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Home About Designers Isamu Noguchi
Isamu Noguchi PDF Print E-mail
* 17th of November 1904 in Los Angeles
† 30th of December 1988 in New York


The Japanese artist and designer Isamu Noguchi is born on November 17, 1904 in Los Angeles as son of Leonie Gilmore and Yone Noguchi Leonie Gilmour is an American educator, editor, and journalist who plays a unique role in Japanese-American relations in the early decades of the twentieth century. Yonejiro Noguchi is an influential writer of poetry, fiction, essays, and literary criticism in both English and Japanese.
In 1907, he moves with his parents to Japan where his father married a Japanese woman, and Noguchi remains with his mother until 1918. In of the same year, his mother sends him back to the United States to finish his education. He attends the public school in La Porte, Indiana, graduating in 1922.
In 1922, he becomes an apprentice to Gutzon Borglum, a sculptor and supporter of Auguste Rodin, the creator of the word famous statue “The Thinker”. Borglum’s most famous project is the Mount Rushmore Monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota with the faces of four American Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln und Theodore Roosevelt. Supporters of Deep Purple know it even well in modified mode on their record “Deep Purple in Rock. In Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “North by Northwest” with Cary Grant, the scene at Mount Rushmore is one of the highlights, too.
In autumn 1922, Isamu Noguchi starts his study of medicine at Columbia University in New York City.
In 1924, Noguchi’s mother returns to the United States. At the urging of his mother, he enrolls at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School in New York City to study sculpture. Here, his talents are recognized and encouraged. Noguchi also attends the East Side Art School in New York City. Finally, he abandons his studies of medicine and becomes a sculptor.
In 1927, he wins a scholarship and moves to Paris where he becomes an apprentice of abstract sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957) - who becomes a strong influence on Noguchi's art. Noguchi has his own studio of arts in Montparnasse where he designs abstract sculptures in wood and stone. Noguchi feels that this art form is well suited to express himself.
After his scholarship he moves back to New York and sets up his own studio of arts.
Noguchi lives in Japan for six months in 1930, working with clay and studying gardens.
In 1935, he begins making stage sets for dancer Martha Graham, a partnership that would continue for fifty years. Martha Graham is an American dancer and choreographer regarded as one of the foremost pioneers of modern dance.
In 1938, he makes his first sculpture in stainless steel, a symbol of freedom of the press at the entrance to the Associated Press building in Rockefeller Centre in New York City.
In the 1940’s, Isamu Noguchi designs series of light sculptures in paper which he describes as “Lunar”. In the following years, Isamu Noguchi creates numerous pieces of furniture and lamps. In his famous designs is the Coffee table from 1945. His Dining Table “Cyclone” from 1954 is one of the most beautiful Japanese designs ever. In the same year, he designs as well the Noguchi Sofa with Ottoman. Noguchi’s aesthetic creations are at that time a little bit ahead of times, and it takes a little bit longer for them to be accepted and produced.