20th century Modern Ceramist
Hans Coper was born in 1920 in Lower Saxton, Germany. He trained as an Engineer before leaving Germany in 1939 as a refugee for England. There he met Lucie Rie, who introduced him to ceramics, and shared his rejection of functionalism. Together they formed an alternative to the Leach studio that emphasized modernism and sculptural capabilities. In 1966 he began teaching at the Royal College of Art in London, still creating simple forms that followed the modernist tradition. Coper's surfaces often have several applications of engobe over a mat manganese dioxide glaze to produce an antiquated surface effect. He made mainly pots and vessels, but with irregular and abstracted forms, crossing into the sculptural realm. He had a modernist aesthetic that broke from the current trends in British pottery (i.e. the Oriental influence) to make reference to Cycladic cult figures and Archaic Greek sculpture, as well as the sculpture of Alberto Giacometti and Constantin Brancusi.