Hans Coper - Design London Monday, September 26, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Robert Welch Gallery, Chipping Camden, UK, 1975

  • Exhibited

    ‘Memorial Collection’, Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, Norwich, January–September 1983, then travelled to: Hetjens Museum, Düsseldorf (January–March 1984), Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, (March–May 1984), Serpentine Gallery, London (June–July 1984); ‘Lucie Rie, Hans
    Coper, and their pupils: a selection of contemporary ceramics illustrating their influence’, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, Norwich, 2 October–16 December 1990 and The Fitzwilliam Museum, Adeane Gallery, Cambridge, 22 January–1 April 1991; ‘Lucie Rie & Hans Coper. Potters in Parallel’, Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1997

  • Literature

    Cyril Frankel, Hans Coper, Modern Pots: Lucie Rie & their Contemporaries: The Lisa Sainsbury Collection, London, 2000, fig. 19, p. 41 for a similar example; Tony Birks, Hans Coper, Somerset, 2005, p. 72

  • 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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Thistle form

Stoneware, layered white porcelain slips and engobes over a body with textured and incised linear designs, the interior with manganese glaze.
31.9 cm (12 1/2 in) high
Impressed with artist’s seal.

£12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for £15,000


27 September 2011