All in the Family

The Work of Val Bertoia

Photograph courtesy of Gabriella Radujko, 2012

Born in 1949 to Harry Bertoia and Brigitta Valentiner during their brief stay in Santa Monica, Val Bertoia grew up surrounded by creative experimentation and some of the most important sculptural work of the 20th century. Val relocated with his family to Bally, Pennsylvania in the 1950s and in the 1960s, attended the Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne where he studied Mechanical Engineering. His degree prepared him well for work in his father’s studio and after his release from the US Army at Fort Dix, Val returned home and the two collaborated closely up until Harry’s death in 1978. Much of their work centered on Harry’s iconic Sonambient sculptures as well as large-scale works, projects that showcased Val’s expert engineering. During the 1970s, Val also worked on his own projects including kinetic sculptures and metal works but after his father’s passing and with his mother’s support, he took on the task of continuing Harry’s designs in addition to his personal compositions. All works created after November 1978 were given a number, starting with B-01 and today, Val continues to cultivate his family’s legacy at their farm in Berks County, Pennsylvania.