Harry Bertoia - Design Masters New York Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Collection of the artist; Kaare Berntsen Gallery, Oslo, Norway; Private Collection, Norway

  • Exhibited

    “Harry Bertoia høvikodden,” Kaare Berntsen Gallery, Oslo, June 16– August 14, 1977
    literature Kaare Berntsen Jr., Harry Bertoia høvikodden, Oslo, 1977, illustrated
    p. 19; Nancy N. Schiffer and Val O. Bertoia, The World of Bertoia, Atglen, 2003,
    illustrated p. 117

  • Literature

    Kaare Berntsen Jr., Harry Bertoia høvikodden, Oslo, 1977, illustrated p. 19; Nancy N. Schiffer and Val O. Bertoia, The World of Bertoia, Atglen, 2003, illustrated p. 117

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Take wire. Add poetry,” stated a 1950s Knoll advertisement for Harry bertoia’s chairs, among that firm’s most popular offerings. Designer, sculptor, graphic artist, jewelry maker, bertoia fit the definition of a polymath. born into a family of music lovers (his father worked in the theatre, his brother composed), bertoia from an early age devoted himself to art: he drew accomplished portraits at eleven; at fifteen he enrolled in drafting classes in San Lorenzo, his birthplace in northern Italy. Years later, on an application to the renowned Cranbrook Academy, bertoia wrote: “I can use any tool or machinery with dexterity.” Although a painting major, he refused to confine himself to canvas. After the 1950s, bertoia never returned to furniture production but concentrated instead on unique abstract constructions in steel, brass, bronze, copper, and nickel alloys. for the next quarter century he welded, cast and bundled a menagerie of forms including screens, panels, flowers, cones, spills, and bushes. Abstracted from their legs, the seats of his chairs now read as early sculptural experiments. Although fundamental to his output, they represent a stopover in his “long quest to seek and sometimes find a form, a structure, a sound or a way.” That statement affirms bertoia’s earnest desire for grand truths. by the late 1950s, outward from the closed geometry of his chairs and dense panels, bertoia opened his forms in air: bundled wires twisted out like fans or ‘wept’ as willows; thin lines of copper rods danced and rang; brazed copper and bronze branches flourished, as with the present sculpture. bertoia stated in a 1958 interview, “The virility of sculpture…lies in its possibility for growth.”
    All citations: Nancy N. Schiffer and Val O. bertoia, The World of Bertoia, Atglen, 2003

44

Important unique monumental “Bush” form

1966-1968
Welded patinated bronze and copper.
75 x 30 x 25 in. (190.5 x 76.2 x 63.5 cm.)

Estimate
$225,000 - 250,000 

Sold for $266,500

Design Masters

15 December 2010
New York