Lucie Rie was a British ceramicist and potter of Austrian origin. Born in Vienna in 1902, Rie began her artistic training at the Vienna Kunstgewerbeschule in 1922 where she first studied the art of pottery. The artist established her first studio in her native city in 1925. It was here that she began to experiment with the manipulation of pottery and development of textured glazes that became the hallmarks of her later style. Her work, most often produced to a domestic scale, was marked by a minimalist approach which was celebrated very early in her career. At the Paris International Exhibition in 1937, the artist was awarded the Silver medal for her display of 70 minimalist pots. In 1938 Rie relocated to London in response to changing political landscape in her native Austria. Though her distinctive and innovative approach to pottery had been well received in continental Europe, the artist’s work was not immediately met with acclaim upon her arrival in London. Undeterred, the artist established a pottery studio after the Second World War from which she produced jewellery and ceramic buttons which attracted commercial interest. In 1946 the artist hired Hans Coper as a studio assistant, an inexperienced sculptor who would later become her most frequent collaborator. The two artists first exhibited together in 1948, marking the beginning of a long professional and personal relationship. During this time Rie continued to develop her distinctive earthenware pots whilst beginning to explore new methods and techniques surrounding stoneware and porcelain production. Though initially focused on small domestic items such as monochrome coffee pots and teacups, the artist’s work began to expand into more colourful and often metallic works such as vases and bowls.
In 1951 Rie exhibited as part of the Festival of Britain, followed by a number of small exhibitions in the years to follow. Rie taught at the Camberwell School of Art between the years 1960 – 1972. In 1967, a significant retrospective exhibition was held by the Arts Council which propelled the artist to fame. She was appointed OBE the following year, and received an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art. Rie continued to produce her distinctive pottery and ceramics to great acclaim. The artist was awarded the CBE in 1981, before becoming a Dame in 1991. The artist continued to work late in to her life. She died in 1995. Her work can be seen today in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London among many others.