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Val Bertoia Corner Sound Sculpture, 2008


Contemporary artist Val Bertoia's "Corner Sound Sculpture" is part of the Bertoia Sonambient series. It's made of 11 copper tops silvered to monel rods then silvered to a brass base. This 2008 piece is inscribed B-1524 on the side of base and is sold with a Title of Authentication from Bertoia Studio. Additional pieces of Val Bertoia sculpture available through Highland Park, please contact the dealer for more information. In the early 1970's Designer and Sculptor Harry Bertoia and his son Val, made hundreds of sound sculptures. These sculptures represent Harry Bertoia's formation of Sonambient. Sonambient was Bertoia's term to describe the spatial and tonal environment created by these sound sculptures. Harry Bertoia created these sculptures of different shapes, length and thickness in order to achieve a range of gentle and sharp sounds. He experimented as a way to seek harmonic balance with the metal, resulting in pure, unique tones. When touched, struck or brushed, these sculptures became abstractions of sound as they sway and knock against one another. The sounds are organic and mysterious, as tones resonate and flow into each other. The completed Sonambient also consists of gongs and suspended sonic-bars. Val Bertoia, son of artist Harry Bertoia, was born in Santa Monica, California in 1949. In 1950, Harry moved his family to Pennsylvania, to establish a studio, and to work with Hans and Florence Knoll. Val grew up there and went on to study Mechanical Engineering at Indiana Institute of Technology in Ft. Wayne, Indiana in the 1960s. In the 1970s, Val worked with his father, Harry, in making and installing large-scale sculptures for architects worldwide. And by 1979, Val continued the sculpture-business of his father's legacy. Provenance: Acquired directly from Val Bertoia.   


  • Condition
    Excellent. Bertoia Studios crate included with purchase for transporting sculpture..
  • Dimensions

    H 61 in. x W 15.5 in. x D 9 in.

    H 154.94 cm x W 39.37 cm x D 22.86 cm

  • Seller location
    New York, NY
  • Seller reference number
    Highland Park Item #VB003
  • Item location

    1stdibs Gallery at 200 LEX

    200 Lexington Avenue

    New York, NY 10016

  • Reference number

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About Harry Bertoia (Designer)

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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