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Harry Bertoia


The Knoll International historian Brian Lutz once stated that Harry Bertoia's paintings were better than his sculptures. And his sculptures better than his furniture. And his furniture is absolutely brilliant. Born in Italy in 1915 furniture designer and artist Harry Bertoia studied jewellery making at the Detroit Technical High School, moving onto the Detroit School of Arts and Crafts before in 1938 he received a scholarship to the Cranbrook Academy of Art where he opened his own workshop and taught metalwork and jewellery design. In 1946 Bertoia moved to California to help fellow Cranbrook graduate Charles Eames develop his plywood bending techniques; Bertoia's support was therefore crucial for the legendary Eames Chairs. Through his contact with Florence Knoll, also a Cranbrook graduate, Harry Bertoia began to work for Hans Knoll and in 1952 developed his legendary collection of steel wire furniture including the Diamond Chair and the Bertoia chair - one of the biggest innovations in 20th century furniture design. Following the success of this collection Betroia focused mainly on his sculpture work, including his sound sculptures, with whihc he produced several LPs.


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5 New Design Exhibitions for May 2016

...The Jewelry of Harry Bertoia" and "Atmosphere for Enjoyment... Harry Bertoia's Environment for Sound" at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York City, New York, USA Although arguably best known for his furniture design work Harry Bertoia wasn't a furniture designer: he was an artist and metalsmith for whom furniture design was but one expression of his creativity...

smow blog 2015. A pictorial review: March

...Did however mean we managed to pen a little more than in previous Marches, including a birthday tribute to Harry Bertoia and interviews with Izabela Boloz and Marcel Kabisch from Erzgebirge producer Feinserie...

smow blog Design Calendar: March 10th 1915 – Happy Birthday Harry Bertoia!

..." So described a 21 year old, and apparently extremely self-confident, Harry Bertoia himself on his application for Cranbrook Academy of Art... That the boast was anything other than hollow is something Harry Bertoia was to go on to prove...

Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979 at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt am Main

...They, for example, only published one full length piece that dealt directly with contemporary American furniture design; the July 1961 article "Designs for Living" from John Anderson, and which was accompanied by a double page photo of George Nelson, Charles Eames, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia and Jens Risom each sitting on/standing next to an example of their craft...


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