Hans Coper - Contemporary Studio Artworks from the Estate of Jack R. Bershad New York Wednesday, June 8, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Peter Dingley, acquired directly from the artist, 1974
    John Armstead, acquired from the above, 1974
    Driscoll & Walsh, Boston, acquired from the above, 1984
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1985

  • Literature

    Tony Birks, Hans Coper, Yeovil, 1991, pp. 178, 186, 201 for similar examples
    Tony Birks, Hans Coper, Catrine, 2013, pp. 190, 206-07

  • Catalogue Essay

    Recognized as one of the greatest contributors to modern English ceramics, Hans Coper is acclaimed for his primeval vessels. Coper learned his craft in the London studio of Lucie Rie, having emigrated from Germany as a young Jewish engineering student in 1939. Coper favored compound shapes that, while simple in appearance, were in fact complex in construction. He would build his vessels by bringing several thrown forms together, for example joining bowls rim to rim.

    Coper eschewed glazes, preferring the textured surfaces achieved through the application of white and black slips, which evoke 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 works like the present lot, small “Cycladic” pots that stand on pedestals or drums, recalling the clay figures of Bronze Age Greece. Critically renowned, Coper’s work is held in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, among others.

  • 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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Contemporary Studio Artworks from the Estate of Jack R. Bershad

4

"Cycladic" pot

circa 1972
Stoneware, layered porcelain slips and engobes over a textured and incised body, the interior with a manganese glaze.
7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm) high
Underside impressed with artist's seal.

Estimate
$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $201,600

Contact Specialist

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212-940-1268

Contemporary Studio Artworks from the Estate of Jack R. Bershad

New York Auction 8 June 2022