Lucie Rie: Profile of an Artist

Lucie Rie is one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated potters. Her delicate and distinctive aesthetic combines an acute understanding of modernism with original shapes and inspiring surface effects. Many of Rie’s vessels have a gentle tilt or slight wave, reflecting the freedom and charming imprecision of her artistic process - winning her both critical and popular acclaim.

Lucie Rie sunbathing. Photograph by Stella Snead

Lucie Rie sunbathing. Photograph by Stella Snead

 

Born in Vienna in 1902, Lucie Rie set up her studio there in 1925, but fled Nazi Austria for London in 1938. With a commitment to simplicity and clarity, her understated modernism set her apart from contemporary English ceramicists. Rie's pared-back pots, bottles and vessels were described by biographer Tony Birks as ‘a fascinating combination of opposites: simple, yet subtly complex; economical, yet luxurious; and sturdy, yet frail.’

Lucie Rie ceramics

Lucie Rie ceramics

 

Her pottery blurs the line between functionality and fine art, and is still displayed in collections around the world, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Rie’s delicately shaped ceramics remain as beautiful and relevant today as they did throughout her impressive yet unassuming career.

Lucie Rie bowl. Photograph: BBC

Lucie Rie bowl. Photograph: BBC

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