Dame Lucie Rie was an Austrian ceramic artist who transformed the studio pottery movement in the United Kingdom. Rie began her formal training at the School of Applied Arts in Vienna in 1922, where she studied under noted Wiener Werkstätte potter Michael Powolny. She was inspired by the work of the company’s founder Josef Hoffmann, which was reflected in the geometric and vertical nature of Rie’s designs. In 1937, Hoffmann selected over 70 of Rie’s pots to display at the Paris International Exhibition winning her the silver medal in the show.
In 1938, Rie was forced to flee to the United Kingdom due to the rise of the Nazi party. Her modernist works were coolly received as the accepted style of ceramics for the region at the time was rooted in the Arts and Crafts tradition. However, after working with the father of English studio ceramics Bernard Leach, Rie began to establish her reputation abroad. She was noted for her experimentation with new glaze techniques including raw glazing, which called attention to the materiality of her pottery. In 1949, she had her first solo ceramic show in London. During the 1960s and 1970s, she lectured at the Camberwell School of Art in London.
In 1981, Rie was honored with a retrospective of her work at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In 1991, she was awarded Damehood by the Queen of England in recognition of her contribution to the British Empire. Lucie Rie died in 1995, but her work lives on in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Jewish Museum in London.