Born in Austria in 1902, Lucie Rie studied at the Viennaschool of Arts and Crafts; she fled Austria in 1938, and lived in London from 1939 until her death in 1995. Along with her friends Hans Coper and Bernard Leach she was one of the three most influential 20th century potters working in Britain. Rie began her career making simple earthenware pots, but by the 1950s was working only with stoneware and porcelain. Her work was founded on architectural principles of harmonious design, and she quickly developed a very distinctive style.
Popular with British, European, Japanese and American collectors, prices for Lucie Rie’s work have been steadily rising since her death in 1995, with the majority of her work now commanding very good prices. Her broad appeal lies in the contradictory nature of her work, with frail, fragile-looking shapes sculpted from sturdy stoneware. This particularly dynamic quality is known as the ‘Lucie Rie quiver’, and it’s one of the aspects that’s helped keep prices buoyant, but as with any type of pottery, condition is an important factor in determining value of a piece and the most sought after pieces are those with no damage or chips. Part of the beauty of Lucie Rie’s work lies in its complex texture and varied decoration, and the pieces displaying her trademark brilliant glazes in rainbow colours such as peacock blue, magenta and gold remain particularly popular.
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