Val Bertoia (b. 1949)


IMG_0942VAL BERTOIA (b. 1949). Three-sided Tree, Pennsylvania, 1991; Patinated bronze; Signed and numbered at bottom; 15″ x 15 1/2″ x 6″; Provenance: Certificate of authenticity from the artist.

Price on request


Val Bertoia was born in Santa Monica, California in 1949. In the 1950s, his family moved from California to Pennsylvania where he has lived and worked here ever since. In the1960s, Val studied Mechanical Engineering at Indiana Institute of Technology in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. In 1969, he was awarded Speaker of the Year at Indiana Tech. In 1971, he was released from Ft. Dix, NJ, from the US Army to return back to Pennsylvania. He started working at the nearby farm-soon after-his father asked him to work at Bertoia Studio with him. Val worked with his father from 1972-1978.

The Sound-Sculpture environment which Harry continued for 10 years (1968-1978) is trademarked Sonambient. Harry and Val installed large-scale commissioned metal sculptures and Harry was amazed with Val’s level of precision and engineering abilities and often asked his advice. Late in the 1970s, Harry and Val made Bertoia Sound-Sculptures for distribution world-wide. During those 6-years, Val worked on his own projects including wind-electric systems as derivatives of kinetic sculpture models.

Harry was an intuitive engineer and Val’s wind-systems reaching over 90 ft. high were refined by Harry and became well-balanced with a US Patent. In 1978, continuing where Harry left off, with the encouragement of his mother, Brigitta Bertoia, Val continued the sculpture-business of his father’s legacy. Bertoia sculpture made after November 1978 started with B-01 and continues to be numbered. Val developed a growing directional spiral from nature based on the way a tree grows.

1949 Born in Santa Monica, California.

1967-71 Indiana Institute of Technology, Mechanical-Engineering.

1969 Awarded Speaker of the Year.

1971 Conscientious-objector – released from the U.S. Army (Fort Dix, NJ).

1971 Farm-hand in rural Pennsylvania.

1972 Started working with his father, Harry Bertoia, in Bertoia Studio, Bally, PA.

1972-1978 Fabricated parts and assembled Sound-Sculptures under Harry Bertoia’s supervision. Worked on kinetic sculptures of his own which moved or rotated with wind.?Recognized Wind’s great energy and designed and built 100 ft. wind-driven electric systems for his homeland – Granted U.S. Patent #4,316,698 – and began to fabricate and sell many Windmill Systems.
Harry Bertoia and son, Val Bertoia constructed and accumulated, or sold thousands of Sound-Sculptures throughout the world.

1978 With the help of Harry Bertoia’s wife, Brigitta Valentiner Bertoia, began to manage the sculpture business in Bertoia Studio.?Continued with energy-systems endeavors.

1979 First Commission: Suspended Rod-Sculpture at Northwestern University Stein Gallery, Evanston, Illinois.?Commission: Thomas Zung Architects.?Cleveland Library, Joan Mondale enjoyed playing the Sound-Sculpture installed here.?Commission: Reading Area Community College, Gong-Tree designed and installed.

1979-1986 Continuation of fabricating and installing sculptures: for example:?Chronical Newspaper (PA), R. Greenberg Associates (NY), Alpo Petfoods (PA), Lenox (NJ), ?Unitarian Universalists (PA), Sound-Gateway for S. Devon ((MI), Special fabrication works include: Playground-Assembly at Palm Church (PA), Nora Johnson’s mobile at Captial Center Building, (NJ).

1984 Awards in Sculpture, Cornerstone, 1st place at St. James Church, Hackettstown (NJ).

1986 Elizabethtown College, completed a licensed study-course in Healing Arts.

1987 Bertoia Studio actively displayed outdoor sculptures at Penn State Berks Campus (PA) and Mayfair.?Reading Museum (PA) – Three generations of Bertoia’s show.

1987-88 Taught Jewelry Designing and Stone-Sculpting, Wyomissing Institute of Fine Art (PA).

1990-91 Freyberger Gallery (PA).

1991 Hazelton Art League (PA) – Moravian College (PA).

1992-93 Solo-show, The Hill School (PA).

1993 President, Pottstown Area Artists Guild – Excellence P.A.A.G. Award.

1994 Juror, Boyertown High School (PA), Greater Norristown Art League (PA).?Perkiomen Valley Women’s Club (PA) – Solo-show, Calvary Church.?Awards: 2nd place, St. James Church, Hackettstown (NJ) – 2nd place, Perkiomen Valley Art Center.

1995 Model of Limerick Power Company -2nd place, Berks Art Alliance Award.

1998 Allentown Art Museum, “Metallic Aquatic Sonambient” – Performance/Sound-Sculptures by Harry Bertoia, Val Bertoia – Visuals by Melissa Strawser.

1999 Vitra Design Museum – Sound-Bodies Workshop, Boisbuchet, France.?Designed and fabricated Sound-Rocker in France with Melissa Strawser.

2000 The Year of the Dragon – High School – designed and fabricated a Dragon Hammock with children.

2001 The Year of the Snake – Mayfair (PA) – designed and fabricated a 90 foot Snake in 9 sections –

2002-Present Accomplished many bronze sculptures large and small for indoors and outdoors worldwide. Some of these are sound sculptures and others are water-flowing sculptures and some move by wind. Bertoia Studio has done several large scale restoration projects on Harry Bertoia sculptures and continues the preservation and research. Bertoia Studio also works with individual clients to design site-specific sculptures.