Harry Bertoia, Untitled
Harry Bertoia was born Arieto Bertoia in San Lorenzo, Italy. He received a scholarship to attend the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan -an amazing melting pot of creativity that attracted famous artists and designers including sculptor Carl Milles, ceramist Maija Grotell, and Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius. In 1960, Bertoia started exploring the tonal or sounding sculptures for which he is most recognized. Though many metals are used for the rods -which vary from a few inches to over twenty feet tall -the most common is beryllium copper, known for its wide range of color variation. Some rods are capped with cylinders or drops of metal to accentuate their swaying. Bertoia and his brother loved music and spent hours finding new sounds to incorporate into Sonambient, the auditory and visual environment created by the sounding sculptures.
Bertoia recorded eleven albums of the haunting sounds of Sonambient during his lifetime. His works are in the permanent collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museumof Modern Art, New York.
Listen to Pamela Birmingham, Woodmere's Curator of Education, explain why this piece is so unique.