Harry Bertoia Works
Preface By Tony Seraphin
I first met Harry in 1972, when I approached him about showing some of his sculpture in my gallery. I was taken aback by his gentleness and that wonderful smile that teachers have with
young students. Over the next few years my wife and I would go out to his studio in Bally to see new works, but best of all to the stone farm house in the woods he shared with Brigitta.
Those are memories I will always cherish, sitting in the living room viewing snow on the ground through the window and a fire blazing with ten people all talking about art, politics and other subjects that kept us there until 2:00am. I knew Harry was an important artist, but he was also a great humanitarian, he loved people, even young people like myself who didn't grasp the entire statements he made about art. He just enjoyed being with people who loved art.
I only had one show with Harry in 1973. I realized early that his tonals touched all the basic senses, unlike static sculpture. Harry's austere works could transform a gallery into a music hall and everyone was a composer. However, on the walls were his mysterious lyrical colorful drawings, or mono-prints, and they told much more about Harry's inner thoughts and feelings over forty years. Each was unique, gentle, and at times reminded the viewer of being under the sea in a magical land of fantasy. Harry many times did these drawings late at night in another studio behind his home. One can imagine the stillness of the night and Harry releasing his thoughts through the flow of his hand across the paper. It is these four decades of delicate drawings that I feel will become precious objects in world class collections and it will be these drawings that take a person into the world of Harry Bertoia.
Bertoia was born in San Lorenzo d'Arzene, Pordenone, Italy. At age 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.
The published book includes NY critic Donald Kuspit’s 4-page critique https://www.amazon.com/Harry-Bertoia-Four-Decades-Drawings/dp/0982597819
Harry Bertoia: Four Decades of Drawing 120 Page, Fully Illustrated Catalogue Essays by Donald Kuspit and Anne Fabbri Biography by Celia Bertoia
1915 - 1978
Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia, PA