Harry Bertoia Pressure Melt Sculpture

Buyer Protection Guaranteed

About

A unique example of Bertoia's pressure melt technique, wherein metals are heated and subjected to hammer blows to achieve the desired form. This piece is in bronze with a heavy coat of thick carbon material adhered to the surface.

Details

    Dimensions
    5.5 in. H
    14 cm H
  • Diameter
    3
  • Seller Location
    New York, NY
  • Number of Items
    1
  • Reference Number
    f80481602114045123fs

About Harry Bertoia (Artist)

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.

About the Seller

1stdibs seller since 2005

Typical response time: 5 hours

Located in New York, NY

Associations:
  • 20th Century Specialists

More from this Seller

Harry Bertoia Bronze Melt-Pressed Sculpture, USA, 1960s
Harry Bertoia Bronze Melt-Pressed Sculpture, USA, ...
Harry Bertoia
Bronze
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.
Important Harry Bertoia Sculptures from Stemmons Towers, Dallas
Important Harry Bertoia Sculptures from Stemmons T...
Harry Bertoia
Brass, Bronze
This important grouping of Bertoia sculptures were the centerpiece of the Stemmons Towers International sculpture garden in Dallas, Texas.
Harry Bertoia Bronze Bush Form Sculpture, USA 1960s
Harry Bertoia Bronze Bush Form Sculpture, USA 1960...
Harry Bertoia
Bronze
An example of Bertoia's greatly desired Bush form. This medium size form exemplifies the sculpture's mastery of proportional form.
Harry Bertoia Patinated Bronze Gong
Harry Bertoia Patinated Bronze Gong
Harry Bertoia
Bronze
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 appropria...
Harry Bertoia Patinated Bronze Gong
Harry Bertoia Patinated Bronze Gong
Harry Bertoia
Bronze
This gong has an incredible patina and is a smaller scale than the Classic solid bronze gongs he created.
Early Kinetic Sculpture by Harry Bertoia
Early Kinetic Sculpture by Harry Bertoia
Harry Bertoia
Steel
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 Kinetic e...
Harry Bertoia Untitled Bronze Welded Rod Sculpture
Harry Bertoia Untitled Bronze Welded Rod Sculpture...
Harry Bertoia
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 excellent...
Harry Bertoia Early Wire Form Sculpture, Untitled
Harry Bertoia Early Wire Form Sculpture, Untitled
Harry Bertoia
Steel, Wire
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 construction...
Harry Bertoia Patinated Bronze Bush Sculpture, circa 1970
Harry Bertoia Patinated Bronze Bush Sculpture, cir...
Harry Bertoia
An extraordinary example of Bertoi's greatly desired Bush form. It's size and irregular form make this a rare opportunity to acquire an important example of Harry Bertoia's work.
Harry Bertoia Sculpture Screen Commissioned by Florence Knoll, USA 1959
Harry Bertoia Sculpture Screen Commissioned by Flo...
Harry Bertoia
Brass, Steel
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 approxim...
Harry Bertoia Early Stainless Steel "Spray" Sculpture, USA, 1960s
Harry Bertoia Early Stainless Steel "Spray" Sculpt...
Harry Bertoia
Stainless Steel
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 gracefully,...
Welded Steel and Brass Sculpture by Harry Bertoia, USA, 1950s
Welded Steel and Brass Sculpture by Harry Bertoia,...
Harry Bertoia
Steel, Brass
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 example...