"This is the coolest windchime I’ve ever seen."
-Mike Peters

Public Works

Harry Bertoia for the Public

Bertoia won numerous architectural and artistic awards for public sculptures throughout his career, despite the fact that they held little importance to him (he felt that titles or pieces of paper were insignificant).

  • Architectural League of New York gold medal
  • Craftsmanship Medal of the American Institute of Architects
  • Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts in Chicago
  • Craftsmanship Medal of the American Institute of Design
  • Fine Arts Medal from the Pennsylvania Association of the American Institute of Architects
  • Excellence in Sculpture prize at the Philadelphia Arts Festival
  • Honorary Degree in Fine Arts from Muhlenberg College in Allentown
  • Fine Arts Medal of the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco
  • Institute Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Honorary Degree in Letters from Lehigh University, Bethlehem
  • Posthumous Hazlett Memorial Award for Excellence in the Arts in Pennsylvania, accepted by Brigitta Bertoia

Bertoia completed over 50 Public Works throughout the country and in several other countries as well. Eero Saarinen gave Bertoia his first chance to create sculpture on a bigger scale, hiring him for the General Motors Technical Center job in 1953. The 36’ long metal screen was challenging in both practical and logistical senses, but launched the sculptor on a consistent path of largely successful pieces.

The Dallas Public Library screen of alternating metal rectangles was ultimately a well-loved piece but had an inauspicious birth. Once installed in the library by Bertoia himself, the mayor commented, “It looks to me like a bunch of junk painted up. Besides, it’s a cheap welding job.” There was discussion of not paying the bill, of removing it, of installing a painted mural or of simply buying more books instead. It was actually taken down while the library commission decided what to do. In the meantime, a wealthy bank owner offered to purchase the piece for his Dallas bank. Finally, after much media babble, the public came to the rescue, making donations to bring the metal screen back into the library. It ultimately became one of the biggest marketing hits that the library ever accomplished and still stands there today.

It is said that architects were always pleased to work with Bertoia, as was he with them. Bertoia built a reputation of being on time, and listening to and understanding the needs of the venture. Upon inspecting a possible external sculpture site at St John’s Unitarian Church in Cincinnati with one of the architects on a cloudy November day, Bertoia walked around, pondered and spoke. “You do not need a sculpture here. This tree will cast a shadow on that wall that is art enough.” Stepping inside where the construction was only at the framing stage, again Bertoia examined the space and mulled it over. “Here – we will put it here by this wall. I think I know what to do.” With that statement everyone felt relieved that the artist would succeed, which he did in magnificent style.

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The American Institute of Architects medal was awarded, I think, for a specific participation but I don’t recall which one it was. I really don’t pay much attention to these awards, they come and they go. I completely forgot.
- Harry Bertoia

1953

Harry Bertoia Public Works

General Motors Technical Center
Warren, MI
Architect: Eero Saarinen

1954

Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co, now Joe Fresh Clothing
70’ panel removed, then replaced, along with “cloud” hanging sculpture (2 pieces)
5th Avenue, New York City, NY
Architect: George Bunshaft and R. Allen of Studio Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

  Harry Bertoia Public Works

Cincinnati Public Library
Cincinnati, OH
Architect: Garber & Associates

1955

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Chapel
Cambridge, MA
A rchitect: Eero Saarinen

 

Dallas Public Library
Dallas, TX
A rchitect: George L Dahl

 

Lambert Airport
St Louis, MO
Architect: Hellmuth, Minoru Yamasaki & Leinweber (subsequently removed – model displayed at St. Louis Art Museum)

1956

Dayton Department Store, now Macy's
Placed in central courtyard
Edina, MN
A rchitect: Victor Gruen Associates (Herman Guttman)

 

US Department of State Consular Housing
Bremen, Germany
Architect: G Bunshaft of Studio Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

 

US Department of State for American Consulate
Dusseldorf, Germany
A rchitect: G Bunshaft of Studio Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

1957

First National Bank
Tulsa, OK
A rchitect: McCune & McCune Associates (sculpture moved to downtown plaza)

1958

Yale University
Hew Haven, CT
Architect: G Bunshaft of Studio Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

 

World Fair US Pavilion
Brussels, Belgium
Displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
Architect: Edward D. Stone

1959

Zenith Radio Corporation
Chicago, IL (donated to and displayed at Smithsonian American Art Museum)

 

First National Bank
Sold to private party.
Miami, FL
Architect: Florence Knoll

1961

Denver Hilton Hotel, now the Sheraton
Sold at unknown date, no longer displayed
Denver, CO
Architect: I. M. Pei (hanging dandelion)

 

Denver Hilton Hotel, now the Sheraton
Sold at unknown date, no longer displayed
Denver, CO
Architect: I. M. Pei (double tree)

 

St. John’s Unitarian Church
Cincinnati, OH
Architects: John Garber, Tweddell & Wheeler Assoc.

 

Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Tall tonal sold, but smaller 1953 bronze grid plus large 1961 metal screen are displayed
Buffalo, NY
Architect: G Bunshaft of Studio Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

 

Eastman Kodak Company
Now at Rochester Institute of Technology, donated by Kodak in 1975
Dandelion, wall sunburst, and bronze planter – 3 very fine pieces
Rochester, NY

 

Chi Omega Sorority, now at Huntingdon Beard Crouse Hall
Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY

1962

Bankers Trust Company, sold to Istithmar World of Dubai
No longer displayed
New York, NY
Architect: H Dreyfuss, Dreyfuss & Associates

1963

Dulles International Airport FAA Building
Re-installed 2012 after airport upgrade,
Chantilly, VA
Architect: Eero Saarinen (died suddenly) and Kevin Roche

 

Perpetual Savings and Loan Association, now Milton Abrahams branch of Omaha Public Library
Now inside
Los Angeles, CA
Architect: Edward D. Stone (now displayed in Omaha Public Library)

1964

Eastman Kodak Pavilion World’s Fair
New York, NY
7 dandelions (gifted to Rochester I.T.)

 

W Hawkins Ferry
Grosse Pointe Shores, MI
Architect: Meathe, Kessler & Associates

 

Stemmons Towers International Sculpture Garden
Dallas, TX
Organized by Trammel Crow
All sculptures sold to private parties

 

Golden West Savings Association, now Wells Fargo
Whereabouts unknown
Castro Valley, CA
Architect: M L Gaidano

 

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ
Architect: Minoru Yamasaki

 

Northwestern National Life Insurance Company
Minneapolis, MN
A rchitect: Minoru Yamasaki

1965

Cuyahoga Savings Association,
Sold to private party, no longer publicly displayed
Cleveland, OH
Architect: Lawrence & Associates

   

Southwestern Bell (now AT&T)
No Photo Available, Whereabouts unknown
Greenway Plaza
Houston, TX

1966

River Oaks Shopping Center
Calumet City, IL
A rchitect: Leobl, Schlossmann, Bennet & Dart Ass.

1967

GSA Federal Court Building
Brooklyn, New York
Architect: Carson, Lundin & Shaw
Currently in storage in GSA building

 

Philadelphia Civic Center
Currently in storage, buildings torn down
Philadelphia, PA
Architect: E D Stone, Davis, Pool & Sloan Associates

 

Whiting Auditorium
Flint, MI

1968

Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, NY
Architect: Roche & Dinkeloo

 

Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company
Buffalo, NY
Architect: Minoru Yamasaki

 

Seattle First National Bank
Seattle, WA
Architect: Naramore, Bain, Brady & Johansen

1970

Genesee Valley Shopping Center
Flint, MI

1971

Lake Clifton Senior High School
Baltimore, MD

1972

Marshall University memorial for football team
Huntington, WV
Architect: Keith Dean

1974

Edith Abbott Memorial Library
Grand Island, NE

 

National Bank of Boyertown
Boyertown, PA
Displayed at Reading Area Community College since 2005

 

A Price Woodard Memorial
Wichita, KS

 

Standard Oil Plaza (now the Aon Center)
6 pieces remain at the Aon Center, 5 sold in 2013
Chicago, IL
Architect: E Durrell Stone

1975

Music Speech and Theatre Arts Building
University of Akron
Akron, OH
Architect: Thomas Zung

 

Annenberg Center
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

   

Swann Oil, Inc.
Bala-Cynwyd, PA
Declared bankruptcy 1984, sculpture whereabouts unknown

1976

Colorado National Bank
Denver, CO
Sold to private party

 

Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Airport (Lehigh Valley Airport)
Removed 2010, Now in storage (Ask to have it displayed!)
Allentown, PA

 

US Embassy
Oslo, NORWAY
Architect: Eero Saarinen

 

Sun Oil Company Headquarters
Radnor, PA

 

Bowling Green State University, Alumni Center
Moved to School of Arts courtyard, model in library archives
Bowling Green, OH
Architect: T Zung

1977

Sentry Insurance Company World Headquarters
Stevens Point, WI

1978

Federal Reserve Bank
Richmond, VA

1979

Glenville Public Library
Glenville, OH
Architect: Thomas Zung
NOTE: This piece was designed and begun by Harry, but completed by his son Val Bertoia.