Waistel Cooper 1921-2003: Part one
2021 marked the centenary year of artist-potter Waistel Cooper's birth. It seemed fitting that this was the moment The Fine Art Society, with its long history of dealing in decorative and applied arts, acquired a large single owner collection of Waistel's ceramics, with over one hundred pieces dating from the 1950s through to his final years. They were amassed by a resourceful young woman in Edinburgh, who by chance had met the artist in 1956, when he visited her chip shop, and invited her along to his Edinburgh Festival exhibition. She became a life-long friend and collector of Cooper's pots, and her daughter, who also knew the potter well, continued to add to the collection, as have we.
Now, with this unique overview of the artist's oeuvre, it is time to reconsider Waistel Cooper's place in the pantheon of great British artists. Along with the notable potters Hans Coper and Lucie Rie, he instigated a revolution in ceramics, eschewing elaborately decorated Victorian pots in favour of textured, sculptural pieces and pure forms.
In this dedicated exhibition (Part One), we are delighted to hold Waistel Cooper up to the spotlight across both our galleries. There will be a second exhibition (Part Two) later in the year when we will further contextualise his work.
We are very grateful to Piers Davies for his support and expertise, and our profound thanks go to Tim Williams, whose passion for the artist, knowledge and determination to bring Waistel Cooper back into focus, has made this project possible.