The collection
Brushed-metal coffee service. Spherical coffeepot has an arc-shaped handle

Coffee Service

Designed by
Harry Bertoia (1915–1978)
Pewter, stained wood
Produced by
Harry Bertoia
Coffeepot: 17.8 x 19 x 14.3 cm

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection, D89.192.1–3

Bertoia is known today primarily as a sculptor, but he was also a metalsmith. After graduating from the Cranbrook Academy of Art—a Michigan-based school, headed by Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, where European modernist design could be learned in a hands-on studio environment—he taught in the school’s metalsmith department from 1938 to 1943.

This set’s repeated theme of circles shows the influence of French silversmith Jean Puiforcat in its configuration of geometric forms, as well as the effect of American streamlining, which was popular when this set was created.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, photo: Giles Rivest. © Estate of Harry Bertoia / SOCAN (2019).