HARRY BERTOIA 1915 – 2015

Harry Bertoia Centennial Celebrations in Italy (Pordenone and San Lorenzo d’Arzene, from February, 7 to March 29, 2015)

The Amici di Harry Bertoia are proud to inform about the forthcoming Harry Bertoia Centennial Celebrations in his homeland:


Pordenone, Harry Bertoia Gallery
San Lorenzo d’Arzene, Natal Home of Harry Bertoia
7 February- 29 March 2015


One hundred years ago on March 10, 1915 Harry Bertoia was born in San Lorenzo di Arzene (Italy). He left his birthplace at age 15 to follow his American Dream with a cardboard suitcase. It is his homeland of Friuli which now remembers and marks this significant centennial.

The municipalities of Pordenone and Valvasone Arzene, together with the Pro Loco di San Lorenzo are organizing an exhibition, curated by the Amici di Harry Bertoia, to be held in two locations: the Harry Bertoia Gallery in Pordenone and the natal home in San Lorenzo di Arzene. The exhibition pays tribute to this artist whose work constitutes an exemplar model of technique and method, precision and commitment to continuous exploration.
An immigrant to the United States in 1930, Bertoia attained success and international notoriety with his Diamond chair (1952) —an icon of the global design world—and more generally with his manifold artistic production of sculptures, monotypes, and jewelry. In these areas he asserted distinct originality and experimental proclivity in both materials and form.
Harry Bertoia is among the sparse ranks of Friulian artists of the 20th century that have earned international fame and recognition.
Up until a few years ago, he was relatively unknown in his homeland. That gap in recognition was filled by two successive exhibitions — the first at his natal home in San Lorenzo in 2008; the second, more extensive, in Pordenone in 2009. These exhibitions brought more awareness and appreciation of the quality of his work to the Friuli region.

In 2014, as a gesture to recognize the prestige of the artist, the City of Pordenone named a new exhibition space as Harry Bertoia Gallery.

This prestigious site will now host the exhibition presented by the City of Pordenone to celebrate Bertoia’s birth centennial. The documentary journey at the core of the previous exhibitions is enriched with new original material from the personal collection of Celia Bertoia, daughter of the artist.
The core of the exhibition consists of 30 monotypes – rare and exquisite prints on paper, unique items made between the late 1940s and the 1970s.

These works offer visitors the opportunity to compare original, but less-known Bertoia works which may also suggest diverse influences, including European ones that merge in his art but are interpreted in a very personal way. The exhibition monotypes are juxtaposed with sculptures and Diamond chairs thus enabling the visitor to perceive the relations and suggestions of the diverse artistic media practiced by the artist.
A didactic printing laboratory, organized for the occasion, offers the possibility to analyze the unusual and peculiar techniques employed in creating the original and precious monotypes which constitute a sort of creative diary of the artist.
In collaboration with Knoll, a significant part of the exhibition is dedicated to the design of the well-known Diamond chair (1952) and to its production at the Knoll factory in Foligno, Italy. Promotional materials from that era underline the quality of visual communication published and circulated in the 1950s by the manufacturer: a useful inspiration for an advertising and promotional strategy also for present times.

Visitors to the exhibition are also greeted by vintage films projected onto the walls of the first floor and may virtually enter the barn studio in Barto, Pennsylvania, where they see Harry Bertoia at work with a welding torch or while he shows and plays the sound sculptures. The original cosmic musicality of these celebrated works resounds throughout the exhibition space as the ultimate essence of the art of Harry Bertoia.

In the natal home of Harry Bertoia in San Lorenzo di Arzene (Pordenone) the focus is centered on another aspect of Bertoia’s production – jewelry.

Three precious objects are placed on the kitchen table, seemingly brought by Harry and gifted to his family. The photographs of 19 jewelry pieces (1940s to 1970s) and a study drawing —courtesy of Wright—are arranged in backlit frames in another room. The effect is intense; the pieces can be admired in all their minute detail.


Completing the natal home exhibit, in the old stable, a young Friulian artist, Michele Spanghero, presents his Translucide video ideally reclaiming the legacy of Harry Bertoia’s work and in his own original way actualizes the message linked to the desire of exploration and experimentation.

The participation of a young artist in the exhibition highlights the ideal passing down of baton through generations: as it generally happens – or should happen – in art.


From Nature to Sign
Harry Bertoia 1915 – 2015

7 February– 29 March 2015

Harry Bertoia Gallery Vittorio Emanuele II, 60 – Pordenone

Natal Home of Harry Bertoia 
Via Blata, 12, San Lorenzo di Arzene

Organizing Committe: Municipality of Pordenone Office of Culture – Municipality of Valvasone Arzene – Pro Loco San Lorenzo – Amici di Harry Bertoia

With Patronage Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia
Sponsored by: Coop Consumatori Nordest – Cartiere Cordenons Electrolux – Friulovest Banca – Graphistudio – Knoll Europe – SIM2 Multimedia
In collabotation with ISIA Roma Design, Sede di Pordenone

Exhibition curated by Amici di Harry Bertoia
Catalog by Angelo Bertani
Texts Angelo Bertani, Elena Bertoia, Mario Piazza

Press Conference: 6 February, 2015, 11.30 am
Harry Bertoia Gallery
Opening: sabato 7 febbraio 2015 , ore 18.00

Exhibition Opening:  February 7 – March 29, 2015

Pordenone, Harry Bertoia Gallery
Tue. > Sat. 3.30 pm >  7.30 pm
Sun. 10 am > 1 pm – 3.30 pm > 7.30 pm

Natal Home of Harry Bertoia, San Lorenzo di Arzene
Sat. 3.30 pm > 7.30 pm
Sun. 10 am > 1 pm – 3.30 pm > 7.30 pm
Open for groups also in other days upon reservation: Mob. 339 2684389

Info. MUNICIPALITY OF PORDENONE Phone 0039 0434 392916 –