Hans Coper - Design London Monday, September 26, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Swinton Community School, Mexborough, South Yorkshire, UK, 1960

  • Exhibited

    Swinton Community School, Mexborough, South Yorkshire, UK, 1960;
    ‘Collect’ presented by the Crafts Council, Saatchi Gallery, London, 15–17 May 2009;
    ‘Hans Coper Retrospective: Innovation in 20th-Century Ceramics’, The Museum
    of Ceramic Art, Hyogo, 12 September–29 November 2009, then travelled to: The
    Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art, Shiga
    (13 March–17 June 2010), Panasonic Electric Works, Shiodome Museum, Tokyo
    (26 June–5 September 2010), Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu (18 September–
    23 November 2010), Iwate Museum of Art, Iwate (4 December 2010–13 February 2011),
    and Shizuoka City Museum of Art, Shizuoka (9 April–26 June 2011)

  • Literature

    Tony Birks, Hans Coper, Somerset, 2005, illustrated p. 115; Maya Nishi, ed., Hans Coper Retrospective: Innovation in 20th Century Ceramics, exh. cat., The Museum of Ceramic Art, Hyogo, et al., 2009, illustrated pp. 60-63, fig. 31 and p. 175

  • Artist Biography

    Hans Coper

    German • 1920 - 1981

    Hans Coper learned his craft in the London studio of Lucie Rie, having emigrated from Germany as a young Jewish engineering student in 1939. He initially assisted Rie in the studio with the ceramic buttons she made for the fashion industry, as well as ceramic tableware, but soon Coper was producing his own work. By 1951 he had received considerable recognition exhibiting his pots in the "Festival of Britain." 


    Coper favored compound shapes that, while simple in appearance, were in fact complex in construction. Similar to the making of Joseon Dynasty Moon Jars (Rie in fact displayed a Moon Jar in the studio), he would build his vessels by bringing several thrown forms together, for example joining bowls rim to rim. Coper eschewed glazes and preferred the textured surfaces achieved through the application of white and black slips, evoking the abraded texture of excavated vessels. This interest in ancient objects was very much in step with other modernists of his time—Coper admired Constantin Brancusi and Alberto Giacometti and his textured markings have been compared to sculptors such as William Turnbull.


    In the last phase of his career, Coper reduced the scale of his work creating small "Cycladic" pots that stood on pedestals or drums, recalling the clay figures of Bronze Age Greece. 

    View More Works


Swinton School Wall Mural

Stoneware, each element with a distinct variation in the surface texture. Some with black manganese glaze over a textured body, others with layered porcelain slips and engobes over textured body.
Largest: 60 cm (23 5/8 in) diameter

£50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for £181,250


27 September 2011