Rie, Lucie

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Vienna - Austria
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Lucie Rie was born in 1902 in Vienna, where she studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule under Michael Powolny from 1922 to 1926. In 1938 she moved to London, where she lived from 1939 in Albion Mews. After the war she opened a pottery and button-making workshop where she was joined in 1946 by Hans Coper. She 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 was created a Dame in 1991. She continued to work into her late eighties but after a series of strokes she was finally forced to stop working in 1990. Lucie Rie died at her home, 18 Albion Mews, on 1 April 1995.
Lucie Rie's earliest London exhibitions, starting in 1949, were at the Berkeley Galleries (many of them shared with Hans Coper), and from 1954 she exhibited individually or with Coper, in New York, Minneapolis, Göteborg, Rotterdam, Arnhem, Hamburg and Düsseldorf, as well as in a number of British galleries. Retrospective exhibitions of her work were mounted by the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1967 and at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts and the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1981. In April 1988 Galerie Besson opened with an exhibition of her works from 1947 to 1988. During the rest of her lifetime further important exhibitions of her work were organised in Tokyo and Osaka in 1989 by the fashion designer Issey Miyake, in London by the Crafts Council in 1992 and a joint retrospective was held with Hans Coper at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1994. After her death in 1995 her work has continued to be the feature of many more prestigious exhibitions, including a joint exhibition with Hans Coper at the Barbican Art Gallery in London in 1997 and an exhibition in her native city of Vienna at the Museum für Angewandte Kunst in 1999. In her centenary year in 2002, exhibitions were held at Galerie Besson, The Shigaraki Ceramic Sculptural Park, Japan and at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto. The first exhibition of her work in France was mounted at the Musée de Céramique at Sèvres in March – April 2008 and in February 2008 a blue plaque was unveiled at her former London studio, 18 Albion Mews, by English Heritage. During 2010-2011 a major retrospective of her work is touring Japan (text: Gallery Besson, London).

Pictures: two portraits at younger age; portrait at elder age (source: Clark+Delvecchio); The Tony Birks biography; bowl (source unknown); artist stamp.

  • Houston, John, Lucie Rie, a survey of her life and work, 1981.
  • Birks, Tony, Lucie Rie, biography, Stenlake Publishing, 1994.
  • Cooper, Emmanuel, Contemporary Ceramics, London 2009.
  • Thormann, Olaf, Gefäss / Skulptur - Vessel / Sculpture; Keramik / Ceramics seit / since 1946 Grassi Museum für Angewandte Kunst Leipzig, 2013.
  • Simon Thomas, Mienke, The Essential potness, Lucie Rie en Hans Coper in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 2014.