Noguchi, Isamu


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Noguchi, Isamu

(ēsä`mo͞o nōgo͞o`chē), 1904–88, American sculptor, b. Los Angeles. The son of a Japanese poet father and an American mother, he was a student of Gutzon BorglumBorglum, Gutzon
(John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum) , 1867–1941, American sculptor, b. Idaho; son of a Danish immigrant physician and rancher. He studied at the San Francisco Art Academy and in Paris at Julian's academy and the École des Beaux-Arts.
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 and won Guggenheim fellowships (1927 and 1928) that permitted him to study in Paris under BrancusiBrancusi, Constantin
, 1876–1957, Romanian sculptor. Brancusi is considered one of the foremost of modern artists. In 1904 he went to Paris, where he worked under Mercié. He declined Rodin's invitation to work in his studio.
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. In his work in stone, wood, and metal he integrated European modernism with Japanese traditionalism, harmonizing rough and smooth, geometric and organic. He created many independent pieces of sculpture and is also well known for the abstract sculptural elements he designed as adjuncts to architecture, highly integrated environmental work such as the massive red cube made for the Marine Midland Bank building, New York City, and the entrance to the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (1969). Noguchi also created many playgrounds and stone sculpture gardens, e.g., in Mexico City and the UNESCO garden, Paris (1958). He also designed numerous striking stage sets and props for the Martha Graham dance company and items for the home, many of which have become modernist classics, such as his kidney-shaped, glass-topped, wood-based coffee table and his airy paper lanterns. He is the author of A Sculptor's World (1968). There are Noguchi museums in his former studios in Long Island City, New York, and in Japan.

Bibliography

See biography by H. Herrera (2015); studies by S. Takiguchi et al. (1953) and J. Gordon (1968); C. Zwerin, dir., Sculpture of Spaces: Noguchi (documentary, 1995).

Noguchi, Isamu

(1904–88) sculptor; born in Los Angeles, Calif. He and his Japanese father and American mother moved to Japan (1906), but he returned to study in Indiana (1917) and was briefly apprenticed to Gutzon Borglum. He became a premedical student at Columbia University (1923), then studied sculpture (1924), was an assistant of Brancusi in Paris (1927–29), traveled to China and Japan, and settled in New York City (1932). He created ballet sets for Martha Graham (1935), designed furniture and public gardens, and was known for his organic abstract stone carvings, such as Even the Centipede (1952).