Hans Coper - The Betty Lee and Aaron Stern Collection New York Tuesday, December 17, 2013 | Phillips
  • Exhibited

    “Lucie Rie/Hans Coper: Masterworks by Two British Potters,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, November 15, 1994-May 21, 1995

  • Literature

    Peter Collingwood|Hans Coper: Rugs and wall-hangings by Peter Collingwood, Pots by Hans Coper, exh. cat., Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1969, p. 19 for a similar example
    Lucie Rie/Hans Coper: Masterworks by Two British Potters, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1994, p. 22 for a similar example
    Tony Birks, Hans Coper, Yeovil, 2006, pp. 38, 112 for similar examples

  • 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. 

    View More Works


"Digswell" composite form with flattened central volume

circa 1960
Stoneware, black glaze.
10 1/2 in. (26.8 cm) high, 5 3/4 in. (14.5 cm) diameter
Impressed with artist's seal.

$15,000 - 20,000 

Sold for $100,000

Contact Specialist
Ben Williams
Senior Specialist, Head of Sale
+ 44 207 318 4027

The Betty Lee and Aaron Stern Collection

New York 17 December 2013 10am