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Harry Bertoia was one of the great cross-disciplinarians of 20th-century art and design and a central figure in American modernism. Bertoia’s metal sculptures are by turns expressive and austere, powerful and subtle, intimate in scale and monumental. Born in northeastern Italy, Bertoia immigrated to the United States at age 15, joining an older brother in Detroit. He studied drawing and metalworking in the gifted student program at Cass Technical High School. Recognition led to awards that culminated, in 1937, in a teaching scholarship to attend the Cranbrook Academy of Art in suburban Bloomfield Hills, one of the great crucibles of modernism in America. There, Bertoia made friendships — with architect Eero Saarinen, designers Charles and Ray Eames and Florence Schust Knoll and others — that shaped the course of his life. He taught metalworking at Cranbrook, and when materials rationing during World War II limited the availability of metals, Bertoia focused on jewelry design.  His chairs became, and remain, perennial bestsellers. By the early 1950s Bertoia was receiving commissions for large-scale works from architects.
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