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Artists Isamu Noguchi
Isamu Noguchi Photo

Isamu Noguchi

American Sculptor and Designer

Movements and Styles: Surrealism, Social Realism

Born: November 17, 1904 - Los Angeles, California

Died: December 30, 1988 - New York, New York

Isamu Noguchi Timeline

Quotes

"The essence of sculpture is for me the perception of space, the continuum of our existence."
Isamu Noguchi
"Stone is the fundament of the earth, of the universe. It is not old or new but a primordial element. Stone is the primary medium, and nature is where it is, and nature is where we have to go to experience life."
Isamu Noguchi
"Everything is sculpture. Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture."
Isamu Noguchi
"[The visible world] enters our consciousness as emotion as well as knowledge; trees grow in vigor, flowers hang evanescent, and mountains lie somnolent -- with meaning. The promise of sculpture is to project these inner presences into forms that can be recognized as important and meaningful in them."
Isamu Noguchi
"I like to think of gardens as sculpturing of space: a beginning, and a groping to another level of sculptural experience and use: a total sculpture space experience beyond individual sculptures."
Isamu Noguchi
"We are a landscape of all we have seen"
Isamu Noguchi

"Sculpture can be a vital force in our everyday life if projected into communal usefulness."

Isamu Noguchi Signature

Synopsis

Isamu Noguchi, a major American and Japanese sculptor and designer, spent over six decades creating abstract works - largely in stone - based on both organic and geometric forms. Greatly inspired by traditional Japanese art, as well as by the biomorphic style of some Surrealist art, Noguchi became internationally known both for his artwork and his publicly accessible furniture and architecture. His ultimate objective, to create and enhance public spaces through sculpture, provided his career with a distinct direction and established him as a critical figure in the worlds of post-war art, architecture and design.

Key Ideas

The overarching concept informing Noguchi's work was his passionate, career-long desire to create art the public could use in a social space. He realized this goal in myriad ways: mass produced furniture and lamps; theatrical set designs; public projects such as gardens, playgrounds and fountains; and sculptural manipulations of the natural landscape.
Noguchi wanted to call attention to the dichotomies inherent in much of his work: he merged geometric and organic forms, found value in both positive and negative space, and created works that challenged the boundaries of design and art. He also integrated the materials and art forms of both his Japanese and American heritages into his innovative creations.
Noguchi was socially and artistically connected to Abstract Expressionism, as evident not only in his large-scale works evoking abstracted forms but also in his friendships with Arshile Gorky and Willem de Kooning. Yet, his sculpture retained a distinct sensibility in its use of natural materials and its distinct blend of Surrealist and Japanese influence.

Biography

Isamu Noguchi Photo

Childhood

Isamu Noguchi's parents met when his mother, an American writer, was hired to assist his father, a young Japanese poet, with his English. By the time Noguchi was born in 1904, his father had returned to Japan. At two years old, Noguchi and his mother moved to Tokyo to live with his father, but left in 1910 for Omori and in 1912 for Chigasaki, where nine-year-old Noguchi helped with the construction of his home. In 1913, Noguchi's father married a Japanese woman and began his own family, further distancing himself from his son. At 13, Noguchi's mother sent him to the Interlaken School in Rolling Prairie, Indiana.

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Isamu Noguchi Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Isamu Noguchi
Interactive chart with Isamu Noguchi's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Constantin BrâncușiConstantin Brâncuși
Alberto GiacomettiAlberto Giacometti
Hans ArpHans Arp
Joan MiróJoan Miró

Personal Contacts

Martha GrahamMartha Graham
Buckminster FullerBuckminster Fuller
Alexander CalderAlexander Calder
Arshile GorkyArshile Gorky

Movements

SurrealismSurrealism
BiomorphismBiomorphism
Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism

Influences on Artist
Isamu Noguchi
Isamu Noguchi
Years Worked: 1924 - 1988
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Maya LinMaya Lin
Lawrence HalprinLawrence Halprin
Robert SmithsonRobert Smithson

Personal Contacts

Isamu KenmochiIsamu Kenmochi
Buckminster FullerBuckminster Fuller

Movements

Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism
Modern Furniture DesignModern Furniture Design
Landscape ArchitectureLandscape Architecture

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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