Former Cranbrook Academy of Art student and metalsmithing instructor Harry Bertoia (1915–1978) has received international acclaim for his metal furniture and sculpture, but his exploration of the medium originated in jewelry design. Out of the hundreds of jewelry works attributed to Bertoia, the majority was produced during his years at Cranbrook, offering an early glimpse of a creative vision that would crystallize as his career matured. The Jewelry of Harry Bertoiaexamines the artist’s experimentations with form, dimension, and fabrication on a concentrated and bankable scale—establishing Bertoia as a pioneer of the American Studio Jewelry movement and a master of elevating fashionable adornment to objet l’art.
The Jewelry of Harry Bertoia was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Shelley Selim, the Art Museum’s 2013-2015 Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow. Cranbrook Art Museum is supported, in part, by its membership organization, ArtMembers@Cranbrook; the Museum Committee of Cranbrook Art Museum; and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.