The potters Hans Coper and Dame Lucie Rie were long-standing friends whose lives and careers were closely intertwined. Both fled their native countries as refugees from Nazism; Rie went to England in 1938, and Coper in 1939. After the war Rie began to produce domestic wares for shops. She soon realized that there was greater demand for her more individual work. Coper, after having been interned in Canada as an enemy alien during the war, decided to become a sculptor. To make ends meet, he began working at Rie's London studio in 1946. Influenced by his older friend, he quickly came to think of himself as a potter.
Tight control characterizes Rie's oeuvre; its appeal lies in the refined elegance of her shapes, the subtlety of her surface decorations, and the varied richness of her glazes. Coper's work, on the other hand, is strong and monumental; though completely sculptural, his ceramics invariably remain vessels. His abstract Cycladic Form evokes an image from antiquity; it is tiny but has a bold and forceful presence.The subtly complex shape of his Thistle Form contrasts with its rough yet delicately nuanced surface texture.
Marking: Stamped: (underside of ring base): LR
the artist, London (sold to Snead); Stella Snead, New York (until 2001; her gift to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Significant Objects," November 26, 2002–May 2, 2004, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Modern Design: Selections from the Collection," May 30–October 5, 2008, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Studies in Global Ceramic History," 2015.
Tony Birks. Hans Coper. London, 1983, pp. 72, 194–97.
Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, and Their Pupils. Exh. cat., Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia. Norwich, England, 1990.
Margot Coatts, ed. Lucie Rie and Hans Coper: Potters in Paradise. Exh. cat., Barbican Art Gallery. London, 1997.
Jared Goss in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2001-2002." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 60 (Fall 2002), p. 42, ill. (color).