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Oral history interview with Harry Bertoia, 1972 June 20

Bertoia, Harry, 1915-1978

Metal-worker, Designer, Sculptor, Furniture designer


Collection Information

Size: 33 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded 2 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 1 min.

Summary: An interview of Harry Bertoia conducted 1972 June 20, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art. Bertoia speaks of his childhood in San Lorenzo, Italy; his family; his art education at Cass Technical School, the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit, and Cranbrook Academy; his early metal work and woodcuts; defense work with Charles Eames in Venice, California; development of Eames' prize-winning plywood chair; his chair designs for Knoll International; exhibitions of his sculpture; his experiments with sound and with "sonambient" sculpture; and techniques and materials. Bertoia also discusses his commissioned works for Manufacturer's Trust, General Motors, and Dulles Airport. He recalls John Carroll, Carl Milles, Eero Saarinen, Sarkis Sarkisian, and others.

Biographical/Historical Note

Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) was a sculptor and furniture designer.


This interview is part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.

Language Note

English .

How to Use This Collection

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Harry Bertoia, 1972 June 20. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.