WAISTEL COOPER 1921-2003

 

PART I

 

13 JANUARY - 18 FEBRUARY

  • Waistel Cooper was a visionary potter, instrumental in revolutionising British ceramics with his unique, rough-textured, sculptural style. During the early...

    Waistel Cooper was a visionary potter, instrumental in revolutionising British ceramics with his unique, rough-textured, sculptural style. During the early part of his career, his work was regularly exhibited alongside his contemporaries, Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, showing at Henry Rothschild’s era-defining Primavera Gallery on London’s Sloane Street. Yet due to Waistel’s isolated lifestyle and reluctance to exhibit after 1970, his place as a pioneer of ceramic work at the forefront of modernist art was diminished to the point of near obscurity by the 1990s.

     

    It was in 1994 that the curator and design historian Lesley Jackson organised a major retrospective of Waistel’s pottery at Manchester City Art Gallery, re-asserting his place in the modernist pantheon. He had never ceased making or showing pottery from his home studio but – buoyed by the renewed interest – Waistel resumed exhibiting until his death in 2003. That should have been a moment for consolidation. But despite eulogies by the likes of Emmanuel Cooper, comparing his work to the sculpture of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, no book about him was published and knowledge of his work waned again.

     

    The moment for reassessment has come around once more. Waistel Cooper deserves a place in history not only amongst the best potters of the 20th century, but in the annals of the greatest British artists.

     

     

     

     

     

    Photograph by Andrés Kolbeinsson (1919-2009), courtesy of Ljósmyndasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavík Museum of Photography, Iceland


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  • 1940s
  • Waistel Cooper Charger, late 1940s decorated with a figurative design in orange, brown, blue, yellow and pink slip glazes signed...
    Waistel Cooper

    Charger, late 1940s

    decorated with a figurative design in orange, brown, blue, yellow and pink slip glazes
    signed ‘Waistel’ to the base
    Iceland or Merryfield, Porlock
    terracotta
    4.5 x 21 cm


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  • 1950s
  • Waistel Cooper Baluster Vase, 1950s decorated with a black sunburst repeat on a rust surface with vertical sgraffito lines, and...

    Waistel Cooper

    Baluster Vase, 1950s

    decorated with a black sunburst repeat on a rust surface with vertical sgraffito lines, and an oatmeal gloss-glazed interior
    signed ‘Waistel’ to the base
    Merryfield, Porlock

    stoneware

    12 x 11 cm

    • Waistel Cooper Coffee cup, 1950s decorated with vertical sgraffito lines on a rust surface, and an oatmeal satin-glazed interior signed ‘W.’ to the base Merryfield, Porlock stoneware 8.5 x 13 cm
      Waistel Cooper
      Coffee cup, 1950s
      decorated with vertical sgraffito lines on a rust surface, and an oatmeal satin-glazed interior
      signed ‘W.’ to the base
      Merryfield, Porlock
      stoneware
      8.5 x 13 cm
    • Waistel Cooper, 'Scroll' cup, 1950s
      Waistel Cooper, 'Scroll' cup, 1950s
    • Waistel Cooper, Cup, 1950s
      Waistel Cooper, Cup, 1950s
  • Waistel Cooper Ovoid trefoil aperture vase, 1950s with a speckled satin ash glaze and firing blush signed ‘Waistel’ to the...

    Waistel Cooper

    Ovoid trefoil aperture vase, 1950s
    with a speckled satin ash glaze and firing blush
    signed ‘Waistel’ to the base
    Merryfield, Porlock
    stoneware
    15 x 18 cm

     
  • Waistel Cooper Bird-form sculpture, c. 1955 - 1965 in the form of a 'W' for Waistel, with a rough textured...

    Waistel Cooper

    Bird-form sculpture, c. 1955 - 1965
    in the form of a 'W' for Waistel, with a rough textured dark rust surface
    signed ‘Waistel’ to the base
    Merryfield, Porlock
    stoneware
    13.5 x 19.5 x 8.5 cm


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  • 1960s
  • Waistel Cooper Dripware baluster vase, 1960s with a caramel gloss glaze and cream drips signed ‘Waistel’ to the base Culbone...

    Waistel Cooper

    Dripware baluster vase, 1960s
    with a caramel gloss glaze and cream drips
    signed ‘Waistel’ to the base
    Culbone
    stoneware
    20 x 16 cm

  • Waistel Cooper Sculptural dual-form vase , 1960s with narrow neck, goblet form lip, lugs to the shoulders, a rough textured...

    Waistel Cooper

    Sculptural dual-form vase , 1960s
    with narrow neck, goblet form lip, lugs to the shoulders, a rough textured dark brown surface, and a satin-glazed oatmeal interior with iron spatters
    signed ‘Waistel’ to the base
    Culbone
    stoneware
    36 x 27 cm

  • Waistel Cooper Monumental vase of baluster form, 1960s with a narrow neck and flared rim, decorated with carved horizontal bands...

    Waistel Cooper

    Monumental vase of baluster form, 1960s
    with a narrow neck and flared rim, decorated with carved horizontal bands on a rough textured black and white surface, and a mottled manganese glazed interior
    signed ‘Waistel’ to the base
    Culbone
    stoneware
    40 x 18 cm


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  • Waistel Cooper Pedestal tazza form vase, 1960s decorated with sgraffito lines, on a rough textured cream and dark brown surface,...

    Waistel Cooper

    Pedestal tazza form vase, 1960s
    decorated with sgraffito lines, on a rough textured cream and dark brown surface, and a heavily impastoed oatmeal and rust gloss-glazed interior
    signed ‘Waistel’ to the base
    Culbone
    stoneware
    20.5 x 25.5 cm

  • Waistel Cooper Ovoid 'pebble' vase , 1960s with incised lip and a textured cream and black speckled surface signed ‘Waistel’...

    Waistel Cooper

    Ovoid 'pebble' vase , 1960s
    with incised lip and a textured cream and black speckled surface
    signed ‘Waistel’ to the base
    Culbone
    stoneware
    14 x 16 cm

     

  • Waistel Cooper Tall conical lamp base with cut shoulders, 1960s decorated with vertical carved lines, on a rough textured black...

    Waistel Cooper

    Tall conical lamp base with cut shoulders, 1960s
    decorated with vertical carved lines, on a rough textured black and white surface
    signed ‘Waistel.’ to the base
    Culbone
    stoneware
    33 x 19 cm


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  • Waistel Cooper Flared-lip baluster vase, 1960s-70s with a rough textured oatmeal surface, and an ash-green gloss glazed interior signed ‘Waistel.’...

    Waistel Cooper
    Flared-lip baluster vase, 1960s-70s
    with a rough textured oatmeal surface, and an ash-green gloss glazed interior
    signed ‘Waistel.’ to the base
    Culbone
    stoneware
    14 x 15 cm

     
  • Waistel Cooper Goblet form vase, 1960s with a rough textured rust surface, and an oatmeal glazed interior with manganese spatters...

    Waistel Cooper

    Goblet form vase, 1960s
    with a rough textured rust surface, and an oatmeal glazed interior with manganese spatters
    signed ‘Waistel’ to the base
    Culbone
    stoneware
    22 x 13.5 cm


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  • 1970s
  • Waistel Cooper Monumental vase of baluster form, 1970s with an incised neck and flared rim, and a rough textured rust...

    Waistel Cooper

    Monumental vase of baluster form, 1970s
    with an incised neck and flared rim, and a rough textured rust surface decorated with horizontal carved bands, and an oatmeal satin glazed interior with spattered manganese
    signed ‘Waistel’ to the base
    Culbone
    stoneware
    43.5 x 20 cm

  • Waistel Cooper Large baluster lamp base of globular form, c. 1968 - 1972 decorated with a textured fern patterning in...

    Waistel Cooper

    Large baluster lamp base of globular form, c. 1968 - 1972
    decorated with a textured fern patterning in rust and cream
    signed ‘Waistel’ to the base
    Culbone
    stoneware
    22 x 23 cm


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  • 1980s
  • Waistel Cooper Apple form vase, 1980s decorated with circular carved bands to cut shoulders, with a dry white and black...

    Waistel Cooper

    Apple form vase, 1980s
    decorated with circular carved bands to cut shoulders, with a dry white and black surface
    signed ‘Waistel’ to the base
    Penzance
    stoneware
    19 x 29 cm


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