Noguchi was one of the twentieth century’s most important and critically acclaimed sculptors.
Through a lifetime of artistic experimentation, he created sculptures, gardens, furniture and lighting designs, ceramics, architecture, and set designs.
His work, at once subtle and bold, traditional and modern, set a new standard for the reintegration of the arts.
He travelled extensively throughout his life, and in the process discovered the impact of large-scale public works in Mexico, earthy ceramics and tranquil gardens in Japan, subtle ink-brush techniques in China, and the purity of marble in Italy.
He incorporated all of these impressions into his work, which utilized a wide range of materials, including stainless steel, marble, cast iron, balsa wood, bronze, sheet aluminum, basalt, granite, and water.
Born in Los Angeles, to an American mother and a Japanese father, Noguchi lived in Japan until the age of thirteen, when he moved to Indiana.
While studying pre-medicine at Columbia University, he took evening sculpture classes on New York’s Lower East Side.
In 1926, Noguchi saw an exhibition in New York of the work of Constantin Brancusi that profoundly changed his artistic direction. He went to Paris, worked in Brancusi’s studio and turned to modernism and abstraction, infusing his highly finished pieces with a lyrical and emotional expressiveness, and with an aura of mystery.
Noguchi survived on portrait sculpture and design commissions, proposed landscape works and playgrounds, and intersected and engaged in collaborations with a wide range of luminaries.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the backlash against Japanese Americans in the United States had a dramatic personal effect on Noguchi, motivating him to become a political activist.
In 1942, he cofounded Nisei Writers and Artists Mobilization for Democracy, a group dedicated to raising awareness of the patriotism of Japanese Americans; and voluntarily entered the Colorado River Relocation Centre incarceration camp in Arizona where he remained for six months.
Following his release, Noguchi set up a studio in Greenwich Village, New York City, where he returned to stone sculpture as well as prolific explorations of new materials and methods.
VR Niti Sejpal