about Harry Bertoia

HARRY BERTOIA (1915 – 1978)

Harry Bertoia was born in San Lorenzo, Italy on March 10, 1915. With his wire mesh chair “Diamond Chair” Harry Bertoia created a design classic that is known to even the most inexperienced persons. At least everybody has already seen it somewhere sometime.

At the age of 15 Harry Bertoia traveled from Italy to Detroit to visit his brother. Whatever might have happened then – the young Bertoia decided to stay in the USA. First he went to the Cass Technical High School, where he studied art and design. Afterwards he went to different universities until, in 1937, he finally received a scholarship from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. There Harry Bertoia also met Walter Gropius, Edmund N. Bacon, and Ray and Charles Eames.  

Together with Charles Eames, Harry Bertoia worked on the development of his chairs: what they were working on were the still famous Eames designs made of molded plywood. Eames and Harry Bertoia in that way characterized the modern American design.

In 1950 Harry Bertoia received a very tempting offer: in a letter, Hans and Florence Knoll offered Bertoia a studio free of charge close to East Greenville. Finally Harry Bertoia had the freedom to dedicate himself completely to his designs and in the end he could give free rein to his artistic vein. During that time he created a series of furniture that became one of the most famous series of the 20th century:  steel wire mesh furniture by Harry Bertoia in varying forms, colors and designs. Or just exactly what Harry Bertoia produces when he gives full rein to his artistic development   

Today, classics by Harry Bertoia can be seen all over the world as they are part of all major exhibitions and Harry Bertoia is considered to be one of the most influential and also greatest designers of modern design.

Harry Bertoia died in Barto, Pennsylvania on November 6, 1978.