2015 marks the centennial celebration of the world-renowned sculptor and designer Harry Bertoia. Bertoia was a complete and gifted artist. Knoll historian Brian Lutz said, “Bertoia’s paintings were better than his sculptures. And his sculptures were better than his furniture. And his furniture was absolutely brilliant.”
Bertoia was born in Italy, in 1915. When he was fifteen he moved with his family to Canada and then on to Michigan. In 1939 he was awarded a scholarship to the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. He began to teach there, establishing a workshop for metalwork and jewelry making.
In the 1940s Harry Bertoia concentrated entirely on furniture making and 1950 was the beginning of Bertoia’s collaboration with Florence and Hans Knoll, whose acquaintance he had made at Cranbrook Academy. Harry Bertoia’s first chair design for Knoll, the Model 420 Diamond Chair, featuring molded mesh of chromium-plated steel wire, was an immediate best seller.
Bertoia spent the next 25 years of his life experimenting with light, sound and volume through sculptures, paintings and architectural installations.
Bertoia’s Sonambient Sculptures, which structurally emulate the forms of wheat fields, willow trees, dandelions, and cattails, attest to his life-long appreciation of music (he counted Vivaldi and Mozart among his favorite composers).
Today Knoll carries on Harry Bertoia’s legacy of innovation, inspiration, and beauty with the Bertoia collection, which has been in continuous production around the world since its introduction.
Celebrate 100 years of Harry Bertoia and his enduring legacy at GRShop.com
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