Hans Coper - Lucie Rie and Hans Coper: Potter and Artist London Wednesday, October 17, 2018 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Thence by descent

  • Literature

    Tony Birks, Hans Coper, Yeovil, 2013, p. 33 for a similar example

  • 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. 

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Property from the late William Ohly Collection


Early and large vase with abstract design

circa 1952
Stoneware, manganese glaze with a white linear abstract design.
23.7 cm (9 3/8 in.) high
Impressed with artist's seal.

£30,000 - 40,000 

Contact Specialist
Madalena Horta E Costa
Head of Sale, Associate Director, Design
+44 20 7318 4019

Lucie Rie and Hans Coper: Potter and Artist

London Auction 18 October 2018