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Lucie Rie (1902-95)
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Lucie Rie

Born Lucie Gomperz in Vienna, she toured Europe with her antiquarian uncle before studying ceramics (1922-6) at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Vienna, under Michael Powolny. She married Hans Rie in 1926 and made pottery in their Vienna apartment. In 1938 the Ries emigrated to Britain, where Lucie Rie settled in London alone; she divorced in 1940.

Rie set up her workshop and home in a Bayswater mews and sought advice from Bernard Leach, visiting him at his Dartington workshop in 1939. During the war she was forced to abandon pottery and work in a glass studio; she then manufactured ceramic buttons in her own workshop. From 1946, aged 44, she was assisted by the young German refugee, Hans Coper. They made plain, thrown tableware in tandem from 1947, first in earthenware then in stoneware. Both also made individual pots and Lucie Rie worked in porcelain from the end of the 1940s, adopting sgraffito decoration which became her trademark.

Exhibition opportunities were numerous for four decades and Rie always had a full order books of private clients. Retrospective exhibitions of her work were organised in 1967 by the Arts Council of Great Britain, in 1981 by the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, in 1992 at the Crafts Council and in 1997 at the Barbican Art Gallery, London in 1997 (with Hans Coper). She was appointed DBE in 1991.



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