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Isamu Noguchi


Isamu Noguchi (* 1904 in Los Angeles/USA; 1988 in New York/USA) is widely considered among the most important sculptors and designers of his day. The son of Japanese poet Yone Noguchi and the American writer Leonie Gilmour, he studied at Columbia University and the Leonardo da Vinci Art School and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1927. He subsequently worked as an assistant to Constantin Brancusi in Paris, presented his first solo exhibition in New York, studied brush drawing in China and worked with ceramics under Jinmatsu Uno in Japan. His experiences of living and working in different cultural circles are reflected in his work as an artist. For example, during his stay in Japan in 1951, he developed a strong enthusiasm for Asian lamps made of paper and bamboo.

Noguchi subsequently combined traditional manufacturing techniques with new shapes, replaced the candles with electric bulbs, and thus created the first Akaris - light sculptures from Shoji paper for daily use. Isamu Noguchi is considered a universal talent with a creative oeuvre that went beyond sculpture to encompass stage sets, furniture, lighting, interiors as well as outdoor plazas and gardens, including components of the Hiroshima Peace Garden. His sculptural style is indebted to a vocabulary of organic forms and exerted a sustained influence on the design of the 1950s. "My father, Yone Noguchi, is Japanese and has long been known as an interpreter of the East to the West, through poetry", wrote Noguchi in his proposal for a Guggenheim Fellowship, "I wish to fulfil my heritage".


More about 'Isamu Noguchi' in our blog

smow Blog High 5 Special: When fashion meets design.....

...The Akari Skirt As a phenomenon fashion exists in a state of continual revival and reinvention, something perfectly demonstrated by the hooped skirt: the farthingale of the 16th and 17th centuries, becoming the 18th century pannier before evolving into the 19th century crinolines, and achieving its most contemporary guise as the Akari Skirt, an object inspired by Isamu Noguchi's 1951 light sculptures...

5 New Design Exhibitions for January 2017

...Although the Japanese-American sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi wasn't resident in one of the defined military sensitive areas, and thus was not required to enter an interment camp, he voluntarily did so, entering Poston War Relocation Center, Arizona, on May 12th 19421 in the, heavily idealistic, hope of helping create "an ideal cooperative community... With Self-Interned 1942 the Noguchi Museum aim to not only document Noguchi's time and artistic work in Poston but for all how the experience, both in the camp and also of the anti-Japansese sentiments in 1940s America, influenced Isamu Noguchi, helped shape his thinking on America, Japan and his own heritage, and so by extrapolation how the experiences affected his later work: and thus promises to help us better understand the man Isamu Noguchi and thus the artist and designer Isamu Noguchi...

smow blog 2014. A pictorial review: December

...And to accompany us Russian avant-garde architecture, reflections on Israeli modernism, the future of seating and the tale of what happened when George Nelson, Isamu Noguchi, Irving Harper and Richard Buckminster-Fuller drunk and drew...

5 New Design Exhibitions for January 2015

..."Noguchi as Photographer: The Jantar Mantars of Northern India" at The Noguchi Museum, New York, USA Isamu Noguchi is without question the more interesting figures in the story of mid-20th century American furniture design... In 1949 Isamu Noguchi was awarded a fellowship from the Bollingen Foundation and used the associated financial grant to travel through Europe, India and Asia to explore sacred sites and study the local communities relationships with such...

(smow) blog Design Calendar: November 17th 1904 – Happy Birthday Isamu Noguchi!

...One of the best known and most fascinating being without question the sculptor and artist Isamu Noguchi... Following his gradation from high school in 1922 Isamu Noguchi began studying medicine at Columbia University; however, having become fascinated, if not infatuated, by and with sculpture and art in general, he quit his medical studies in 1924 to devote himself fully to sculpture...


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