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Val Bertoia (American, b.1949)


Birth Place: Santa Monica, CA USA


Who is sculptor Val Bertoia?

Val Bertoia is an avant-garde artist, who is best known for helping his father (renowned sound art sculptor Harry Bertoia) work on the Sound-Sculpture environment, Sonambient from 1972-1978. Val is a natural engineer, whose precision is made evident not only on the Bertoia sound-sculptures that he helped produce but also on Val’s wind-electric systems and kinetic sculpture models. He’s produced a number of outdoor sculptures in public places, and his bronze sculptures are sought out the world over. More recently, he’s focused on several large restoration projects for Harry Bertoia sculptures, preserving his father’s legacy while also better understanding the unique properties that make sound sculptures so magical.

What kind of art does Val Bertoia make?

Val Bertoia makes a number of different kinds of large-scale sculptures. His pieces often play with the ideas of kinetic energy, sound, and even water and how his work can interact with those forces. Both startlingly beautiful and precisely designed, a Bertoia piece is the very definition of form following function. His old pieces experiment with traditional geometric shapes, but more recent ones seem to riff on the natural world, knobby growths from trees, snaking roots, and active waterways.

Both experimental and whimsical, these are rare pieces of art that can be enjoyed by adults and children. Bertoia’s works are like nature itself, vast, varied, and with a subtle sense of humor that gently masks deeper truths.

How did sculptor Val Bertoia get started?

Val Bertoia was born into the sculpture business. His father is famed sculptor, Harry Bertoia. Val studied mechanical Engineering, graduating with a degree from the Indiana Institute of Technology in the 1960s. He was given leave from the US Army in 1971, and soon after began to help his father with the Sonambient series of sound sculptures. They continued to develop these sculptures throughout the 1970s, with Val adding wind-electric systems and other riffs on kinetic sculptures. A marriage of science and art, Val’s wind systems could reach up to 90 feet in height and were awarded a US patent. Since the 1980s, Val has preferred to focus his art around nature, basing many current sculptures on the cycles of growth for Pennsylvania trees.

How much are Val Bertoia’s sculptures worth?

A typical Val Bertoia piece can range from a few thousand up to thirty thousand. His highest-selling piece is Untitled (Hydrangea B-952) (1995). A small copper and bronze patinaed structure that resembles its natural counterpart. This piece sold for $35,000 in 1995, five times what its high estimate had been.

Where to buy Val Bertoia’s sculptures for sale?

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How to value Val Bertoia sculptures?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services Department.

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