Monday, April 10, 2023

A Sibling Rivalry Divides a Famous Artist’s Legacy

Harry bertoiaFamous sculptor and designer Harry Bertoia passed away in 1978, leaving behind three children and a collection of thousands of pieces of his work. He rose to fame after working with Charles and Ray Eames and later working for Knoll, where he developed the famous Diamond chair. Later, he turned his attention to sculptures which, when played, make music.

Thirty years after his passing, his youngest daughter Celia decided it was time she helped manage the legacy her father left behind. This ignited a family feud with her brother, Val, who had spent three previous decades restoring and appraising their father’s work in his workshop. Accusations flew, which led to a three-year lawsuit that resulted in the division of Bertoia’s most fabled work.

For more information see Grayson Haver Currin “A Sibling Rivalry Divides a Famous Artist’s Legacy” The New York Times, March 28, 2023.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

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