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Lucie Rie

Conical bowl

circa 1972
Porcelain, golden manganese glaze with sgraffito on the exterior, the interior unglazed with inlaid radiating design.
8.4 cm (3 1/4 in.) high, 19.3 cm (7 5/8 in.) diameter
Impressed with artist's seal.

Estimate
£40,000 - 60,000 ♠

sold for £100,000

Contact Specialist
Sofia Sayn-Wittgenstein
Specialist
+44 207 901 7926

  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist, circa 1972
    Thence by descent to the present owner

  • Literature

    John Houston, ed., Lucie Rie: a survey of her life and work, exh. cat., Crafts Council and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1981, p. 88, no. 206 for a similar example
    Tony Birks, Lucie Rie, Yeovil, 1994, p. 104 for a similar example

  • Catalogue Essay

    Dame Lucie Rie studied under Michael Powolny at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna before immigrating to London in 1938. Once settled in her new Albion Mews workshop, Rie, assisted by Hans Coper, started producing buttons for the fashion industry and later austere, sparsely decorated tableware that caught the attention of modernist interior decorators. Footed bowls and flared vases, for which she is best-known today, came after her attempts to conform her work to those of her contemporary British ceramists. Her much more advanced modernist style, however, eventually prevailed. She worked with porcelain and stoneware, applying the glaze directly to the unfired body and firing only once. She limited decoration to incised lines (lots 1, 4), subtle spirals (lot 10) and golden manganese rims (lots 7, 22, 23), allowing the beauty of her thin-walled vessels to shine through and “the most interesting surface results to come from within the body” (Emmanuel Cooper, Lucie Rie, exh. cat., Tate St Ives, 2009, n.p.).

    Upon emigrating from Germany in 1939, Hans Coper, a young Jewish engineer, began working in the London studio of Lucie Rie. It was here that Coper learned his craft; initially assisting Rie with making ceramic buttons and tableware, Coper soon began producing his own work. By 1951 Coper had received considerable recognition for his pots at the ‘Festival of Britain’. Favouring compound shapes, Coper created work that whilst seemingly simple in appearance is of complex construction. He skilfully combined his thrown forms, joining multiple elements to create a singular entity. He eschewed glazes and preferred the textured surfaces achieved through the application of white and black slips, evoking the abraded texture of excavated vessels. Coper’s interest in ancient objects placed him among other modernists of his time; Coper admired Constantin Brancuși and Alberto Giacometti whilst his textured markings have been compared to sculptors such as William Turnbull. In the last phase of his career, tracing the decline in his physical health, Coper reduced the scale of his work; creating small ‘Cycladic’ pots, which stood on pedestals or drums, recalling the clay figures of Bronze Age Greece.

    Following in his father’s footsteps, Peter Collingwood graduated from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in 1946. Despite the completion of his medical studies, Collingwood became interested in hand-weaving. His first encounter with the loom triggered an innate curiosity for mechanical machines, a fascination that he had since childhood. Upon his return to England after completing National Service, Collingwood was determined to abandon his medical career and he began employment at the workshop of hand-loom weaver Ethel Mairet. It was here that Collingwood started exploring the creative possibilities of the loom, mastering the traditional techniques of weaving and understanding its limits. Constantly challenging the capabilities of his work, Collingwood focused his efforts on implementing its mechanical performance and spearheading progress by testing new structures of weaving. An example of Collingwood’s innovative approach is the unique ‘3D Macrogauze’ commissioned by Kiryu Performing Arts Centre in 1996, composed of nine panels produced with ‘Alphatex’ steel yarn (see lot 8). Collingwood stated, “…after acting as an artist to design the drawing, you become a technician to make it as perfect as possible” (Peter Collingwood, master weaver, exh. cat., Minories Art Gallery, Colchester, 1998, p. 25). From the works of ‘Anglefell’ (lots 9, 19), ‘Trianglefell’, which won the Bavarian Gold Medal in 1963 and the two-dimensional (lots 5, 13, 20) and three-dimensional ‘Macrogauze’ designs (lots 2, 15), Collingwood always produced innovative weaving techniques and designs. Collingwood’s first major retrospective was the seminal exhibition Collingwood | Coper at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1969. The ‘Macrogauzes’ were shown in perfect harmony with the works of Hans Coper.

  • Artist Bio

    Lucie Rie

    Austrian • 1902 - 1995

    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.

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1

Lucie Rie

Conical bowl

circa 1972
Porcelain, golden manganese glaze with sgraffito on the exterior, the interior unglazed with inlaid radiating design.
8.4 cm (3 1/4 in.) high, 19.3 cm (7 5/8 in.) diameter
Impressed with artist's seal.

Estimate
£40,000 - 60,000 ♠

sold for £100,000

Contact Specialist
Sofia Sayn-Wittgenstein
Specialist
+44 207 901 7926

Design

London Auction 20 September 2017

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