Artist: Harry Bertoia
Title: Harry Bertoia's Melt-Formed Tree
Medium: Hand Blown Glass
Size: 9 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 4"
Year: Circa 1970s
Documentation: Includes Original Certificate of Authenticity issued by Val Bertoia/Bertoia Studios
A master metalworker, Harry Bertoria was a master of many mediums ranging from furniture and jewelry to fine art. His innovative sculptures pioneered new ideas in composition and execution. Produced in the 1970s, Bertoia’s "Melt-Formed Tree" was created from melting down Beryllium-copper rods. The process was extremely cumbersum and time-intensive; the rods were welded one at a time and bent into place individually to create the intended shape. With everything he did, Bertoia was passionate about form and obsessive with precision.
Harry Bertoia's Melt-Formed Tree includes the original certificate of authentictiy issued by Val Bertoia/Bertoia Studios.
About Harry Bertoia
Harry Bertoia is a metalworking artist famous for his post-war, mid-century modern aesthetic. Throughout his career, he worked in the fields of furniture, jewelry, sculpture, and two-dimensional art.
Born in Italy in 1915, he demonstrated an incredible artistic ability at a young age. In 1930, he moved to the United States in an attempt to pursue his artistic dreams. He attended a series of schools before earning a scholarship to the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1937, where he was introduced to notable contemporaries Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen and Florence Knoll. In 1939, Cranbrook asked him to re-open the metal shop. Severely limited in resources due to the war effort at the time, Bertoia focused on jewelry since it cold be produced with limited materials. While at Cranbrook, he also began work as a printmaker, selling 100 of his works to the to The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Non-Objective Paintings. During this time, he was also introduced to notable artists Joan Miró and Wassily Kandinsky.
During the Second World Ward, Harry Bertoia worked to create airplane parts where he would learn to weld and explore the field of ergonomics which would both go on to profoundly influence the rest of his life’s work. During this time, he continued work on his monopritns and began to create his metalwork sculptures. In 1950, he moved to Pennsylvania to work alongside Florence Knoll designing furniture.
During his career, Harry Bertoia created more than 50 commissioned public sculptures. Today, his work is exhibited in more than 15 museums including the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas. He passed away in 1978.