15 April 2016
Our work of the week is Lucie Rie’s Conical Bowl (1971) which is currently on show at the Fitzwilliam Museum in ‘Being Modern’.
Lucie Rie was one of the most important potters of the 20th century. Born Lucie Gomperz in Vienna, in 1938 she moved to Britain, where she spent the rest of her life. Though retaining conventional vase and bowl shapes, Rie created a highly expressive and original formal language, influenced by traditions ranging from prehistoric pots to Islamic fritware.‘Lucie Rie’s pots reveal an instinct for powerful concision, for the paring back of forms, textures, functions to the essential. Her life reveals someone who was able to get to the point’ – Edmund de Waal, artist, potter and author.
This one of four pieces by Rie at Kettle’s Yard, all produced between 1950 and 1974 and acquired by Jim Ede in the early 1970s. At Kettle’s Yard the bowl is known as ‘The Wave’ (possibly a title given by Jim Ede) which derives from the undulating shape of the rim, a feature that became one of Rie’s trademarks, which she achieved by squeezing the bowl into an oval while throwing. The white surface of the bowl is animated by dark flecks: though a master in the use of coloured glazes, Rie once confessed that she favoured her white pieces.
Click here to learn more about this work through film, sound, images and 360-degree views via A Handful of Objects our online collection resource.