Christie's /May 16, 2013
€22,839.74 - €30,452.99
Artworks in Arcadja140
Some works of Isamu NoguchiExtracted between 140 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Christie's -Nov 13, 2013 - New YorkLot number: 166
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Lot Description Isamu Noguchi (1904-1989) Silly Girl signed 'Noguchi' (on the underside) marble on wood base 67 3/8 x 18 x 18 in. (94.9 x 45.7 x 45.7 in.) Executed in 1955-1958. This work is unique. Provenance Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. Friedman to the present owner Pre-Lot Text PROPERTY SOLD BY THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO Literature N. Grove and D. Botnick, The Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi, 1924-1979, A Catalogue, New York, 1980, p. 72, no. 415 (illustrated). Exhibited New York, Stable Gallery, Isamu Noguchi, April-May 1959, no. 16. View Lot Notes > Silly Girl is comprised of a smoothly-finished, elliptical marble form and set atop a slender beam of wood. The sculpture is positioned at eye level, essentially life-size in stature and the geometric rounded forms engraved into the surface of the marble all contribute to the anthropomorphic quality that is characteristic of Noguchi's strongest work. Having spent two years in 1927-1929 apprenticing in the studio of Constantin Brancusi in Paris, the influence of the renowned 20th century sculptor on a young Noguchi was undeniable, employing different mediums in combination and fabricating his own complimentary bases, essential to the sculpture. However, Noguchi explained that "Brancusi used to say how lucky were the young people of the new generation such as myself who could look forward to uninhibited and true abstractionspure abstractions, or at least those geometrically derived, left me coldI craved a certain morphologic quality. I developed a deep interest at the time in cellular structure and collected books on paleontology, botany and zoology" (I. Noguchi, Noguchi: A Sculptor's World, New York, 1968, p. 18). The 1950s would serve as an incredibly fruitful period of travel and inspiration for the artist who was coming into his own artistic maturity, reaching new heights of prominence and interest from top collectors and museums around the world, pushing the bounds of his materials and responding to the enormous amounts of support from high-level public commissions. Around the year 1957, Noguchi began stopping in Greece to select blocks of Penteli marble (the same used to build the Parthenon) that would be pre-cut to approximating dimensions and then subsequently sent to the studio in New York. Noguchi produced fourteen of the Greek marble sculptures, including the present example, for the 1959 exhibition at Stable Gallery, including Woman with Child and Recurrent Bird and Integral, in the collection of the Whitney Museum of Art, New York. Noguchi writes that "the exhibition was in the nature of a homage to Brancusi, and recapitulated sculptural values I associated with him" (I. Noguchi, Noguchi: A Sculptor's World, New York, 1968, p. 36).
Auction: Christie's -Nov 12, 2013 - New YorkLot number: 66
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Lot Description Isamu Noguchi (1904-1989) Gregory (Effigy) incised with the signature, numbered and stamped with the foundry mark '2/8 Isamu Noguchi Susse Fondeur Paris' (on the foot) bronze 69 1/8 x 16 1/8 x 16½ in. (175.5 x 40.9 x 41.9 cm.) Conceived in 1945 and cast in 1964. This work is number two from an edition of eight plus two artist's proofs. Provenance Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1964 Pre-Lot Text Property from a Private Swiss Collector Literature A. Michelson, "Noguchi: Notes on a Theater of the Real," Art International, vol. 8, no. 10, December 1964, pp. 22-23 (another example illustrated). Noguchi: Steel Sculptures, exh. cat., New York, Pace Gallery, 1975, n.p. (another example illustrated in color). S. Hunter, Isamu Noguchi, New York, 1978, pp. 79 and 230-231 (another example illustrated in color). "Imaginary Landscapes," Museum News, March/April 1978, p. 53 (slate example illustrated). N. Grove and D. Botnick, The Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi 1924-1979, A Catalogue, New York, 1980, pp. 43 and 326, no. 242B (another example illustrated). I. Noguchi, The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, New York, 1987, pp. 248-249, no. 30 (slate example illustrated). Isamu Noguchi Retrospective 1992, exh. cat., Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art, 1992, pp. 42 and 64 (another example illustrated). D. Apostolos-Cappadona and B. Altshuler, eds., Isamu Noguchi: Essays and Conversations, New York, 1994, pp. 24-25 (another example illustrated). A. Lyford, "Noguchi, Sculptural Abstraction, and the Politics of Japanese American Internment," Art Bulletin, vol. 85, no. 1, March 2003, pp. 144-147 and 151, no. 8 (slate example illustrated). I. Noguchi, Isamu Noguchi: A Sculptor's World, New York, 2004, pp. 76-77 and 243, pl. 59 (another example illustrated). Exhibited New York, Museum of Modern Art, Fourteen Americans, September-December 1946, pp. 42 and 78, no. 77 (slate example exhibited and illustrated). Paris, Galerie Claude Bernard, Isamu Noguchi, June-July 1964, no. 2 (illustrated). New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Isamu Noguchi, April-June 1968, pp. 22 and 58, no. 12 (another example exhibited and illustrated). Bloomington, Indiana University Art Museum, Noguchi & Rickey & Smith, November-December 1970, p. 7 (another example exhibited and illustrated). Tokyo, Minami Gallery, Isamu Noguchi, May-June 1973, no. 10 (another example exhibited and illustrated). North Texas State University, 1975 (another example exhibited). Indianapolis Museum of Art, Mirages of Memory: 200 Years of Indiana Art, November 1976-January 1977, no. 101 (another example exhibited). London, Hayward Gallery, Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, January-March 1978, pp. 398 and 472, no. 15.39 (another example exhibited and illustrated). Minneapolis, Walker Art Center; Denver Art Museum; Cleveland Museum of Art; Detroit Institute of Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Noguchi's Imaginary Landscapes, April 1978-January 1980, pp. 11-13 and 91 (another example exhibited and illustrated). Dallas, Southern Methodist University, Meadows Museum, 20th Century Sculpture from the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond D. Nasher Collection, September-October 1978 (another example exhibited). Kunsthaus Zurich, Sammlungen Hans und Walter Bechtler, August-October 1982, pp. 126 and 180 (illustrated). New York, Pace Gallery, Isamu Noguchi: Bronze and Iron Sculpture, May-June 1988, no. 2 (another example exhibited and illustrated). Bloomington, Indiana University Art Museum, A State of Art: 19th and 20th Century Artists at Work in Indiana, June-September 1988 (another example exhibited). Madrid, Fundación Juan March, Isamu Noguchi, April-June 1994, p. 36, no. 8 (another example exhibited and illustrated). Tokyo, Sezon Museum of Modern Art; Kochi, Museum of Art; Kamakura, Museum of Modern Art; Fukuyama Museum of Art, Isamu Noguchi and Rosanjin Kitaoji, March-October 1996, pp. 66-67 and 321, no. S-07 (another example exhibited and illustrated in color). Long Island City, Noguchi Museum, Sculpture and Nature, June 2002-January 2003 (slate example exhibited). Tokyo, Sogetsu Art Museum, Isamu Noguchi, November-December 2002 (another example exhibited). Sapporo, Moerenuma Park, Glass Pyramid Atrium, Isamu Noguchi Exhibition in the Glass Pyramid, July-August 2003 (another example exhibited). New York, PaceWildenstein, MacDougal Alley: The Interlocking Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi, September-October 2003, pp. 26-27 (another example exhibited and illustrated). New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Isamu Noguchi: Master Sculptor, October 2004-May 2005, pp. 103-104 and 231 (slate example exhibited and illustrated in color). Sapporo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Isamu Noguchi: Energy out of Nothingness, July-August 2005 (another example exhibited). Yokohama Museum of Art; Shiga, Museum of Modern Art; Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Isamu Noguchi: Connecting the World through Sculpture, April-November 2006, pp. 25 and 141, no. 7 (another example exhibited and illustrated in color). View Lot Notes > "Things come and go, and some things endure. Art endures when it is its own identity" (I. Noguchi, quoted in D. Apostolos-Cappadona and B. Altshuler, eds., Isamu Noguchi: Essays and Conversations, New York, 1994, p. 115). A magnificent formation of smooth interlocking forms, Gregory (Effigy) belongs to one of Isamu Noguchi's most original and powerful sculptural series. The mid-1940s marked Noguchi's return to abstract, biomorphic forms that echoed the Surrealist movement prevalent at that time. Surrealism's influence had by then reached England, where a young Francis Bacon experimented with the movement's techniques, and America, where Mark Rothko took an interest in biomorphic figures, creating masterpieces such as Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea. Noguchi took the Surrealist vocabulary and rendered it into his elegant sculptures, incorporating the movement's aesthetic of reduced forms and imagined creatures inspired by artists such as Yves Tanguy, and imbuing his works with deep psychological complexity. Gregory (Effigy), of which an early slate example debuted in the 1946 Museum of Modern Art exhibition titled Fourteen Americans, belongs to the series of interlocking sculpture--including Kouros, Avatar, Humpty Dumpty and Metamorphosis--that established Noguchi as a major figure within American art and stands out as one of the foremost examples of Noguchi's endeavor to give physical form to abstract concepts. In Gregory (Effigy), whose name derives from a character in Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, six graceful limb-like elements interconnect harmoniously to a central elliptical plane. The flat central plane suggests a thin, elongated body to which legs and arms effortlessly interlock. Climbing nearly six feet tall, the magnificent bronze sculpture evokes a reduced skeletal form, highlighting Noguchi's exquisite comprehension of anatomy. The rounded contours of the piece imbue it with a subtle eroticism, merging the limbs at once into at once arms, legs and sexual organs, suggesting the sexual undercurrents prevalent in Surrealist art. Gregory (Effigy) is a masterful merging of several of Noguchi's inspirations, defying absolute characterization. Noguchi alludes to this work as coming partly from the sun, although does not go on to give any specifics, also citing as a source the form of Tangaroa, the creator and sea god of Polynesia, whose body carries men and gods attached to it, continually giving birth to new beings. Most compellingly however, Gregory (Effigy) also has its origins in Franz Kafka's 1915 absurdist book, The Metamorphosis. In Kafka's story the protagonist, Gregor Samsa, awakes to find himself transformed into a giant insect. It is never explained why Samsa transforms, and in fact, Kafka intends for Gregor's new body to remain ambiguous, even forbidding his publisher to illustrate it in the book. These multidimensional interpretations of Gregory (Effigy) are reflected in the ambiguous body formation of the sculpture, and resonate with Noguchi's most paramount themes of birth, rebirth and transformation. In the early 1960s, Noguchi revisited several earlier stone sculptures and recreated them in bronze, resulting in the series that includes this example of Gregory (Effigy). Noguchi felt that translating his stone sculptures into bronze would give them not only a literal, but also a symbolic weight, thus rendering the works more powerful and enduring. Noguchi wrote, "It is weight that gives meaning to weightlessness. I decided to have the sculptures cast in bronze, letting bronze supply the extra element of weight, as though in suspension. Bronze as metal was something older than the representational objects we are accustomed to" (I. Noguchi, quoted in, Isamu Noguchi: Bronze and Iron Sculpture, exh. cat., Pace Gallery, New York, 1988, p. iv.) Having previously shied away from bronze because he believed the casting process was too far-removed from the artist's hand, Noguchi now embraced it, but did so in a way that was faithful to his own approach to sculpture. Noguchi oversaw each step of the casting process, especially the final steps of finish and patination. In fact, though it is cast in bronze, Gregory (Effigy) is distinguished by its smooth, marble-like patina. Working in bronze also marked another kind of revisiting--it took Noguchi back to his time as an assistant for Constantin Brancusi, whose influence marked Noguchi deeply. In 1927 at the age of 22, Noguchi traveled to Paris where he was Brancusi's studio assistant for two years. It is in Brancusi's studio that Noguchi observed the intricacies of working with bronze. As his assistant, Noguchi frequently polished the master's bronze sculptures and wrote, "The point to be made with bronze is, I think, that Brancusi discovered in each its uniqueness as it came back from the foundry, making the essential metal emerge out of the [...] casting" (I. Noguchi, quoted in D. Apostolos-Cappadona and B. Altshuler, (eds.), Isamu Noguchi: Essays and Conversations, New York, 1994, p. 112). True to Noguchi's supreme philosophy of a structure holding together without the use of foreign materials such as adhesive, welding or nails, each of Gregory (Effigy)'s limbs hooks precisely into a slit on the body. The two-dimensional planes and slabs interconnect and in doing so morph into a three-dimensional form. The connected but deconstructable elements that make up Gregory (Effigy) give the sculpture a balance created by opposing forces, fusion and separation. The solid bronze forms balancing gracefully demonstrate the delicate nature of the human spirit, which can be strong and resilient, but whose stability can be shattered with a single fateful moment. They also reflect Noguchi's feelings about the uncertain state of the world after World War II. In 1946, about a year after the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Noguchi was invited to participate in the exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art titled Fourteen Americans, which aimed to explore the diversity of American art. Breaking a ten-year absence from the New York exhibition scene, Noguchi sent fifteen sculptures to the show, including the original slate version of Gregory. In his statement for the Fourteen Americans show Noguchi drew on his philosophy, writing, "We are reborn, and so in art as in nature there is growth" (I. Noguchi, quoted in D. Miller, ed., Fourteen Americans, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1946, p. 39). Noguchi's timeless Gregory (Effigy) at once reverberates with echoes of past and looks toward the future. Conceived in slate and reawakened in potent and robust bronze, it stands as one of Noguchi's most original and compelling sculptures.
Auction: Bonhams -Nov 12, 2013 - New YorkLot number: 159
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ISAMU NOGUCHI (1904-1988) Giacometti's Shadow , 1982 with welded artist's initials and date 'i.n. '82' (bottom edge of angled plane) hot-dipped galvanized steel 77¾in. (197.5cm) high This work is number eight from an edition of eighteen published by Gemini G.E.L. Editions, Los Angeles. Footnotes PROVENANCE: The Estate of David Copley, La Jolla. Acquired from the above by the present owner. LITERATURE: I. Noguchi, The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum , New York 1987, fig. 76 (another from the edition illustrated, p. 228).
Auction: Christie's -May 16, 2013 - New YorkLot number: 110
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Lot Description Isamu Noguchi (1904-1989) The Elephant signed 'Noguchi' (on the reverse) ceramic 21¾ x 13½ x 6¾ in. (55.2 x 34.2 x 17.1 cm.) Executed in 1952. This work is unique. Provenance Stable Gallery, New York Margaret La Farge Osborn, Connecticut, acquired from the above circa 1955 Stephen Mazoh and Company, New York Pre-Lot Text Collection of Celeste and Armand Bartos Literature Noguchi: 1931/50/51/52/Japan, Tokyo, 1953, fig. 41 (illustrated). I. Noguchi, Isamu Noguchi: A Sculptor's World, New York, 1968, pp. 86 and 244, fig. 73 (illustrated). N. Grove and D. Botnick, The Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi, 1924-1979: A Catalogue, New York and London, 1980, p. 60, no. 334 (illustrated). Exhibited Kamakura, Museum of Modern Art, Isamu Noguchi, September-October, 1952. New York, Stable Gallery, Isamu Noguchi: Terracottas, November 1954-January 1955.
Auction: Christie's -May 15, 2013 - New YorkLot number: 42
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Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) Variation on a Millstone #5 granite 25 x 25 x 3 in. (63.5 x 63.5 x 7.6 cm.) Executed in 1967. Collection of the Artist Gimpel Fils Gallery, London, 1972 Acquired from the above by the present owner Collection of Celeste and Armand Bartos N. Grove and D. Botnick, The Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi, 1924-1979: A Catalogue, New York, 1980, p. 113, no. 620 (illustrated). N. Grove, Isamu Noguchi: A Study of the Sculpture, New York, 1985, no. 58 (illustrated). Zurich, Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Isamu Noguchi, October-November 1968, no. 25 (illustrated). Saint Paul-de-Vence, Fondation Maegt, L'Art Vivant aux Etats-Unis 1965-1968, July-September 1970, pp. 142-143 (illustrated). "I want to find the stone within the stone and to know the stone inside out" - Isamu Noguchi Isamu Noguchi's Variation on a Millstone #5, hewn from a solid piece of blue-gray granite, belongs to a significant group of the artist's sculptures that are based on the circular form--a theme that persisted throughout the artist's long career. From his early Millstones to his iconic 1969 sculpture The Sun at Noon and Black Sun (Collection of the Seattle Art Museum), the artist's interpretations of this harmonious form are rich in self-containment, symbolism and aesthetic beauty. For Noguchi, the nature of the circle allows for introspection--a chance to examine the interior and exterior of a sculpture; an opportunity to get truly close to the material and understand how it reacts both with itself and the environment it occupies. "The essence of sculpture is for me the perception of space, the continuum of our existence," the artist once said. "All dimensions are but measures of it, as in relative perspective of our vision lay volume, line, point, giving shape, distance, proportion. Movement, light, and time itself are also qualities of space. Space is otherwise inconceivable. These are the essences of sculpture and as our concepts of them change, so must our sculpture change" (I. Noguchi, quoted in S. Hunter, Isamu Noguchi, New York, 1978, p. 85). Hand carved out of a block of solid granite, Variation on a Millstone #5's rounded form is divided into four segments, each of which is hewn by Noguchi to a different degree. The alternating smooth and irregular planes dispel the monotony usually associated with granite, and when illuminated by the warmth of natural sunlight, the surface comes alive with tones of light and dark grays, blues and even greens captured within the stone. The hole which Noguchi pushes through the solid stone not only allows him to see "inside the stone" as he put it, but imbues the work with a lightness and sense of holistic balance that would not be present in a solid form. Early in his career Noguchi became interested in the work of Constantin Brancusi after seeing his sculptures at a gallery in New York in 1926. He worked as Brancusi's studio assistant in Paris for a period of several months in 1927 and under his tutelage produced Sphere Section, his first abstract work. Whilst in the French capital, Noguchi absorbed the prevailing tenets of modernist sculpture--the biomorphic shapes, smooth, highly polished surfaces and the attempts to integrate sculpture with its base, all ideas that would remerge in his later career. Throughout his life Noguchi worked in a number of different materials including wood, slate and marble, and during the late 1960s granite became one of his favorite mediums. As an artist he sought out materials that he felt matched the character of the places where he worked and during this period he spent a lot of time in Japan where he worked in basalt and granite, partly because he felt that like Japan, granite evoked nature, the earth, and a sense of longevity. "I have since thought of," he once said, "my close embrace of the earth as a seeking after identity with some primal matter beyond personalities and possessions. I wanted something irreducible, an absence of the gimmicky and clever" (I. Noguchi, quoted by S. Hunter, Isamu Noguchi, New York, 1978, p.257).