Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia

Altarpiece for MIT Chapel, 1955

Brazed steel


240 in. (609.6 cm)

Commissioned for Eero Saarinen Chapel, MIT

Bertoia’s altarpiece screen, or reredos, was commissioned for Eero Saarinen’s early modernist, non-denominational MIT Chapel in 1955.

Suspended over the main altar, his cascading, open fret screen of slim metal rods and crossplates scatters light throughout the chapel. Described as one of Bertoia’s most striking works, it is an integral part of the altar. Here, Bertoia has liberated sculpture from its base to usher in the contemporary era of spatial sculpture.

Building Number: W15

Accession Number: 1955.001