Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    ISAMU 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.

    Bella Neyman

    Isamu Noguchi, A Sculptor's World (New York and Evanston: Harper Row, 1968).

    Condition Report*: Surface wear and oxidation throughout.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    4th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,560

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold on Jun 4, 2009 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 38 days left to consign to the 2021 November 5 American Art Signature Auction!

    Learn about consigning with us

    I sent out several inquiries, but Moyun is the primary reason I went with Heritage. She is extremely knowledgeable.
    Linda H.,
    Washington, D.C.
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search