LONDON — From November 14-17, 2016, Maak Contemporary Ceramics will present their latest auction of studio pottery and contemporary ceramic art at the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery, 5 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 4UY. The auction will provide another opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts of studio ceramics to see and acquire works by the leading names in British and International Studio Ceramics, comprising more than 260 works with estimates ranging from £200 to £30,000.
Above image: Hans Coper (1920-1980) ‘Bonsai’ Pot, 1960, Lot 112 , £6,000-8,000
One of the star lots of Maak’s November auction is a rare and important “Cycladic” Winged Bud Form by Hans Coper (1920-1981), dating from about 1976. Coper, alongside Lucie Rie, is arguably the most important post-war potter, having pioneered the concept of ‘hand-built’ ceramics with his wheel thrown and reconstructed composite works. Born in Germany, Coper emigrated to England in 1939 and was introduced to Lucie Rie in 1946 when he began working with her at Albion Mews making tableware. Coper rapidly developed his own repertoire of distinctive forms that owed nothing to conventional ceramic traditions. Though his works were highly sculptural and were frequently referred to as such, Coper consistently referred to them as pots and his vessels always retain a notion of function.
Coper’s pots were created in series, or families, comprising a dozen or so basic shapes in varying combinations and proportions.
As written by Tony Birks in his biography of Coper, “Much of Coper’s work is concerned with ‘the return again and again to a single theme in the search for essence by reduction and simplification, and the refusal ever to consider the possibility of being satisfied with any result.”
The series of “Cycladic” pots represent the pinnacle of Coper’s creativity. They were first shown at Coper’s joint exhibition with the textile artist Peter Collingwood at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 1969 and he continued to evolve variations of his Cycladic forms until he was forced to stop working in 1978 due to a degenerative motor neurological disease. Though small, the Cycladic forms “seem to concentrate energy and to be denser than anything natural.” They are considered his finest forms.
The ‘Cycladic’ Winged Bud Form in the Maak auction comes from the artist’s personal collection via his family and is estimated at £20,000-30,000.
The connection between Hans Coper and Lucie Rie has already been mentioned. The two artists remaining lifelong friends, and the auction includes a fine selection of examples of the domestic ware that Rie and Coper made in Albion Mews. An elegant and contemporary alternative to domestic ware of the “Leach” tradition, Rie’s domestic ware was sold in high-end retail environments such as the Heal’s pottery department in the 1950s. The auction also includes fine examples of her individual works including an exquisite golden bowl with a turquoise ring.
The Maak May 2016 sale saw a record-breaking result for a work by the ceramic artist John Ward (British, b.1938), which sold for a hammer of £18,000 — far in excess of the £1,000-1,500 estimate or any previous auction result for the artist. Maak will have another fine selection of works by the artist in this latest auction.
Other names of note in the auction include Henri Simmen, Betty Woodman, Kate Malone, Walter Keeler, Hamada Shoji and more.
All the works in the auction will be on public view at the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery in Pall Mall, London. The auction will take place online via their iRostrum auction platform, with lots available to view online up to two weeks prior to the gallery viewing and then a four-day bidding period that is live during the gallery viewing. Maak contemporary ceramics is a specialist auctioneer and art consultancy that is dedicated to ceramic art of the 20th and 21st centuries. View the lots in their upcoming auction and bid here.