Lot 10
  • 10
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  • Maquette for the "Comet" Sculpture Designed for W. Hawkins Ferry
  • brass coated metal wire and bronze
  • Executed in 1964.

Catalogue Note

“...my mind would think in terms of cosmic relationships, such as planetary systems and galaxies...I have not seen those, but I have to somehow imagine something along that line." - Harry Bertoia, 1972

Intensely intricate and domestic in scale, the present work is a maquette for Comet, 1964, a monumental sculpture that towers 14 feet and is currently housed by the Detroit Institute of Arts. Commissioned by Detroit architects William Kessler & Associates, the maquette was created as a centerpiece for the home of the late W. Hawkins Ferry, an acclaimed 20th century collector and architectural historian, whose grandfather was a founder of the Institute.

Among Bertoia's rarest and most sought after creations, his comets give further insight into the artist’s lifelong investigation of metaphysics. Here, Bertoia explored the wonder of the astrological phenomenon in metal. He approached this subject with a heightened appreciation for all levels of aesthetic, from color and texture to proportion and balance. Through the process of welding individual pieces of bronze coated piano wire, Bertoia re-envisioned the celestial marvel by manipulating the sculptural form into a powerful cosmic energy.