Hans Coper - Design New York Tuesday, December 5, 2023 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Private collection, United Kingdom
    Bonhams, London, "Contemporary Ceramics," May 13, 2003, lot 165
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    "Peter Collingwood | Hans Coper: Rugs and Wall-Hangings by Peter Collingwood, Pots by Hans Coper," Victoria & Albert Museum, London, January 29-March 2, 1969

  • Literature

    Collingwood | Coper, exh. pamphlet, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 1969, no. 42
    Margot Coatts, Lucie Rie & Hans Coper - Potters in Parallel, London, 1997, p. 89 for a similar example
    Tony Birks, Hans Coper, Yeovil, 2013, p. 70 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 of a West Coast Collector


"Sack and Disc" form

Stoneware, layered porcelain slips and engobes over a textured body, the disc and interior with a manganese glaze.
10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm) high
Underside impressed with artist's seal.

$60,000 - 90,000 

Sold for $101,600

Contact Specialist

Benjamin Green
Associate Specialist
Associate Head of Sale
+1 917 207 9090


New York Auction 5 December 2023