Italian-born American artist Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) was one of the most prolific, innovative artists of the post-war period. Trained at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he met future colleagues and collaborators Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, and Eero Saarinen, he went on to make one-of-a kind jewellery, design iconic chairs, create thousands of unique sculptures including large-scale commissions for significant buildings, and advance the use of sound as sculptural material. His work speaks to the confluence of numerous fields of endeavour, but is united throughout by a sculptural approach to making and an experimental embrace of metal.
Harry Bertoia: Sculpting Mid-Century Modern Life accompanies the first U.S. museum retrospective of the artist's career to examine the full scope of his broad, interdisciplinary practice, and feature important examples of his furniture, jewellery, monotypes, and diverse sculptural output. Lavishly illustrated, the book offers new scholarly essays as well as a catalogue of the artists numerous large-scale commissions. It questions how and why we distinguish between a chair, a necklace, a screen, and a freestanding sculpture and what Bertoia's sculptural things, when taken together, say about the fluidity of visual language across culture, both at mid-century and now.