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.

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Dimensions: H 30 in. W 21 in. D 24 in.
Dealer Location: Bainbridge, NY
Materials & Techniques: Steel
Set of 12 Original Harry Bertoia for Knoll Black W...
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Steel
1960s Harry Bertoia for Knoll Set of Twelve Indoor Outdoor Black Wire Side Chairs. Enameled Black wire. Complete with two piece Black vinyl seat and back cushions. Most vinyl covers hav...
Dimensions: H 30 in. W 21 in. D 24 in.
Dealer Location: Bainbridge, NY
Materials & Techniques: Steel
Set of Ten Original Harry Bertoia for Knoll Black ...
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Steel
1960s Harry Bertoia for Knoll Set of 10 Indoor Outdoor Black Wire Side Chairs. Enameled Black Wire. Complete with two-piece Black vinyl seat and back cushions. Foam needs replacement. M...
Harry Bertoia Black Wire Side Chair for Knoll
Dimensions: H 30 in. W 21 in. D 24 in.
Dealer Location: Phoenix, AZ
Materials & Techniques: Steel
Harry Bertoia Black Wire Side Chair for Knoll
Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Steel
Black wire side chair by Harry Bertoia for Knoll, circa 1960s. This chair was very well maintained and remained covered in upholstery throughout its life. As such, it is in exceptional ...
Set of six 1960s Harry Bertoia Side Chairs for Knoll with Original Seat Pads
Dimensions: H 30.5 in. W 21 in. D 20 in.
Dealer Location: Sacramento, CA
Materials & Techniques: Metal
Set of six 1960s Harry Bertoia Side Chairs for Kno...
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Metal
Set of six 1960s wire mesh side chairs by Harry Bertoia for Knoll. Chairs have their original seat pads and most have their original slides. Price is for the set.
Bertoia Wire Chair
Dimensions: H 30 in. W 21 in. D 19 in.
Dealer Location: Vancouver, CA
Bertoia Wire Chair
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Bertoia wire chair in original condition. Vintage yellow vinyl upholstery has minor tear. Original tag on bottom.
1970s Harry Bertoia for Knoll Bird Chair with Blue Cover
Dimensions: H 40.25 in. W 38.5 in. D 33 in.
Dealer Location: Richmond, VA
Materials & Techniques: Steel
1970s Harry Bertoia for Knoll Bird Chair with Blue...
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
20th Century American Modern Side Chairs
Steel
Offered is a gorgeous, 1970s Harry Bertoia bird chair for Knoll Inc. Frame is in great condition. Comes with original blue cover, has minor marks/stains on bottom half.
Harry Bertoia Diamond Chair, circa 1965
Dimensions: H 29.53 in. W 33.46 in. D 28.74 in.
Dealer Location: Yalding, GB
Materials & Techniques: Wire
Harry Bertoia Diamond Chair, circa 1965
Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1960s Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Wire
Harry Bertoia diamond chair, circa 1965 A black coated wire diamond chair designed by Harry Bertoia in 1952 this is a mid-1960s example with original vinyl seat cushion Age: 1965 Sty...
Bertoia Side Chairs for Knoll
Dimensions: H 30 in. W 21 in. D 24 in.
Dealer Location: Norwalk, CT
Materials & Techniques: Metal
Bertoia Side Chairs for Knoll
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Metal
Professionally refinished and powder coated in Prismatic Powders "Rockwell Green." New stainless hardware. Original foot glides.
Four Mid-Century Modern Bertoia White Wire Side Chairs
Dimensions: H 30 in. W 21.13 in. D 22 in.
Dealer Location: Topeka, KS
Materials & Techniques: Faux Leather, Wire
Four Mid-Century Modern Bertoia White Wire Side Ch...
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Mid-20th Century Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Faux Leather, Wire
Classic Mid-Century Modern white wire Bertoia side chairs with blue seat pads. They are all in wonderful vintage condition. We haven’t seen any chipping or rust spots to the Rilsan coat...
Dimensions: H 28 in. W 22 in. D 22 in.
Dealer Location: Buffalo, NY
Materials & Techniques: Iron, Rubber
Classic Modernist Wire Bertoia Six Side Chairs Har...
Harry Bertoia
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Iron, Rubber
Classic modernist wire Bertoia six side chairs Harry Bertoia for Knoll. Outdoor coated version.
Four Bertoia Chairs
Dimensions: H 30.5 in. W 20.5 in. D 21.5 in.
Dealer Location: Southampton, NY
Materials & Techniques: Bakelite, Metal
Four Bertoia Chairs
Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Bakelite, Metal
A rare set of four ivory hard shell chairs on steel frames designed by Harry Bertoia for Knoll. Original labels.
Set of Four Original Wire Chairs by Harry Bertoia for Knoll
Dimensions: H 30 in. W 21 in. D 22 in.
Dealer Location: Los Angeles, CA
Materials & Techniques: Metal
Set of Four Original Wire Chairs by Harry Bertoia ...
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1950s American Side Chairs
Metal
Set of four original wire chairs by Harry Bertoia for Knoll. Early 1950s edition, not recent reproductions. Very sturdy and in great vintage condition (not new).
Harry Bertoia for Knoll Shell Chairs
Dimensions: H 30.5 in. W 20.5 in. D 21.5 in.
Dealer Location: Hudson, NY
Materials & Techniques: Fiberglass, Steel
Harry Bertoia for Knoll Shell Chairs
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Fiberglass, Steel
Daffodil hard shell over black steel base. An incredible collection of an iconic design by Harry Bertoia and produced by Knoll in August of 1965. The chairs are tagged and dated. Qty av...
Vintage Harry Bertoia for Knoll Black Side Chair
Dimensions: H 30.5 in. W 17 in. D 18 in.
Dealer Location: Pasadena, TX
Materials & Techniques: PVC, Wire
Vintage Harry Bertoia for Knoll Black Side Chair
Harry Bertoia
Late 20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
PVC, Wire
Original welded black mesh seats by Harry Bertoia for Knoll International. Cushions sold separately. Other colors for cushion available.
Pair Of Harry Bertoia For Knoll Black Side Chairs
Dimensions: H 30.5 in. W 17 in. D 18 in.
Dealer Location: Pasadena, TX
Materials & Techniques: Metal, PVC
Pair Of Harry Bertoia For Knoll Black Side Chairs
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Late 20th Century American Side Chairs
Metal, PVC
A pair of mid century modern side chairs designed by Harry Bertoia and made by Knoll. Welded black mesh seats and backs with black seat pads.