Sotheby’s auction raises Harry Bertoia’s position in the art market
Art Market | American artist and designer Harry Bertoia - who became famous for his iconic piece ‘Diamond Chair’ created in 1952 - is developing a growing interest in the secondary market. The trend has been confirmed by the success of Sotheby’s November 2016 auction, which was entirely dedicated to Bertoia artworks from Kaare Berntsen’s collection.
In 1955 Harry Bertoia won the Designer of the Year Award; from that moment on and until the 1970s, the artist’s career was marked by his proximity to designers Ray and Charles Eames, and with the couple Hans and Florence Knoll. Building on his success, Bertoia interrupted his work as a designer in the mid-1950s to devote himself entirely to sculpture - particularly to his monumental kinetic and interactive pieces.
Sotheby’s auction ’Bertoia - Featuring Masterworks from the Kaare Berntsen Collector’ was held on November 16, 2016; showing a recent upward trend in the artist’s art market relevance. Kaare Berntsen, a Norwegian antique and modern art dealer, has been actively involved in the promotion and dissemination of Bertoia’s work since 1972. Of 28 lots from Berntsen’s collection, 89% were sold for a total amount of $3,573,500, which meant 50% more than the estimates. Indeed, several lots exceed the estimates : Untitled (Monumental Sonambient) and Untitled (Monumental Bush) were respectively sold for $492,500 (estimates : 100,000 - 150,000) and $516,500 (estimates : 250,000 - 350,000). Over the course of Bertoia’s career six lots have been sold for an amount exceeding $500,000, among them we find the current record holder : Screen from one marine midland center, sold for $790,000; all of these pieces were auctioned from the end of 2012 on.