We have long loved the work of Harry Bertoia, the Italian-born
sculptor and furniture designer. His
bronze, copper , steel and glass, combine delicacy with a
strangely satisfying earthiness so that the sculptures of
brushlike tentacles, or squares of copper and bronze delicately
attached to thin metal wires, seem rooted and solid, all with
their own eccentric beauty.
Bertoia attended the Cranbrook
Academy of Art where he met Gropius as well as Charles and Ray
Eames. He later worked with the Eameses as well as on molded plywood and
furniture but left when he felt he was not
receiving enough credit for his contributions.
Bertoia came into his
own with the Bertoia Seating collection for Knoll (he had also met
Florence Knoll at Cranbrook) and is probably most renowned for his
iconic Diamond Lounge Chair--an architectural and sculptural form
of bent metal wires that are both delicate and strong. As Bertoia
said, "Space passes through them," and the wire mesh,
with its connotations of freedom--this chair with it's undulating
permeable surface, was what gave Bertoia his own freedom--its
commercial success in the 50's let him work on his sculptures.
Bertoia spent his later years on a series of
pieces, what he called his Sonambient' sculptures--where
material and form were so structured that they responded and
resonated to nature.
Diamond Lounge Chair remains the
cornerstone of his work--itself a sculpture, light as air.
World of Bertoia, Nancy Schiffer
Diamond Lounge Chair