Home / Our 19th Annual Spring Art Auction / A HARRY BERTOIA BRONZE BUSH SCULPTURE



Harry Bertoia (1915 - 1978 Italian-American, Michigan, California)

Untitled Bush sculpture

Bronze and copper

Measures 8 inches.

Provenance: The estate of mid-20th century Kansas City architect David Benton Runnells (1913 - 1973), lifelong friend of Harry Bertoia and fellow graduate of the Cranbrook Academy of Art. David Runnells' biography reads like the Five W's of Modern Design. After graduating the University of Illinois, Runnells discovered Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto while studying at the University of Stockholm on scholarship. Around 1940, he attended Cranbrook Academy of Art and studied under Finnish Architects, Eliel and Eero Saarinen. Following graduation from Cranbrook he stayed on to work with the Saarinens on projects that included the groundbreaking architecture of Crow Island School in Winnetka, Illinois. After Cranbrook he became head of the industrial-design department at the Kansas City Art Institute. From 1943 to 1946 he was director of planning for the Kansas City Planning Department. He then entered private practice and designed the art-school building for the Kansas City Art Institute with fellow Cranbrook alum George Matsumoto. August of 1958 to August of 1959 was spent teaching at the Vienna Technical University in Vienna, Austria on a Fulbright Fellowship. The whole Runnells family lived that year in Austria and in their spare time tooled around Europe in a VW Bug. According to Mrs. Runnells' diary, on May 14, 1959 they visited the Pablo Picasso workshop showroom on the French Riviera and purchased a Pablo Picasso Figure de Proue double spout ceramic jug (see lot 133 in this sale catalog).

The attached photograph, taken by Charlie Eames in 1941 on the steps at Cranbrook pictures David Runnells, Art Brewer, Eliel Saarinen, Avely Winter, Eero Saarinen, Jerry Schilling and Ed Lenders.

In 2009, KCMODERN organized the Runnells House Tour, a rare visit to eight Runnells design homes in Leawood, Prairie Village and Mission Hills Kansas.

This lot is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Celia Bertoia of the Harry Bertoia Foundation as well as a copy of a letter from their files. The letter is from David Runnells to Harry Bertoia, 1967.
Very good intact condition, there are no breaks or repairs. Original condition noting dust and settled dry reside overall untouched.
$15,000 - $20,000

Our 19th Annual Spring Art Auction

Friday, June 9th 2017

SOLD - $26,000

Sold Price does not include Buyer's Premium