This sculpture is made of melted brass-coated steel and shows dynamic linear style

Harry Bertoia

American, 1915–1978

Energizing, 1975

Melted brass-coated steel

59 x 72 x 12 inches

 

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Metal was Harry Bertoia’s preferred medium throughout his career, yet he was constantly innovating. He first created wire and platform sculptures and then worked on larger panels and architectural screens that were seamlessly interwoven into interior settings. His deliberately ambiguous sculptures resembled trees, bushes, dense foliation, leaves, and flowers—forms he observed from his studio in rural Pennsylvania. Bertoia masterfully translated textural pattern, dimension, motion, and sound into his metal sculptures, creating sensorial works of art.

In a few examples, such as the present screen, it can be argued that Bertoia even evoked tenets of abstract expressionism in sculptural form. Bertoia’s attention to line, form, and negative space are ideas that were similarly explored in the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock. Energizing, through its dynamic linear style, also recalls works by David Smith, John Chamberlain, Eva Hesse, and Louise Nevelson, to name but a few of the major postwar and contemporary sculptors who expressed radical new ways of thinking using metal and nontraditional media.

This sculpture is made of melted brass-coated steel and shows dynamic linear style