Our exhibition Hans Coper, Lucie Rie and Pupils is now online and our Artist Focus will continue throughout. This week we look to Hans Coper's mentor, friend, collaborator and fellow teacher; Lucie Rie.
‘To make pottery is an adventure to me. Every new work is a new beginning’. Lucie Rie
Lucie Rie (1902 - 1995) is one of the most celebrated studio potters of the twentieth century. Known for her highly original style, extraordinarily fine hand-thrown porcelain pots decorated in a variety of rich and complex glazes. Her simple vessels such as bowls and vases are often presented in bold and vivid colours, emphasised by sgrafitto and inlay drawn directly into the glaze by hand. Rie paved the way for a new style of studio pottery whilst teaching and influencing a new generation of studio potters. She continues to have a dedicated following to this day.
Born in Vienna to an artistically savvy family, Rie grew up inspired by the modernist movement in Europe, winning many awards in her early career as potter. Leaving Austria for London in 1938 she brought these design and architectural influences with her, influences that continued to be evident in her pots throughout her career. Rie set up her studio at 18 Albion Mews, near Hyde Park where she lived and worked until her death. It is this studio that Hans Coper joined her in 1946 and where they began their collaborative work.
A reluctant teacher but encouraged by Coper Rie taught at Camberwell School of Art from 1960 to 1971 and in 1969 received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art. She was awarded the OBE in 1968 and the CBE in 1981. She became a Dame of the British Empire in 1991.
During her lifetime Rie’s work was celebrated extensively, from the 1951 Festival of Britain Exhibition, through to major retrospectives in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts in Norwich. Her work continues to be exhibited regularly today. After her death the V&A moved bought and reconstructed Lucie Rie’s Albion Mews studio in their ceramics galleries, it is presented alongside their public collections.