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Harry Bertoia


Harry Bertoia (March 10, 1915 – November 1978), was an Italian-born American artist, sound art sculptor, and modern furniture designer.

Bertoia was born in San Lorenzo, Pordenone, Italy. At the age of 15, given the opportunity to move to Detroit, Harry chose to adventure to America and live with his older brother, Oreste. After learning English and the bus schedule, he enrolled in Cass Technical High School, where he studied art and design and learned the skill of handmade jewelry making ca.1930-1936. At that time, there were three jewelry and metals teachers Louise Green, Mary Davis, and Greta Pack. In 1936 he attended the Art School of the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, now known as the College for Creative Studies. The following year in 1937 he received a scholarship to study at the Cranbrook Academy of Art where he encountered Walter Gropius, Edmund N. Bacon, Ray and Charles Eames, and Florence Knoll for the first time.

In 2019, the Harry Bertoia Foundation launched a catalogue raisonné project, which seeks to document and research the diverse and extensive artistic practice of the artist. The goal is to provide a comprehensive record and resource of Bertoia's work, and will include his painting, graphics (including monotypes), furniture, jewelry, metalwork, sound recordings, and sculpture. An ongoing project, the Harry Bertoia Catalogue Raisonné will be available online, published in stages, and regularly updated to reflect ongoing research. It will be accessible to scholars, educators, collectors, arts professionals, and any member of the public wishing to gain a deeper understanding of Bertoia's work. In 2022, the Nasher Sculpture Center's exhibition titled Harry Bertoia: Sculpting Mid-Century Modern Life became the first US museum retrospective of the artist's career in almost 50 years and the first to examine the full scope of Bertoia's broad and varied artistic practice.

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