Hans Coper - Design Masters New York Tuesday, December 16, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1969
    Oxford Gallery, Oxford, acquired from the above, 1969
    Acquired from the above by the present owners, 1981

  • Exhibited

    “Collingwood/Coper: Rugs and Wall-hangings by Peter Collingwood, Pots by Hans Coper,” Victoria and Albert Museum, London, January 29-March 2, 1969, then traveled to: Art Gallery, Southampton, April 12-May 4, 1969; City Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham, May 29-June 22, 1969; City Art Gallery, Manchester, July 15-August 10, 1969

  • Literature

    Collingwood/Coper: Rugs and Wall-hangings by Peter Collingwood, Pots by Hans Coper, exh. cat., Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1969, pl. 16 for a similar example
    Tony Birks, Hans Coper, Yeovil, 2005, illustrated p. 67

  • 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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Important and large goblet form with vertical impressions

Stoneware, layered white porcelain slips and engobes, over a textured body, the interior with manganese glaze.
15 7/8 in. (40.3 cm) high
Impressed with artist's seal.

$60,000 - 90,000 

Sold for $164,500

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Design Masters

New York Auction 16 December 2014 6pm