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If trees are symbols of strength, longevity, and productivity then Maria Pergay’s latest masterpiece can be seen as the quintessential work of her long career. Over the course of more than fifty years of designing amid a field dominated by men, Pergay has never been afraid to take chances. She has consistently developed some of the most unique and eye-catching design forms using intricate artisanal techniques. Bronze Tree—on view at Demisch Danant gallery in New York for just a few days longer—is the pièce de résistancein Pergay’s new collection Secret Garden, and a superlative example of her considerable capacities.

Measuring more than six feet tall, Bronze Tree constitutes an impressive feat of craftsmanship. To create it, Pergay collaborated with an expert metal smith, directing the fabrication process and dictating every bend and twist. The molds for the trunk and branches were cast from life, but Pergay manipulated each element to achieve the details she desired. Each leaf was treated individually: hand-cut from brass and copper sheets; hammered, sculpted, and filed to replicate Pergay’s sketches; patinated using a secret formula to achieve the deep red tones; and finally positioned one by one on the branches to heighten light reflection. Pergay drew inspiration from a variety of botanical sources, and the final product is deceptively naturalistic. She has commingled parts of different plant species—exotic flowers, oak leaves, and fern-like fronds—to make a tree unlike anything found in nature.

Written by Tara Dewitt
Published by L'ArcoBaleno

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