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Lucie Rie

Austrian  •  1902-1995

Biography

Dame Lucie Rie studied under Michael Powolny at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna before immigrating to London in 1938. In London she started out making buttons for the fashion industry before producing austere, sparsely decorated tableware that caught the attention of modernist interior decorators. Eventually she hit her stride with the pitch-perfect footed bowls and flared vases for which she is best-known today. She worked in porcelain and stoneware, applying glaze directly to the unfired body and firing only once. She limited decoration to incised lines, subtle spirals and golden manganese lips, allowing the beauty of her thin-walled vessels to shine through. In contrast with the rustic pots of English ceramicist Bernard Leach, who is considered an heir to the Arts and Crafts movement, collectors and scholars revere Rie for creating pottery that was in dialogue with the design and architecture of European Modernism.

Insights

  • In December 2016, Phillips achieved a world auction record for the artist with Flaring footed bowl, 1978, which sold for $212,500.

  • Lucie Rie was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1991.

  • 'Lucie Rie/Hans Coper,' an exhibition held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1994-'95, examined the relationship between the two potters who shared studio space for a number of years.

"To make pottery is an adventure to me: every new work is a new beginning."

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