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Harry Bertoia Furniture

Harry Bertoia (Italian American, 1915-1978)

Sculptor, furniture and jewelry designer, graphic artist and metalsmith, Harry Bertoia was one of the great cross-disciplinarians of 20th-century art and design and a central figure in American modernism. Among furniture aficionados he is known for the wire-lattice “Diamond” chair (and its variants such as the tall-backed “Bird” chair) designed for Knoll Inc. and first released in 1952. As an artist, Bertoia is revered for a style that was his alone. Bertoia’s metal sculptures are by turns expressive and austere, powerful and subtle, intimate in scale and monumental. All embody a tension between the intricacy and precision of Bertoia’s forms and the raw strength of his materials: steel, brass, bronze and copper.

     Fortune seemed to guide Bertoia’s artistic development. Born in northeastern Italy, Bertoia immigrated to the United States at age 15, joining an older brother in Detroit. He studied drawing and metalworking in the gifted student program at Cass Technical High School. Recognition led to awards that culminated, in 1937, in a teaching scholarship to attend the Cranbrook Academy of Art in suburban Bloomfield Hills, one of the great crucibles of modernism in America. There, Bertoia made friendships — with architect Eero Saarinen, designers Charles and Ray Eames and Florence Schust Knoll and others — that shaped the course of his life. He taught metalworking at Cranbrook, and when materials rationing during World War II limited the availability of metals, Bertoia focused on jewelry design. He also experimented with monotype printmaking, and 19 of his earliest efforts were bought by the Guggenheim Museum.

     In 1943, he left Cranbrook to work in California with the Eameses, helping them develop their now-famed plywood furniture. (Bertoia received scant credit.) Late in that decade, Florence and Hans Knoll persuaded him to move east and join Knoll Inc. His chairs became, and remain, perennial bestsellers. Royalties allowed Bertoia to devote himself full-time to metal sculpture, a medium he began to explore in earnest in 1947.

     By the early 1950s Bertoia was receiving commissions for large-scale works from architects — the first came via Saarinen — as he refined his aesthetic vocabulary into two distinct skeins. One comprises his “sounding sculptures” — gongs and “Sonambient” groupings of rods that strike together and chime when touched by hand or by the wind. The other genre encompasses Bertoia’s naturalistic works: abstract sculptures that suggest bushes, flower petals, leaves, dandelions or sprays of grass. As you will see on these pages, Harry Bertoia was truly unique; his art and designs manifest a wholly singular combination of delicacy and strength.

Iconic Designs from Harry Bertoia
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Diamond Chair
Diamond Chair
Bertoia Side Chair
Bertoia Side Chair
Bertoia Bench - 400Y/410Y
Bertoia Bench - 400Y/410Y
Bertoia Bird Chair and Ottoman
Bertoia Bird Chair and Ottoman
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Harry Bertoia Maquette for the Fountain at the Philadelphia Civic Center, 1967
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
The actual fountain stood outside the Philadelphia Civic Center until 2000 when it was removed and kept in storage. It was recently acquired by the Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hi...
Category

1960s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Bronze

Harry Bertoia Early Wire Form Sculpture, 1952
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
A very early sculpture that represents one of the many stages of Bertoia's experimentation with materials. He felt that "Wire forms have a great range of expressions. Their construct...
Category

1950s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Wire, Steel

Harry Bertoia Child's Chair in White with Original Knoll Seat Pad, USA, 1960s
By Harry Bertoia, Knoll
Located in New York, NY
A universally recognized design, this Bertoia child's chair has a white seat with a black base and the original turquoise seat pad.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Steel

Harry Bertoia Hand-Hammered Silver Gong Pendant, USA 1975
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
Bertoia had a natural talent for working in metal. At Cranbrook Academy of Art he ran the metal studio and often created jewelry for his colleagues and classmates. This piece was mad...
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Silver

Monumental Copper Gong by Harry Bertoia
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
A massive copper gong designed and executed during the 1960s by Harry Bertoia. We have added a blackened steel base with stem to support the gong. Measurement is for the gong only.  
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Bronze, Copper

Harry Bertoia Patinated Bronze Gong
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
This gong has an amazingly distinctive form and an incredible patina. It is a smaller scale than the Classic solid bronze gongs he created. It comes with a Stand and mallet of approp...
Category

1960s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Bronze

Harry Bertoia Hand-Forged Silver, Ebony and Silver Wire Pendant, USA, 1942
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
This early wire wrapped pendant was likely made by Harry Bertoia while he was at Cranbrook.
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Silver

Harry Bertoia Patinated Silver Brooch with Coral and Ebony, USA, 1943
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
An unusual piece of Bertoia's jewelry with a figurative quality. This brooch was included in an exhibit, "In Nature's Embrace: The World of Harry Bertoia" at the Reading Public Museu...
Category

1940s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Coral, Silver

Harry Bertoia Sculptures from Stemmons Towers Sculpture Garden, Dallas 1964
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
This important grouping of Bertoia sculptures were the centerpiece of the Stemmons Towers International sculpture garden in Dallas, Texas.
Category

1960s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Bronze, Brass

Important Harry Bertoia Silver, Ebony and Coral Pendant, USA, circa 1950
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
Bertoia stopped producing jewelry in the late 1940s except for rare occasions when he would barter a piece in exchange for materials from his metal supplier. This piece has remained ...
Category

1950s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Coral, Silver

Harry Bertoia Monumental Brass Sculpture Screen for Florence Knoll, USA 1959
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
Sculpture screen from a set of ten commissioned by architect and interior designer Florence Knoll for the First National Bank of Miami. The screens were amongst the earliest of appro...
Category

1950s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Brass, Steel

Harry Bertoia Framed Monotype on Rice Paper, USA 1960s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
Bertoia created hundreds if not thousands of one of a kind monotypes in his career, often as working drawings for his sculpture works. He employed a variety of techniques to arrive a...
Category

1960s North American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Paper

Harry Bertoia Framed Monotype on Rice Paper, USA, 1960s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
Bertoia created hundreds if not thousands of one of a kind monotypes in his career, often as working drawings for his sculpture works. He employed a variety of techniques to arrive a...
Category

1960s North American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Paper

Harry Bertoia Sculptural Kinetic Handcrafted Silver Jewelry Pendant, USA, 1940s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
Bertoia learned the craft of metalsmithing at Detroit's Cass Technical School. When he was twenty two years old he was invited by Eliel Saarinen to oversee the metalworking studio at...
Category

1940s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Sterling Silver

Harry Bertoia Kinetic Steel Wire Form Sculpture, USA 1950s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
An early and rare Kinetic sculpture by Harry Bertoia. The sculpture is made of steel rods with smallish sprouts that seem to grow from the structural base. There is a delicate Kineti...
Category

1950s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Steel

Harry Bertoia Welded Steel and Brass Sculpture, USA 1950s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
An early and unique welded from by Harry Bertoia. The sculpture's Form is extremely experimental and less formally structured than the majority of works by Bertoia. It is a nice exam...
Category

1950s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Brass, Steel

Harry Bertoia Stainless Steel Willow Sculpture, USA, 1970s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
A heavy stainless steel base and pole support a spray of hundreds of delicate stainless wires, arcing from the center creating a graceful drape of steel. One of Bertoia's most celebr...
Category

1970s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Stainless Steel

Harry Bertoia Patinated Bronze Gong
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
This gong has an incredible patina and is a smaller scale than the Classic solid bronze gongs he created.
Category

1960s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Bronze

Harry Bertoia Bronze Melt-Pressed Sculpture, USA, 1960s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
Bertoia's pressure melting or forging, technique had its roots in his earlier work in jewelry. Bertoia subjected the metal to heat and the hammer to mold it into the shapes he desired.
Category

1960s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Bronze

Harry Bertoia Framed Monotype on Rice Paper, USA, 1960s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
Bertoia created hundreds if not thousands of one of a kind monotypes in his career, often as working drawings for his sculpture works. He employed a variety of techniques to arrive a...
Category

1960s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Paper

Harry Bertoia Framed Monotype on Rice Paper, USA 1960s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
Bertoia created hundreds if not thousands of one of a kind monotypes in his career, often as working drawings for his sculpture works. He employed a variety of techniques to arrive a...
Category

1960s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Paper

Harry Bertoia Framed Monotype on Rice Paper, USA 1960s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
Bertoia created hundreds if not thousands of one of a kind monotypes in his career, often as working drawings for his sculpture works. He employed a variety of techniques to arrive a...
Category

20th Century American Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Paper

Harry Bertoia Copper & Brass "Cattail" Sonambient Sculpture, 1970s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
An impressive sounding work by Harry Bertoia, with the "Sonambient" reduced to its most simple and beautiful form. Two slender beryllium rods are placed in close proximity to each ot...
Category

1970s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Bronze

Harry Bertoia Patinated Solid Bronze Gong Sculpture, USA 1970s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
All of Bertoia's solid gongs possess a wonderful graphic quality but this one has a spiral design that stands out amongst them. It is mounted in a stand for display purposes but when...
Category

1970s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Bronze

Harry Bertoia Beryllium, Copper & Bronze Untitled Sonambient Sculpture, USA 1977
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
A striking example of Bertoia's sounding sculptures. He created a variety of forms and this piece stands out because of the thick and heavy cylinders that top off the rods and create...
Category

1970s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Brass, Bronze, Copper

Harry Bertoia Monumental Brass Untitled Sonambient Sculpture, USA, 1976
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
An astounding example of Bertoia's sonambient sculptures. The monumental scale of this piece creates a powerful lasting resonating sound.
Category

1970s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Brass

Harry Bertoia Spray Sculpture with Rare Flat Rounded Ends, USA, 1960s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
Harry Bertoia's spray sculptures are one of his most identifiable forms and this one has the additional appeal of the flat rounded bronze ends rarely found on the spray sculptures.
Category

1960s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Bronze, Stainless Steel

Harry Bertoia Stainless Steel and Gypsum Bundled Wire Form Sculpture, USA, 1960s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
Imaginative work by Harry Bertoia featuring stainless steel wires bundled together. The wire bundles are set into a block of gypsum at top and bottom. A very unusual form with rarely...
Category

1960s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Stainless Steel

Harry Bertoia Beryllium Bronze Kinetic Cattail Sonambient Sculpture, USA, 1970s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
An unusual and wonderful example of Bertoia's sonambient sculptures. It has a very strong sounding quality for it's size due to the relationship between the rods and the cattails at ...
Category

1970s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Brass, Copper

Harry Bertoia Early Stainless Steel "Spray" Sculpture, USA, 1960s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
Early example of the iconic Spray sculpture by Harry Bertoia. A bundle of stainless steel wires are gathered and inserted into a heavy base. The loose ends are left to drape graceful...
Category

1960s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Stainless Steel

Harry Bertoia Untitled Bronze Welded Rod Sculpture, USA, 1970s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
This is one of a series of patinated welded bronze sculptures that Bertoia did in the 1960s and 1970s. His work almost always has an organic quality to it and this piece is an excell...
Category

1970s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Harry Bertoia Two Column Sonambient Sculpture, USA, 1960s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
An atypical form for Beartoia's (1915-1978) sonambients given it's split in the centre of the rods. I desirable size for display in the home and a typically wonderful sound quality.
Category

1960s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Bronze, Copper

Harry Bertoia Brass Melt Coat Panel Sculpture Maquette for Bank in NYC, 1950s
By Harry Bertoia
Located in New York, NY
The multi panel melt coat sculpture was a maquette given to George Bunshaft from Harry Bertoia as a gift. He commissioned Bertoia to create his now famous screen for the Manufacturer...
Category

1950s American Vintage Harry Bertoia Furniture

Materials

Steel, Brass

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