PP152 Harry Bertoia Furniture History and Identification

Webinar Description

The Bertoia collection for Knoll is an iconic set of chairs that were released in 1952 and are still popular and produced today. The mid-century modernist movement was spearheaded by such designers as Harry Bertoia, Eero Saarinen, Charles Eames and others. This presentation will provide a brief history of the development of these chairs and how they changed interior design forever. Unauthorized copies of the chairs are plentiful and you’ll learn how to distinguish the Knoll version from the copies. We’ll touch on restoration and maintenance of these objects. This is the first of three Bertoia webinars.

Webinar Audience

Anyone involved with mid-century modern objects, estate appraisers, furniture specialists.

Continuing Education (CE) Information

This webinar will award 1.2 CE hours.

Topics Covered

Brief Early History of Harry Bertoia

  • Italy
  • Detroit
  • Cranbrook Academy of Art
  • Associates Eames, Schust, Saarinen, Valentiner
  • MoMA contest of Organic Design


  • Work with Eames in California
  • Wire Grid concept
  • Point Loma Naval Electronics Lab


  • Knoll employment in Pennsylvania
  • Chair release 1952
  • Effect of midcentury modern furniture
  • Asymmetric Chaise 2005

How to ID authentic Knoll chairs

  • Change in 1986
  • Frame leg overlap
  • Shape of upper wire openings
  • “Knoll” stamp after 2004
  • Diamond shape vs. Circle
  • Valuation notes
  • Hints on restoration / repair


Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this webinar, attendees will be able to:

  • Inform others about the history of these and other mid-century modern furniture 
  • Recognize how these chairs changed interior design
  • Identify valid Knoll Bertoia chairs vs. unauthorized copies
  • Review possibilities for restoration or repair

Celia Bertoia

Celia Bertoia, youngest daughter of Harry Bertoia, grew up in Pennsylvania, spent decades in Boulder, Colorado in the real estate market, then owned a race timing company in Bozeman, Montana. Celia is currently the founder and director of the Harry Bertoia Foundation, a 501 (c)(3), anchored in St George, Utah. She authored the Life and Work of Harry Bertoia: the Man, the Artist, the Visionary (Schiffer, 2015). She is also an accredited appraiser with ASA, specializing in post war art. Her passion is to further the legacy of Harry Bertoia.


Webinar Recording
Select the "View Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes
Select the "View Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes
PP152 Certificate
1.20 CE credits  |  Certificate available
1.20 CE credits  |  Certificate available