Lucie Rie was born in 1902 in Vienna, where she studied at the Kunstwerbeschule under Michael Powolny from 1922 to 1926. In 1938 she moved to London, where she lived in Albion Mews. After the war she opened a pottery and button-making workshop, and was joined in 1946 by Hans Coper.
She taught at Camberwell School of Art from 1960 to 1971 and in 1969 received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art. She was awarded the OBE in 1968 and the CBE in 1981. She was created a Dame in 1991. Her earliest London exhibitions, starting in 1949, were at the Berkeley Galleries (many of them shared with Hans Coper), and from 1954 she exhibited in New York, Minneapolis, Göteborg, Rotterdam, Arnhem, Hamburg and Düsseldorf, as well as in a number of British galleries.
Retrospective exhibitions of her work were mounted by the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1967 (in London, Nottingham and Bristol) and at the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, Norwich and the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1981. Galerie Besson opened with an exhibition of her work in April 1988 and has continued to hold regular exhibitions ever since. Lucie Rie died in 1995, aged 93.