Harry Bertoia - Design New York Tuesday, June 8, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Nancy N. Schiffer and Val O. Bertoia, The World of Bertoia, Atglen, 2003, p. 126

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the spring of 1957, designer and sculptor Harry Bertoia travelled through Italy on a grant from the Graham Foundation, “bathing in all kinds of new beauties…the works of the Etruscans, some Greek temples and marbles.” ¹ Energized, he returned to his studio in Bally, Pennsylvania with a fresh approach. “All this began to make me feel that something should start from the center and should express its joy and energy by radiating outward.” Prior to his trip, Bertoia often built his sculptures from linear elements and rectangles arranged like screens. Shortly after his return from Italy, he conceived his “Dandelion” series, a radical departure from those earlier planar works. As the present lot demonstrates, his earliest “Dandelions” were literal representations of flowers, their heads bearing articulated seeds. Later “Dandelions”, like those commissioned for the Eastman Kodak Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in 1964, lost their parachutes, became denser and more abstract. Sometimes known as “Sunbursts”, these later sculptures, when viewed with the present lot, attest to Bertoia’s enthusiastic embrace of all things great and small, from cosmic rays down to the daily details of the backyard.
    ¹All citations: Nancy N. Schiffer & Val O. Bertoia, “The World of Bertoia,” Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, PA, 2003.


Important early “Dandelion” sculpture

ca. 1958
Chrome-plated tubular steel, marble, bronze, metal rods.
83 in. (210.8 cm.) high.
Together with a certificate of authenticity from Val Bertoia confirming this is the first example of the "Dandelion" series to be produced.

$130,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $146,500


9 June 2010
New York