Bertoia Studio originated in Bally, PA by artist and designer, Harry Bertoia in the 1950's after traveling with his family from California to PA to design a chair for Knoll, Inc. Harry Bertoia continued his lifetime work in Bertoia Studio from the 1950s until 1978 creating Sculpture, Jewelry, Furniture, Monoprints and Sonambient (a registered trademark and the name by which his Sound Sculptures are known).
Harry Bertoia's work is world-known. There are several large-scale commissioned sculpture works throughout the world. Harry Bertoia worked emphatically on a enormous contribution to both humanity and art. Find information about him by visiting the website www.bertoiaharry.com.
In the 1980's his only son, Val Bertoia, a mechanical engineer, artist and designer, took over the business with the instruction and guidance offered to him by his father, with whom he worked for the last six years of his career.
Val Bertoia manages Bertoia Studio today and works alongside Dave Plum and Melissa Strawser. Val continues to consult, repair and act as the authority over his father's works, as well as working on his own projects. Melissa Strawser has worked with Val since 1998, as an independent artist and international assistant on several Bertoia projects. Learn more about Melissa through her website: www.melissastrawser.com
The Estate of Harry Bertoia is handled by Val, Lesta and Celia Bertoia, the children of Harry Bertoia and Brigitta Valentiner Bertoia. Lesta Bertoia is a well-established artist and writer, following a combined creativity of her very own. She exhibits samples of her work in Bertoia Studio. Information about Lesta can be found by visiting her website steppingstones.to
Having moved to Detroit from Udine, Italy, at the age of 15, Harry Bertoia was well versed in both Italy’s distinguished art tradition and the booming industrial design of the Motor City. Foremost a metalworker, Bertoia merged his love of the craft with furniture design, first collaborating with Charles Eames on a basket-inspired metal wire chair and then designing his own steel latticed 420 and Diamond chairs for Knoll. From Design within Reach, www.dwr.com, Bob Forbes, founder.
From The World of Bertoia
Nancy N. Schiffer and Val O. Bertoia
Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2003
Sculptor, architectural designer, graphics, artist, jewelry maker; and chair inventor Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) and his son Val (1949-), also an inventor and sculptor, have built a unique world of considerable beauty and deeply held perceptions that significantly contributed to breaking down traditional notions of what art is. The Bertoia name is highly respected among mid-20 th century artists.
After a distinguished foundation formed as a student and faculty member at Michigan’s renowned Cranbrook Academy of Art, Harry Bertoia developed his originality and highly skilled craftsmanship with uncanny consistency throughout his career. Sculpting almost exclusively with metal, Harry Bertoia explored the relationships of space, color, and sound in unique and highly sophisticated works. His work evolved from thousands of abstract graphic designs created throughout his career to three-dimensional forms, many commissioned for major institutions by the leading architects. His famous Bertoia chair, manufactured by Knoll Associates, is known to many;his commissioned works are landmarks in many cities worldwide.
Together, father and son made hundreds of unique sounding sculptures, recordings of their melodious and powerful sounds, and were granted a registered trademark Sonambient for the sound environment within their renovated Pennsylvania stone barn. The diversity, yet continuity, of their work awes and inspires all who open their minds, eyes, and ears to new ways of perceiving natural beauty.
From the Marshall University Art Gallery Catalog, 1977: Each sounding piece is an individual and their sounds run an equally wide gamut, ranging from faint and delicate, harp-like tones to the awful power and majesty of medieval church bells; from the soft rustle of dried grasses to the clatter of ice-laden limbs knocking together in a winter wind. One seems to take on shapes; it contains space as well as other sounds. Another may drift or evaporate while across the room a sound is pendant, caught in midair and immutable.
From 1972-1978, Val created wind-driven kinetic sculptures and was granted a U.S. patent for a windmill system to generate electricity.