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Harry Bertoia sculpture

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArt-0035

Scope and Contents

Harry Bertoia sculpture includes a series of 7 dandelions, sunburst wall sculpture, and 3 bronze planters. The dandelions were originally made for the Kodak pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair, displayed around a spraying fountain. The smallest, on display in the Bausch and Lomb building, is 6.5 feet tall and the largest, 10 feet tall with a 6 foot globe. These bronze and gilded wire sculptures, as well as a sunburst wall sculpture on display in the Booth building accross from the Bevier Gallery, were given to RIT by the Eastman Kodak Company.

The set of 3 bronze planters were commissioned for the new RIT campus constructed in 1968. When RIT moved from downtown Rochester to its current location in Henrietta, one percent of all construction costs were set aside for the purchase of fine art for the new campus. A committee composed of RIT Trustee Arthur L. Stern, his wife Molly, and Mrs. Vanderbilt Webb, founder of the School for American Crafts, selected the works to be purchased. Among them were a pair of murals by Josef Albers, Henry Moore bronze sculpture, Jose de Riviera granite and steel sculpture, sundial by Alastair Bevington, and a set of three bronze planters by Harry Bertoia. Initially, the planters were displayed in the Student Alumni Union. They are now on display in the atrium of the Golisano Building.


  • Creation: 1964


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) was an American artist and designer during the twentieth century. Born in San Lorenzo, Italy to Giuseppe and Maria (née Mussio) Bertoia, he immigrated to the United States in 1930. Bertoia studied at the Detroit School of Arts and Crafts before attending the renowned Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield, Michigan from 1937-1942. In 1938, he began teaching at Cranbrook and held this position until 1943. Some of his colleagues at Cranbrook included Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen. Bertoia married Brigitta Valentiner, a Rembrandt expert, on May 10, 1943. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1947.

Although he also painted, Bertoia is best known for his metal work. In 1950, he was offered a position at Knoll International in New York. While working for Knoll, he designed his famous Diamond (or Bertoia) chair. Bertoia was also commissioned to create sculptures for various buildings. Some of the locations of his creations are listed below.

Throughout his lifetime, Bertoia showed his work at various exhibits including the London Triennial in 1963 and sculpture shows in Paris (1964), Amsterdam (1967), and Zurich (1968). He received the craftsmanship medal from the American Institute of Architects and was awarded the Gold Medal by the same organization in 1956. Bertoia died on November 6, 1978.


11 Item(s)




Harry Bertoia sculpture contains a set of 7 dandelions, 3 planters, and 1 wall sculpture. Bertoia's dandelions were part of the Eastman Kodak pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair.


Collection consists of 11 items.

Physical Location

Building 7A, Bevier Gallery
Building 70, Lobby
Building 77, Lobby

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Set of 7 dandelions and burst sculpture were gifted to RIT by the Eastman Kodak Company in 1975. The set of 3 bronze planters was commissioned by RIT in 1968.


  • Harry Bertoia at Art on Campus, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Additional description and images of artist work in View It! The Art and Architecture of RIT. By David Pankow, Becky Simmons, Houghton Wetherald. Rochester, NY: Cary Graphic Arts Press, 2004.


Sculptures vary in size: 4 x 4.5 to 10 x 6 feet.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Amy Vilz in September 2011.

Harry Bertoia sculpture
RIT Art Collection
Amy Vilz
05 September 2011
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Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA