Hans Coper (1920 − 1981)

Hans Coper was born in Chemnitz in Germany. He came to England in 1939 but was arrested as an alien and sent to Canada, returning to England in 1941 where he enrolled in the Pioneer Corps. After being discharged from the army, Coper joined Lucie Rie at her Albion Mews studio in London; he later established a studio in Frome, Somerset in 1967 after teaching at Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art. His work was widely exhibited during his lifetime. In 1962 he was commissioned to make candlesticks for Coventry Cathedral. In 1983 a retrospective exhibition was shown at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich, which later travelled to Germany and the Netherlands before being shown at the Serpentine Gallery in London. Coper is acknowledged as one of the most important and influential potters of the 20th Century. Coper's work embraces a range of reference unparalleled in 20th Century ceramics. Cycladic figures, bronze age amphorae, early Celtic metalwork, pre-historic menhirs, can be conjured from the tightly compressed forms of his work. His vocabulary of forms is severely limited to a few thrown shapes and shows how wheel-thrown clay can become the vehicle of sculptural expression. His works are characterised by their innate tonality and carefully worked surface textures. Coper was a highly regarded teacher who had the gift of drawing out the talents and perceptions of his students, who included Alison Britton and Elizabeth Fritsch, and not forcing on them preconceived ideas of aesthetics.

Glossary (3)

  • Bronze

    A metal alloy made from copper with up to two-thirds tin, often with other small amounts of other metals. Commonly used in casting. A work cast in bronze is sometimes referred to as 'a bronze'.

  • Ceramics

    Clay based products produced from non-metallic material and fired at high temperature. The term covers all objects made of fired clay, including earthenware, porcelain, stoneware and terra cotta.

  • Drawing

    The depiction of shapes and forms on a flat surface chiefly by means of lines although colour and shading may also be included. Materials most commonly used are pencil, ink, crayon, charcoal, chalk and pastel, although other materials, including paint, can be used in combination.

Past exhibitions

MASTERPIECES IN STUDIO POTTERY FROM THE BRITISH COUNCIL COLLECTION

  • 2009
    • Wales, Swansea, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

3 BY 1

  • 2009
    • UK, Farnham, Crafts Study Centre

LUCIE RIE AND HANS COPER: POTTERS IN PARALLEL

  • 1997
    • UK, London, Barbican Art Gallery

BRITISH STUDIO POTTERY

  • 1986
    • Russia, Leningrad, Hall Of The Union Of Soviet Artists
    • Russia, Moscow, All Russian Museum of Applied, Decorative and Folk Art

BRITISH ARTIST POTTERS 1913-1960

  • 1996
    • France, Belize
  • 1970
    • Jordan, Amman, British Council Office - Amman
  • 1969
    • Morocco, Rabat, Galerie Bab Ruah
  • 1964
    • Australia, Australia
  • 1963
    • Greece, British Council Office - Cyprus

THREE EXHIBITIONS FOR BRITISH FORTNIGHT ENGLISH ARTIST-POTTERS 1913-1960

  • 1964
    • Australia, Art Gallery Of New South Wales
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