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Isamu Noguchi
American, 1904 - 1988

Calligraphics, 1957
American Sculpture
Cast iron, wood and rope
70 5/8 in. x 18 in. x 3 5/8 in. (179.39 cm x 45.72 cm x 9.21 cm), overall

R. T. Miller Bequest,  60.2

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About the Object

Isamu Noguchi’s father was a Japanese poet and his mother was an American writer. Although he was born in California and lived much of his life in the U.S., Noguchi’s travels reflected his own East-West duality. The artist spent his childhood traveling throughout Japan with his mother. As a young man he went to Paris to study with the abstract sculptor Constantin Brancusi. In China, he studied the ancient art of calligraphy.

In the sleek, mid-century forms of Calligraphics, Noguchi combined his love of modern sculpture and calligraphy. The two shapes suggest abstract versions of Japanese characters: ni meaning “the sun” (like the red sun on the flag of Japan) and hon meaning “the origin” (perhaps his own).

[Summer 2015]

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