Important Design

Important Design

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 140. Untitled (Dandelion).

Property from a Private California Collection

Harry Bertoia

Untitled (Dandelion)

Auction Closed

June 6, 04:43 PM GMT


200,000 - 300,000 USD

Lot Details


Harry Bertoia

Untitled (Dandelion)

circa 1958

bronze wire, steel, granite

80 ¾ in. (205.1 cm) high

30 ⅝ in. (77.8 cm) diameter

Staempfli Gallery, New York

Irving Galleries, Palm Beach, Florida

Wright Chicago, September 27, 2012, lot 138

Acquired from the above by the present owner

June Kompass Nelson, Harry Bertoia: Sculptor, Detroit, 1970, no. 68-69 (for drawings of related examples)

Nancy N. Schiffer and Val O. Bertoia, The World of Bertoia, Atglen, 2003, p. 126 (for a related example)

Beverly H. Twitchell, Bertoia, New York, 2019, p. 203 (for a related example)

This lot is included in the Harry Bertoia Catalogue Raisonné and assigned the catalogue raisonné number S.WI.97.

Harry Bertoia's vision for the 'Dandelion' was realized following a visit to his native Italy where “...the warmth of the sun and the striking charm and beauty of these ancient towns... gave me a feeling that the world was actually radiating.”

Bertoia captured the ethereal and ephemeral bloom of a dandelion at its fullest, and elevated it from a soft, fluffy weed to a metal beauty. Like much of the sculptor's most recognized work, it is a form found in nature. However, the Dandelion differs from Bertoia's bush, tree, and willow sculptures for its dynamic illusion. Though it is not a kinetic or sound sculpture, it produces the sensation of movement and vibrancy. The ironic and whimsical scale of the Dandelion magnifies a radiating energy which almost pulsates. That, along with Bertoia's technical finesse, contributes to the significance of the form. The present example constitutes a particularly successful and visually compelling iteration, further enhanced with a dynamic, bronzed patina and a granite base.

The present Dandelion's shimmer and glow is a reflection of Bertoia's unmatched craftsmanship and precision. To create the form, a specific number of wires are welded to the end of a specific length rod. At the end of each rod is a nut. Just inside the central steel orb, under the surface, is a corresponding bolt to secure the rod.

Bertoia's patterning of the rods to form the Dandelion was a physical manifestation of his ability to intellectually and creatively express three-dimensional, spherical space. The Dandelion, as with most of his sculptures, goes beyond merely decorative; it defines or contributes to the function and experience of a space or environment.