Original Bertoia Bird Chairs

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wikicollecting

2015-06-26 10:42:52

Original Bertoia Bird Chairs are vintage chairs produced by the Italian designer Harry Bertoia.

History & Description

The Bird chair was designed by Harry Bertoia, an Italian sculptor, artist and furniture designer.

Designed in 1950, Harry Bertoia’s Bird chair is a classic example of the styles and ground-breaking techniques that were prevalent during the Mid-Century Modern era, in which furniture took on more simple and organic forms and were constructed from materials such as plastic, metal and wood.

During this time, Bertoia experimented with bending metal rods in order to create innovative shapes for furniture, of which the Bird chair and later Diamond chair are two examples.

The Bird chair’s delicate appearance belies its strength and durability and it went on to help Bertoia win “Designer of the year” in 1955.

American furniture company Knoll are the only authorised manufacturer of Bertoia’s Bird chair which has been in continuous production since 1952.

Guide for collectors

Compared to other Mid-Century Modern furniture like Arne Jacobsen’s’ Egg chair or Eero Saarinen’s Womb chair, Bertoia’s Bird chairs are relatively inexpensive and rarely cost more than $1,000. As a general rule, collectors can expect to pay between $500 and $900.

There are a number of websites that provide useful information on the chair’s history and how to purchase genuine vintage examples of Bertoia’s Bird chairs. A few good sources include; Bertoia Chairs, Couch Potato Company and Hive Modern.

Notable auction sales

On October 24th 2010 at Mimo Modern Auctions in Santa Monica, California, a Bird chair and ottoman, designed by Harry Bertoia, circa 1960s, realised a price of $1,400.

On October 26th 2003 at Rago Modern Auctions LLP in Lambertville, New Jersey, a Bird chair and ottoman, designed by Harry Bertoia, realised a price of $1,300.

On October 24th 2006 at Rago Modern Auctions LLP in Lambertville, New Jersey, a pair of Bird chairs, designed by Harry Bertoia, realised a price of $1,300.

On December 17th 2010 at Christie’s in New York, an early Bird chair and ottoman, designed by Harry Bertoia, circa 1952, realised a price of $1,063.

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