the pieces which we now have the pleasure of offering have become some of the artist's most iconic works, representative of a uniquely creative period in the development of British ceramics and a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a piece that represents what are widely regarded as being the pinnacle of these two artist's distinguished careers.“ Ben Williams, Contemporary Ceramics Specialist, Design Phillips de Pury & Company.
Highlights of the ceramics section include:
, The Swinton School Mural, 1962 £50,000- £70,000
, The Swinton School Mural, 1962,estimated at £50,000 - £70,000
, Black bud pot with grey base, estimated at £30,000 - £40,000
, Monumental blue vase, estimated at £30,000 - £40,000
, Bowl with pink inlaid design, £5,000- £7,000
, Vase with golden glaze, terra-cotta on the shoulder, £6,000- £9,000
, Large pale yellow bowl with inlay and golden lip £8,000- £12,000
, Large oval bowl with blue and pink pitted glaze £12,000- £16,000
THE SWINTON SCHOOL WALL
The Swinton School Wall is the only lot in the section that comes from a source other than The Berkeley Collection. Designed and installed in 1962 the Swinton School Wall commission was initiated by Sir Alec Clegg, the innovative Chief Education Officer of the West Riding of Yorkshire County Council. It sat largely unnoticed for four decades in the school entrance hall until it was rediscovered by Maya Nishi, Japanese curator of a major Hans Coper retrospective and Ben Williams, Ceramics Specialist at Phillips de Pury. An offer of a loan to the exhibition was quickly agreed as the school was due to be demolished and there was a real risk that the piece may have been bulldozed. A team of art handlers visited the school, and removed the 18 discs from the wall before having them cleaned and re-installed at Phillips de Pury. The wall has since been on loan to the exhibition that has toured Japan and has been a centerpiece of the show. The school is now selling the wall, the planned demolition of the old school building has been put on hold but they will benefit from the proceeds of the auction and intend to commission a replica for the new building once it is completed.
NOTES TO EDITORS
LUCIE RIE AND HANS COPER
Widely regarded as the two most important ceramic artists working in the post-war period Lucie Rie (1902-1995) and Hans Coper (1920-1981) both arrived in the UK during the late 1930's as refugees fleeing Nazi persecution in their homelands of Austria and Germany. Already established as a potter before her arrival in London Rie set up her workshop beneath her living quarters in Albion Mews, near Marble Arch in London. Wartime years, and those immediately after were dedicated to the production of ceramic buttons and tablewares, the buttons were sold to couturiers who were unable to source buttons as all the major manufacturers were supplying the demand for uniforms. Hans Coper, with no previous ceramics training, arrived at Rie’s workshop looking for work. Soon they were collaborating on a series of tablewares thrown by Coper and decorated by Rie. For some time Rie developed a crisis of confidence and had turned her back on the austere Modernist cylinders to experiment briefly with Bernard Leach's orientalist approach to ceramic production. Hans gave Lucie the confidence to break away from attempting to follow Leach's aesthetic, leading to a completely new approach to ceramics, instantly recognisable bowls and vases with unique timeless forms and often a strong use of colour, it was a developing style that continued evolving throughout her long career. Coper's early work tended toward large, powerfully thrown forms. Sadly, throughout his life he was plagued by debilitating Ankylosing Spondylitis and later, Motor Neurone Disease, the work necessarily decreased to a scale that was manageable to him, this last group of works, of which there are four examples on offer are collectively known as the 'Cycladic' series, incredibly rare, tiny, beautifully composed objects that are greatly prized by collectors.
Although distinctly different in their aesthetic they were bound by a number of shared principles - both artists made everything on the wheel, and many of their works are composites comprising of several individually thrown elements, the body is always fully integrated with the layers of applied glazes or painted slips that make up the surface of their pots. In preparation for the joint exhibition of their work at The Boijman's Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam they wrote... 'A pot is a container. More: it must be a container - whether of coffee, flowers, soup, or cigarette ash - in order to be a pot at all. A pot is also an object. Therefore it can offer something - let us say, aesthetic merit - by itself, in its own right’. Inspired by this attitude towards the necessary functionality of their work and by Harley Carpenter's period photographs taken of the inside of Lucie Rie's apartment displaying rows of Hans Coper pots brimming with flowers Phillips de Pury in partnership with Paul Thomas will recreate and explore this aspect for the first time in their auction catalogue.
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