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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Pair of Smaller Black Wire Bertoia Children's Chairs with Yellow Fabric by Knoll

By Harry Bertoia, Knoll International
Pair of Smaller Black Wire Bertoia Children's Chai...
Harry Bertoia, Knoll International
Vintage 1980s Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Pair of black metal Bertoia childs chairs with yellow the original Naugahyde pillows. This pair is smaller than most of the children's chairs available. $125 flat rate front door del...
Set of Four Original Harry Bertoia for Knoll Black...
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Steel
1950s-1960s, set of four original vintage Harry Bertoia for Knoll indoor outdoor black wire side chairs with two-piece seat cushions. Featuring enameled black wire frame with two-piece ...
Mid-Century Modern Diamond Chair by Harry Bertoia ...
Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Metal, Coating
Original diamond chair by Harry Bertoia for Knoll International. Coated metal diamond shell with black metal frame. The coating was originally white but has faded and darkened over the ...
Chrome Children's Bertoia Side Chair with White Seat Cushion by Knoll, Pair

By Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Chrome Children's Bertoia Side Chair with White Se...
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Steel, Chrome
Pair of chrome children's Bertoia side chair with white seat cushion by Knoll.
Five Iconic Harry Bertoia White Powder Coated Side Chairs Stamped Knoll

By Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Five Iconic Harry Bertoia White Powder Coated Side...
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
21st Century and Contemporary American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Steel
The Bertoia side chair is an icon of Mid-Century Modern design. Bertoia found sublime grace in an Industrial material, creating a design that works with every decor, in every room. Pric...
Pair of Harry Bertoia for Knoll Blue Fiberglass Side Chairs Black Wire Base

By Harry Bertoia, Knoll Associates Inc.
Pair of Harry Bertoia for Knoll Blue Fiberglass Si...
Harry Bertoia, Knoll Associates Inc.
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Steel, Fiberglass
Handsome pair of Knoll Associates hard shell fiberglass side chairs by Harry Bertoia. These two are royal blue with a black wire base and retain their original tags. They are over-all i...
Bertoia Diamond Chairs with Black Wool Pads by Knoll

By Harry Bertoia
Bertoia Diamond Chairs with Black Wool Pads by Kno...
Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Stainless Steel, Wool
Harry Bertoia diamond chair with black wool pad manufactured by Knoll. Stainless steel and welded steel rod construction. Two chairs available. Price is per chair. Measure: Seat height ...
Bertoia Diamond Chair by Knoll International

By Harry Bertoia
Bertoia Diamond Chair by Knoll International
Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Stainless Steel
1972 Harry Bertoia diamond chair by Knoll International. Excellent condition. Original pad retained if desired to use as template to make new pad. Measures: Seat height is 14 inches.
Harry Bertoia Black Wire Side Chair for Knoll

By Harry Bertoia
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 ...
Bertoia Wire Chair

By Knoll, Harry Bertoia
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

By Knoll, Harry Bertoia
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.
Bertoia Side Chairs for Knoll

By Knoll, Harry Bertoia
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.
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

By Harry Bertoia
Four Bertoia Chairs
Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Metal, Bakelite
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

By Knoll, Harry Bertoia
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

By Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Harry Bertoia for Knoll Shell Chairs
Knoll, Harry Bertoia
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Steel, Fiberglass
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

By Harry Bertoia
Vintage Harry Bertoia for Knoll Black Side Chair
Harry Bertoia
Late 20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Wire, PVC
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

By Knoll, Harry Bertoia
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.