70 5/8 x 18 x 3 5/8 in. (179.4 x 45.7 x 9.2 cm)
(Los Angeles, CA, 1904 - 1988, New York, NY)
Medium and Support:
Cast iron, wood and rope
R. T. Miller Fund
Location: Currently on view
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).