Bush, c. 1970
9½ x 16 x 15 inches
Born in Italy, Bertoia moved to the United States when he was 15 years old. His family settled in Detroit, and he later earned a scholarship to the Cranbrook Academy of Art. There he met several key figures in his life, including his future wife; her father, a famous art historian and collector who taught him about the great masters; and Charles Eames, with whom he collaborated on chair design.
The pervading influence of nature on Bertoia’s work is most apparent in his sculptures of bushes, trees, and flowers. The present work is a small, elegant example of Bertoia’s bush-type pieces. He began these works in the late 1950s, producing most of them in the 1960s and 1970s “He was the most dedicated artist I have ever known,” said Bertoia’s dealer. “Each of his shows was an art event of the season. He was represented in almost every major museum and collection of 20th-century sculpture.”