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until September 21 2014
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is exhibiting ceramics in the Klaverblad made by the potters Lucie Rie (1902-1995) and Hans Coper (1920-1981). The museum owns thirty-seven pieces by Rie and twenty-six by Coper. They will be on display for six months. In 1967 former curator Dorris Kuyken-Schneider invited these two potters to Rotterdam for the first time to give a combined presentation. Since then the work of both these artists has become part of many elite museum and private collections all over the world.
Lucie Rie and Hans Coper are considered to have been the most eminent British potters of the second half of the twentieth century. Yet neither was born in the United Kingdom. Both fled from the growing menace of the Nazi regime at the end of the nineteen-thirties. Lucie Rie was a fully qualified and accomplished ceramicist when she emigrated from Vienna to London in 1938. In 1939 Hans Coper was a young man of 19 when he fled Germany, where he was born. His career as a potter started in 1946 as an assistant to Lucie Rie. It was the start of close friendship and cooperation.
Throughout her career Lucie Rie carried on doing her own thing regardless. Initially she ignored advice from the influential British potter Bernard Leach, and later on she similarly took no notice of the innovative trends in the work of contemporaries. Rie based the shapes of her pieces on classical ceramics, the dateless bowl, vase and pot. She experimented with colours and textures and she devised a wide range of decorations. She was best known for her line decorations, a few lines, sometimes crossing, applied in sgraffito or with a brush. A special feature of her works was that all of them were glazed when they had only been dried. This meant that they only had to be fired once.
Hans Coper's pots were less conventional than Rie's. His work is also less colourful. Coper used mainly white, buff, brown and black. Unlike the refined crockery that Coper made together with Rie, his vases are more monumental. His work can best be characterized as searching for new shapes. He created these forms using separate pieces, which he threw on a potter's wheel, but were cut to size afterwards. Sculpture was his greatest source of inspiration. He particularly admired Constantin Brancusi and Alberto Giacometti. Like them, Coper paid a great deal of attention to the correct relationship between the object and its base.
At the same time as this exhibition, the museum is publishing a lavishly illustrated study 'The essential potness - Lucie Rie and Hans Coper in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen'. Text and final editing by Mienke Simon Thomas, based on texts by Dorris U. Kuyken-Schneider, Margreet Eijkelenboom-Vermeer and Titus M. Eliëns. The study is available in Dutch and English versions from the museum shop and the webshop.
In 2007 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen launched a series of scholarly publications about its own collection, the Boijmans Studies. In so doing the museum is rejuvenating its rich tradition of documentation about the works it owns, in particular the catalogues. The series covers a broad range of reviews and analyses that consider a single work or a section of the collection, as well as the history of the museum and its contents.
The exhibition 'Lucie Rie and Hans Coper' is being made possible by the support of Stichting van Achterbergh - Domhof.