ONE OF MY UNCLES commissioned a ceramic work by the celebrated potter Lucie Rie (née Gomperz; 1902-1995). This used to be on display in my aunt and uncle’s house, which I used to visit often. Thus, I became familiar with the name Lucy Rie.
Lucie was born in Vienna (Austria), where she attended an avant-garde school of arts and crafts from 1922. After graduating, she set up her own studio in Vienna. Bring Jewish, she left Vienna in the late 1930s, and settled in London.
Encouraged by Bernard Leach, she established a studio in London. For a while she worked with the potter Hans Coper, but the artistic styles of the two artists differed considerably. Over the years, Lucie created objects in a variety of styles. She experimented with glazes and other techniques, creating pottery which was truly 20th century. Unlike Leach, whose works reference ancient Chinese and Japanese ceramics and mediaeval English, Lucie was innovative and inventive.
Until the 25th of June 2023, you can see a good exhibition of Lucie’s works, from her earliest to her later creations, at Kettles Yard in Cambridge. Undoubtedly, her works are of a high quality, both artistically and technically, but I was not particularly excited by the show. A video of David Attenborough interviewing Lucie in her studio interested me far more than her works on display.
By all means visit the exhibition, but in my opinion this is a show for Lucie Rie enthusiasts, rather than for the average exhibition goer.