HANS COPER (1920-1981)


Hans Coper was born in Chemnitz on 8 April 1920, and his family lived in Reichenbach, Dresden and Leipzig. In 1939 he left Germany and came to England as a refugee.

In 1946 he met Lucie Rie and began to work at the Albion Mews Pottery. He became a British Subject in 1958, and the following year he moved to Digswell, Hertfordshire, where he was one of the founder members of the architectural group there.

During the 1960s he made two large murals composed of ceramic discs and designed a wide range of ceramic claddings. In 1960 he started teaching at Camberwell School of Art and in 1966 at the Royal College of Art, having returned to London in 1963. In 1967 he moved to Frome, Somerset, where he died in 1981.

Above: Hans Coper at his Hammersmith Studio, 1965
Photo © Jane Coper


Hans Coperís first exhibitions were held at the Berkeley Galleries in London during the 1950ís, often with Lucie Rie. In 1951 he and Lucie Rie exhibited together in the Homes and Gardens Pavilion at the Festival of Britain in a room set designed by Robin Day. The 1950ís and 60ís also saw exhibitions in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, New York, Washington DC and Tokyo. In 1969 he shared a major joint exhibition with the weaver Peter Collingwood at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Exhibitions at Kettles Yard, Cambridge and the Robert Welch Gallery, in Chipping Camden in the late 1970ís were followed by a 60th Birthday exhibition at the Hetjens Museum in Dusseldorf in 1980.

After Coperís death in 1981 a number of major retrospective exhibitions have been mounted including Hans Coper 1920 Ė 1981 at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (and touring) in 1983-4, Lucie Rie/ Hans Coper: Masterworks by Two British Potters at the Metropolitan Museum, New York in 1994, Lucie Rie / Hans Coper: Potters in Parallel at the Barbican Art Gallery, London in 1997 and most recently a major touring exhibition in Japan entitled Hans Coper Retrospective: Innovation in 20th Century Ceramics.

Galerie Besson first exhibited Hans Coper in its opening year in 1988 and has continued to hold regular exhibits of his work. In 2009 an exhibition of Hans Coper and Peter Collingwood was mounted to mark the fortieth anniversary of the shared 1969 V&A exhibition.

Exhibitions at Galerie Besson

Peter Collingwood - Hans Coper Jun - Jul 2009
Classic & Contemporary Ceramics Jan - Feb 2009
Hans Coper - Lucie Rie Jul - Aug 2008
Lucie Rie - Hans Coper Oct - Nov 2006
Hand Coper & Peter Collingwood Oct - Nov 2002
Hans Coper Mar - Apr 1997
Lucie Rie & Hans Coper Nov - Dec 1994
Lucie Rie & Hans Coper Jun - Jul 1993
Hans Coper Oct - Nov 1988

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