DescriptionISAMU NOGUCHI (American, 1904-1988)
Neo Lithic, 1982
Hot-Dipped galvanized steel
72 x 29 x 16 inches (182.9 x 73.7 x 40.6 cm)
From the Gemini GEL USA edition of 18
Welded signature and date to side: I.N. 82
M. McClure, Isamu Noguchi at Gemini 1982-1983, Los Angeles, 1983, p. 42.
In 1958, on the topic of sculpture, Isamu Noguchi wrote, "It is clear why so many sculptors have turned to the welding torch and the scrap heap. The effect of wreckage ties it to time continuity, welding reincarnates it as a creation." In the same essay, he wrote that "sculpture in the traditional sense is, by definition, something with built-in values of permanence, 'forever beautiful', something of shape and material that 'defy time.'" Illuminating observations such as these give us insight into the genius that has made Isamu Noguchi one of the most significant sculptors of the twentieth-century.
The Japanese- American Isamu Noguchi was born in 1904, and his first art-related job was in 1922, when he served as an apprentice to a sculptor. It was during his college years at Columbia University, where he was studying medicine, that he decided to change course and pursue his love of art. A Guggenheim Fellowship supported his sojourn to Paris from 1927-1928, which left the greatest mark on his career. Not only did he serve as a studio assistant to Constantine Brancusi but he also began to create abstract stone and wood sculptures. This work was exhibited when he returned to New York in 1929, at the Eugene Schoen Gallery.
Over the course of his career, which spanned seven decades, Noguchi experimented with materials such as paper, stone, wood, slate, ceramics, and iron. The medium was often dictated by the environment. It is no wonder that the sculptor associated metal and industrial fabrication with America. Noguchi once wrote. "It seemed to me absurd to be working with rocks and stones in New York, where walls of glass and steel are our horizon, and our landscape is that of boxes piled high in the air."
During his career, Noguchi worked with metal on several occasions. Beginning in the late Twenties, during his first trip to Paris, and then again in the late Fifties upon his return to New York from Paris, where he worked on the UNESCO Headquarters gardens.
Noguchi's large-scale public sculpture and fountains were also made of metal. The most famous example is perhaps "News" (1938-1940), the stainless- steel relief for the Associated Press Building at Rockefeller Center. In the early 1980s, he created sculpture made of galvanized steel. This was a material that Noguchi had not previously utilized in his sculptural work.
Gemini G.E.L, established in 1966, is a workshop for artists and has been responsible for the publication of limited edition prints and sculpture. Gemini has worked with numerous celebrated artists to bring their work to fruition. Noguchi's collaboration with Gemini G.E.L began in 1982. He completed twenty-eight sculptural editions. With the exception of two, all were made of galvanized steel.
Isamu Noguchi, A Sculptor's World (New York and Evanston: Harper Row, 1968).
Estimate: $100,000 - $150,000.
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