Isamu Noguchi
Isamu Noguchi was the son of Yonejiro Noguchi, a Japanese poet and scholar of English literature, and of Leonie Gilmour, an American poet and writer. He was born in Los Angeles in 1904 and died in New York in 1988. He spent his childhood in Japan until the age of thirteen when his mother sent him to be educated in the United States. During his first year at Columbia University where he was a premed student, he dropped out and decided to pursue his interest in sculpture. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, studied in Paris with Brancusi, traveled through Europe and Asia and finally settled in New York in the late Twenties.
In his New York studio he worked at the beginning on portrait sculpture, stage sets for Martha Graham, furniture design and later with architects on larger environmental projects. He was able to accomplish this at the same time that he was establishing himself as a major New York sculptor.

His major works include two bridges in Hiroshima Peace Park called "Tsukuru" and "Yuku" (1952), the garden at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (1956), Billy Rose Sculpture Garden at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (1960-65), Philip A. Hart Plaza and the Horace E. Dodge & Son Memorial Fountain in Detroit (1976), the lobby of Sogetsu Kaikan, Tokyo (1977), "Homage to Louis Kahn" at the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, Texas (1982), and the marble slide for the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (1986). His works "Time and Space" in Takamatsu Airport, Shikoku (1989), "Black Slide Mantra" in Sapporo, Hokkaido (1992) and Moerenuma Park, also in Sapporo (2005), were completed post-humously.

1904 Born in Los Angeles, California on November 17.

1907 Moves to Japan.

1918 Sent alone to attend school in the United States.

1924 Takes sculpture classes at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School in New York City.

1926 Begins to exhibit in academic salons.

1927 Goes to Paris on Guggenheim Fellowship and serves as Constantin Brancusi’s studio assistant.

1930-31 Returns to Paris, travels to Peking and studies brush drawing with Qi Baishi.
Visits Kyoto and creates a series of terracotta sculptures.

1935-36 Creates first stage set for choreographer Martha Graham.
Goes to Mexico and executes relief mural for public market in Mexico City.

1942 Establishes studio in New York’s Greenwich Village.
Makes sculptures in mixed media and designs furniture and lighting elements for manufacture.

1949-52 Receives Bollingen Foundation Fellowship and travels throughout Europe and Asia.
Begins to design "Akari" light sculpture and creates a series of sculpture in clay under the guidance of Rosanjin.

1958 Completes gardens for UNESCO headquaters, Paris.

1961 Establishes studio in Long Island City, New York.

1961-67 Continues to execute gardens, site-specific installations, public plazas and playgrounds.

1968 Has retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art and publishes autobiography, A Sculptor’s World.

1969-70 Establishes studio in Mure, Kagawa Prefecture.

1972-79 Works on major 8-acres project for Detroit’s Philip A. Hart Plaza as well as several fountains for the Supreme Court in Tokyo, Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach the Art Institute of Chicago and Lobby of Sogetsu Kaikan Tokyo.

1980 Begins to work on Bayfront Park, Miami; California Scenario, Costa Mesa and develops plans for The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in New York.

1982-84 Completes public projects in Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia and Sakata, Japan.

1985-86 Opens The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in New York. Exhibits at the Venice Biennale.

1987 Receives the National Medal of Arts, presented by President Ronald Reagan.

1988 Recieves the Third Order of the Sacred Treasure at the Spring conferment of orders.
Begins Masterplan for the "Time and Space" at the Takamatsu Airport and Moerenuma Park, Sapporo.
Dies in New York on December 30.

Please inform us if you include a link to this Museum website on another website.
Unauthorized reproduction of any text or images used in this website is prohibited.