Ossabaw Echoes

Harry Bertoia
1962, Bronze

Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) was born in Italy and immigrated to the US in 1930, settling in Detroit. He first studied at the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts (now College for Creative Studies) and came to Cranbrook to study metalsmithing from 1937 to 1939. He taught metalsmithing and graphic design until 1943, when he left Cranbrook for California to assist Charles and Ray Eames (also graduates of the Cranbrook Academy of Art). Bertoia was a metalsmith, sculptor, printmaker, and designed jewelry and furniture (for Knoll). Later in his career, Bertoia made “sound sculptures” that, when manipulated, produce melodic tones. An example of one of his sound sculptures is in the collection of the Cranbrook Art Museum. Ossabaw Echoes is an example of an experimental casting process called “spillcasting” where the molten bronze is poured onto sand. Some of the textures and colors in the bronze happen naturally or are produced by various means - for example, the hot liquid bronze is sprayed with cold water, or chemicals are applied to the surface.