Isamu Noguchi (1904 – 1988)

Japanese-American artist and landscape architect, he was one of the twentieth century’s most important and critically acclaimed sculptors. He created sculptures, gardens, furniture and lighting designs, ceramics, architecture, and set designs.

image source: https://alchetron.com/Isamu-Noguchi-1338214-W


About his life

Isamu Noguchi(born November 17, 1904, Los Angeles, California, U.S.—died December 30, 1988, New York, New York). He spent his early years in Japan, and, after studying in New York City with Onorio Ruotolo in 1923, he won a Guggenheim fellowship and became Constantin Brancusi’s assistant for two years (1927–29) in Paris. There he met Alberto Giacometti and Alexander Calder and became an enthusiast of abstract sculpture. He was also influenced by the Surrealist works of Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. Noguchi’s first exhibition was in New York City in 1929.

info source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Isamu-Noguchi

Isamu Noguchi with Carl Mackley Memorial, 1933.
Isamu Noguchi with Carl Mackley Memorial, 1933.

image source: https://the189.com/furniture/isamu-noguchi-a-man-at-work/

What are Noguchi’s style main features ?

Noguchi believed the sculptor’s task was to shape space, to give it order and meaning, and that art should “disappear,” or be as one with its surroundings.

Isamu Noguchi working on marble element at the Sunken Garden at Yale, 1964.
Isamu Noguchi working on marble element at the Sunken Garden at Yale, 1964.

image source: https://the189.com/furniture/isamu-noguchi-a-man-at-work/

He used any medium he could get his hands on: stone, metal, wood, clay, bone, paper, or a mixture of any or all-carving, casting, cutting, pounding, chiseling or dynamiting away as each form took shape.

info source: http://www.svconcept.ch/1118-isamu-noguchi

Black Sun by Isamu Noguchi
Black Sun by Isamu Noguchi

image source: https://alchetron.com/Isamu-Noguchi-1338214-W

What are his most famous creations?

Recognizing the appropriateness of sculptural shapes for architecture, he created a work in low relief(1938) for the Associated Press Building in New York City and designed Chassis Fountain for the FordPavilion at the New York World’s Fair of 1939.

image source: http://www.gettyimages.it/evento/suzhou-in-a-chinese-garden-167718285#the-humble-administrators-garden-or-zhouzheng-yuan-is-considered-to-picture-id167533392

His garden for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris (completed 1958), his playground designs (all unrealized except the Noguchi Playscape, Piedmont Park, in Atlanta, completed 1976), his furniture designs (e.g., the glass-topped table designed for Herman Miller, 1944–45), and his fountain for the Philip A. Hart Civic Center Plaza in Detroit (completed 1979), among many other large-scale projects, won international praise.

fountain for the Philip A. Hart Civic Center Plaza in Detroit
fountain for the Philip A. Hart Civic Center Plaza in Detroit

image source: http://detroit1701.org/Dodge%20Fountain.html

 

Isamu Noguchi, Coffee Table, 1944.
Isamu Noguchi, Coffee Table, 1944.

image source: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/isamu-noguchi-coffee-table-in-50

Noguchi also designed sculptural gardens for the John Hancock Insurance Company Building in New Orleans (completed 1962), the Chase Manhattan Bank Plaza in New York City (completed 1964), and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (completed 1965) and stage sets for dance productions by Martha Graham, Erick Hawkins, George Balanchine, and Merce Cunningham. His career was celebrated with the first major retrospective of his work in 1968, held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

info source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Isamu-Noguchi