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20th Century American Art

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Calligraphics

1957
70 5/8 x 18 x 3 5/8 in. (179.4 x 45.7 x 9.2 cm)

Isamu Noguchi
American (Los Angeles, CA, 1904 - 1988, New York, NY)

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Cast iron, wood and rope
Credit Line: R. T. Miller Fund
Accession Number: 1960.2
Location: Currently on view
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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]

Provenance
Artist; Stable Gallery, New York; purchased by the Gallery with bequeathed funds in 1960

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