Harry BertoiaCatalogue Raisonné

Artwork: Commissions

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About Large-Scale Commissions

Between 1953 and his death in 1978, Bertoia executed more than fifty large-scale commissions. These sculptures, or groups of sculptures, were all made for a specific site or architectural project, often in close collaboration with the architect and/or client. They are distinct from the many domestically-scaled works he made for individuals in their size, complexity, and ambition. Bertoia created these large-scale works for lobbies, office interiors, banking floors, shopping malls, libraries, performing-arts centers, universities, airports, and even one private residence, in cities across the United States as well as Belgium, Germany, and Venezuela. He received more requests than he could handle, usually due to scheduling conflicts, though sometimes he deliberately chose to decline the offer. In addition, several accepted commissions were never realized due to funding issues or bureaucratic conflicts. Bertoia's large-scale commissions became a core aspect of his artistic practice and gave him a high-profile platform to share his work with a broad audience, as well as economic stability and freedom to experiment with new materials, techniques, and sizes. Whereas a small number of studio assistants helped with these commissions, each one was directly fabricated by Bertoia.

A majority of Bertoia's large-scale commissions remain in situ, in the place for which they were conceived. Others have been removed, relocated, or reconfigured since their initial installation. As with most of his work, Bertoia rarely gave titles to the large-scale commissions, although sometimes titles were explicitly requested by the client, or the work became associated with a name or nickname after the fact. Specific materials and dimensions are listed when known, and dates designate when the work was completed or installed, not commissioned. When a close collaboration between the artist and an architect or client is involved, all the relevant names are noted and included as keywords.

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Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
Citation: Harry Bertoia Foundation. "Artwork: Commissions." In Harry Bertoia Catalogue Raisonné. catalogue.harrybertoia.org/catalogue/?section=Commissions (accessed on April 20, 2024).