Hans Coper - Design New York Wednesday, December 9, 2020 | Phillips

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    • Provenance

      Lucie Rie, London
      Private collection, United States, acquired from the above, 1950s
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      Tony Birks, Hans Coper, Catrine, 2013 p. 99 for a similar example
      Charles Park, Hans Coper 100, Oxford, 2020, back cover 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 a Private Collection, Minnesota


Flared vase

circa 1958
Stoneware, layered white porcelain slips and engobes over a textured body, the interior with manganese glaze.
7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm) high
Underside impressed with artist's seal.

Full Cataloguing

$8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for $40,320

Contact Specialist

+1 212 940 1265


New York Auction 9 December 2020