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Sonambients by Harry Bertoia from the Standard Oil Commission

In 1974, Harry Bertoia was commissioned by the Standard Oil Company to create sculptures for the plaza of their building, a modern skyscraper designed by architect Edward Durrell Stone. At the time of its completion just a year earlier, the Standard Oil Building (now the Aon Center) was the tallest building in Chicago’s skyline.

Bertoia designed eleven Sonambients for the 4,000 square foot reflecting pool at the building’s base, each sculpture ranging from four to sixteen feet in height. The verticality of the Somabients’ brass and copper rods echoed the height and rhythm of the Standard Oil Building itself, and their sound resonated throughout the plaza. The kinetic sculptures he designed for the Standard Oil Company were installed on June 24, 1975 and they represent some of the most important public commissions of Bertoia’s career. The plaza of the Standard Oil Building became among the most beloved public spaces in the city of Chicago until 1994, when the plaza was redesigned.

Wright is proud to offer three large-scale Somabients original to the Standard Oil commission (estimates range from $300,000-500,000 to $500,000-700,000 each). Six maquettes from the presentation Bertoia created for the project are also included in this auction, as well as eight unique sounding sculptures which he presented to the executives of the Standard Oil Company as examples of his work.

Harry Bertoia: Masterworks from the Standard Oil Commission is the second Wright auction dedicated exclusively to the works of this outstanding sculptor. Comprised of seventeen lots, the auction will take place on June 6, 2013 at 12 pm central. Gallery preview runs May 30 to June 5, Monday through Saturday and Sunday by appointment, Auction at Wright


Friday, May 10th, 2013


Winkel w127 Task Lamp by Dirk Winkel for Wästberg
Lavaflow 7 by Craig Steely Architecture

 

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