Isamu Noguchi  (American, 1904-1988) 

Isamu Noguchi (American, 1904–1988) was an important sculptor and designer, who fused Eastern and Western influences in his works of stone and steel. The son of a Japanese poet and American writer, Noguchi was born in California but spent his childhood in Japan with his American mother, before returning to the United States to attend high school in Indiana. Discouraged by a fruitless apprenticeship with sculptor Gutzon Borglum (American/Danish, 1867–1941), Noguchi briefly attended Columbia Medical School, before committing himself fully to the pursuit of sculpture.

In 1927 and 1928, Noguchi received Guggenheim Fellowships, which allowed him to travel to Paris, where he worked as studio assistant to Constantin Brancusi (Romanian, 1876–1957), learning about stone sculpture and meeting other important European artists. Profoundly influenced by Brancusi, Noguchi began to create sculpture in stone, wood, and sheet metal upon his return to New York. A year later he departed again to travel through China and Japan, where he studied traditional Asian art, which also deeply impacted his aesthetic.

Following his next return to New York, Noguchi began to design public spaces and monuments, which remained his focus for the rest of his life. During World War II, Noguchi voluntarily entered at a Japanese-American Internment camp, with the hopes of designing public spaces and teaching art; disillusioned by the experience, he created a series of surrealist sculptures called Lunars, which incorporated properties of light. After the war, Noguchi divided his time between the United States and Japan, mostly working on large outdoor sculptures and designing sets for choreographers, including Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham.

Among his public sculptures is the famous Red Cube, a massive steel cube that balances on a single corner, and is now installed in a Manhattan plaza. Noguchi achieved great fame critical success during the last two decades of his life; among other accolades, the Whitney Museum and Walker Art Center held retrospectives of his work in 1968 and 1978, respectively, and Noguchi represented the United States in the Venice Biennale in 1986. The artist died in 1988 at the age of 84; part of his studio is open to the public at the Noguchi Garden Museum in Long Island City, New York.

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Isamu Noguchi, Chess Table and Pieces


Isamu Noguchi
Chess Table and Pieces

Pace Gallery
Isamu Noguchi, Untitled (Small Torso)


Isamu Noguchi
Untitled (Small Torso)

Pace Gallery
Isamu Noguchi, Mountains Forming


Isamu Noguchi
Mountains Forming

Isamu Noguchi, Secret © Gemini G.E.L. and the Artist


Isamu Noguchi
Secret © Gemini G.E.L. and the Artist

Gemini G.E.L.
Isamu Noguchi, Little Slate


Isamu Noguchi
Little Slate

Pace Gallery
Past auction results (757)  View All
Isamu Noguchi, Pigeon


Isamu Noguchi
Pigeon, 1988


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Isamu Noguchi, Table basse in 50


Isamu Noguchi
Table basse in 50
lacquered walnut, metal, glass


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Isamu Noguchi, Rare lampadaire


Isamu Noguchi
Rare lampadaire
paper, bark, bamboo, metal


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