A five-month apprenticeship in 1927 with the renowned Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi led Noguchi to his own abstract sculptural language. Kouros betrays Noguchi’s preoccupation in the mid-1940s with organic patterns and shapes rendered on a monumental scale. A great feat of imagination and engineering, it comprises eight interlocking pieces of pink Georgian marble, secured by a perfect balance in weight and two strategically placed pins. This precariousness evokes Noguchi’s uncertainty about the state of the world after World War II, which he characterized as "the encroaching void." The title refers to a type of ancient Greek sculpture showing lone standing male figures, often striding forward into space. His specific point of reference was a famed example in The Met collection (32.11.1).
the artist, New York (1945–53; sold on May 16, 1953 to MMA)
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Fourteen Americans," September 10–December 8, 1946, no. 76 (lent by the artist).
Poughkeepsie, N. Y. Vassar College. "Fourteen Americans," January 5–26, 1947, no. 76.
Palm Beach, Fla. Society of the Four Arts. "Fourteen Americans," February 7–March 7, 1947, no. 76.
Cincinnati Modern Art School. "Fourteen Americans," March 20–April 17, 1947, no. 76.
San Francisco Museum of Art. "Fourteen Americans," May 1–June 1, 1947, no. 76.
Baton Rouge. Louisiana State University Museum of Art. "Fourteen Americans," June 15–30, 1947, no. 76.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "American Painting, 1754–1954," December 18, 1953–September 1954, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Three Centuries of American Painting," April 9–October 17, 1965, unnum. checklist.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Tribute to a Curator: Robert Beverly Hale," November 16, 1978–March 4, 1979, extended to March 18, 1979, unnum. checklist.
New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "The Third Dimension: Sculpture of the New York School," December 6, 1984–March 3, 1985, unnumbered cat. (p. 46).
Canberra. Australian National Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," March 1–April 27, 1986, unnumbered cat. (p. 65).
Brisbane. Queensland Art Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," May 7–July 1, 1986, unnumbered cat.
New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Isamu Noguchi: Master Sculptor," October 28, 2004–January 16, 2005, unnumbered cat. (p. 105).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Making The Met, 1870–2020," August 29, 2020–January 3, 2021, unnumbered cat. (fig. 7).
Thomas B. Hess. "Isamu Noguchi '46: An Art News Contemporary Contour." Art News 45 (September 1946), pp. 35, 36, 50, ill.
Jo Gibbs. "Fourteen Moderns at the Modern." Art Digest 20 (September 15, 1946), p. 30, ill. p. 5.
Carlyle Burrows. "Art of the Week: New Talents At Modern Museum, and Others: Card Players." New York Herald Tribune (September 15, 1946), p. 18.
Carlyle Burrows. "'Fourteen Americans' Exhibited—A Shifting Viewpoint: Small One-Man Groups Seen at Museum of Modern Art." Christian Science Monitor (October 5, 1946), p. 12.
Parker Tyler. "Fourteen Minus One." View 7 (Fall 1946), pp. 35–37, ill.
"Speaking of Pictures: Japanese-American Sculptor Shows Off Weird New Works; Noguchi has Odd Versatility." Life 21 (November 11, 1946), p. 12–13, ill. (color).
Jacques Schnier. Sculpture in Modern America. Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1948, p. 51, pl. 128.
Howard Devree. "2 Centuries of Art in U.S. on Display." New York Times (December 18, 1953), p. L26, ill.
Robert Goldwater with René d'Harnoncourt. Modern Art in Your Life. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1953, pp. 26–27, ill.
Herrymon Maurer. "Noguchi." Fortune (September 1953), p. 119, ill.
Dorothy Grafly. "The Weathervane: Two Centuries of American Painting." American Artist 18 (April 1954), ill. p. 41, dates it 1953.
Addison Franklin Page. "Isamu Noguchi...The Evolution of a Style." Art in America 44 (Winter 1956), pp. 24, 65, ill. p. 25, dates it 1945–46.
Robert Beverly Hale. "The American Moderns." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (Summer 1957), ill. p. 21.
Katharine Kuh. "An Interview with Isamu Noguchi." Horizon 11 (March 1960), pp. 107–8, ill.
Katharine Kuh. The Artist's Voice: Talks with Seventeen Artists. New York, 1962 [reprint of Ref. Kuh 1960].
"Art in America—Four Centuries of Painting and Sculpture: A Show Proposed for the New York World's Fair; Catalogue: 20th Century Sculpture." Art in America 50 (Fall 1962), p. 47, ill. p. 66.
Albert TenEyck Gardner. American Sculpture: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1965, pp. 176–77, ill.
Edward B. Henning. "Two New Contemporary Sculptures." Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 54 (September 1967), pp. 221, 227 n. 3, fig. 2.
Isamu Noguchi. Isamu Noguchi: A Sculptor's World. New York and Evanston, Ill., 1968.
James R. Mellow. "The Point of View That Sanctifies." New York Times (May 5, 1968), ill. p. BR7.
M.C. "Isamu Noguchi's Sculpture and His Artistic Philosophy." Japan Times (March 27, 1968), p. 10.
Marshall B. Davidson. The American Heritage History of the Artists' America. New York, 1973, p. 396, ill., dates it 1944–45.
Barbara Rose. American Art Since 1900. Rev. and expanded ed. (1st ed., 1967). New York, 1975, pp. 260, 304, fig. 11-24.
Wayne Andersen. American Sculpture in Process: 1930/1970. New York, 1975, pp. 47–48, 50, 87, fig. 13.
John I. H. Baur in Jean Lipman and Helen M. Franc. Bright Stars: American Painting and Sculpture Since 1776. New York, 1976, p. 19.
Jean Lipman and Helen M. Franc. Bright Stars: American Painting and Sculpture Since 1776. New York, 1976, p. 130, ill. (color), dates it 1944–45.
Rosalind E. Krauss in200 Years of American Sculpture. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, 1976, pp. 176-77, fig. 258.
Sam Hunter. Isamu Noguchi. New York, , pp. 79, 83–84, 231, ill. (studio photo and overall).
Diane Botnick and Nancy Grove. The Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi, 1924–1979: A Catalogue. New York, 1980, pp. 35–36, no. 204.
Lowery S. Sims in "Twentieth Century Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1980–1981. New York, 1981, p. 71.
Seymour Howard. "Definitions and Values of Archaism and the Archaic Style." Leonardo 14 (Winter 1981), p. 43, fig. 2.
Diane Apostolos-Cappadona. "Stone As Centering: The Spiritual Sculptures of Isamu Noguchi." Art International 24 (March–April 1981), pp. 79, 82, ill, p. 80.
Suzanne Muchnic. "Abstract Expressionism: Humanoid Sculpture from the 3rd Dimension." Los Angeles Times (January 13, 1985), p. O81.
Theodore F. Wolff. "A Hard Look at American Avant-garde Sculptors." Christian Science Monitor (January 3, 1985), p. 30, ill., dates it 1944–45.
Michael Lloyd in20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., Australian National Gallery. Canberra, 1986, p. 65, ill. (color).
Isamu Noguchi. Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum. New York, 1987, p. 248.
Edward Lucie-Smith. Sculpture Since 1945. New York, 1987, p. 42, fig. 52, dates it 1944–45.
William Wilson. "A Mod Fan Dance at The Met." Los Angeles Times (February 8, 1987), p. 5.
Robert Pincus. "Renowned Sculptor Dies: Noguchi's Work Combined East and West." San Diego Union (December 31, 1988), p. A8, dates it 1944.
William S. Lieberman, ed. Twentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1989, p. 234, fig. 1.
Edward M. Gomez. "The Passing of a Purist." Time (January 16, 1989), ill. p. 37 (color).
Katherine Hoffman. Explorations: The Visual Arts Since 1945. New York, 1991, p. 76, fig. 1.56, dates it 1944–45.
Barbara Burn, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 2nd rev. ed. (1st ed., 1983). New York, 1994, p. 457, no. 45, ill. (color).
Bruce Altshuler. Isamu Noguchi. Vol. 17, Modern Masters, New York, 1994, pp. 49–50, colorpl. 52.
Isamu Noguchi. Isamu Noguchi: Essays and Conversations. Ed. Diane Apostolos-Cappadona and Bruce Altshuler. New York, 1994, pp. 132–33, ill., dates it 1944–45.
Martica Sawin. Surrealism in Exile and the Beginning of the New York School. Cambridge, Mass., 1995, p. 316, ill. p. 317.
Jonathan Fineberg. Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being. New York, 1995, p. 41, fig. 2.21, dates it 1944–45.
Joan Pachner. "Noguchi, Isamu." Dictionary of Art: 23 Neuhuys to Pandit Seu. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 23, New York, 1996, p. 175.
Stephanie D'Alessandro. "Figure, 1946 by Isamu Noguchi." Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 25, no. 1 (1999), p. 14.
Mark Daniel Cohen in Richard Kostelanetz. "Burchfield, Charles." A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes. 2nd ed. (1st ed., 1993). New York, 2000, p. 445.
Ana Maria Torres. Isamu Noguchi: A Study of Space. New York, 2000, p. 75.
Elizabeth Forsyth Harris. "Sculptural Theatre: Isamu Noguchi's Sets for Martha Graham." PhD diss., University of Virginia, 2000.
Anna C. Chave inIsamu Noguchi: Sculptural Design. Ed. Jochen Eisenbrand, Katarina V. Posch, and Alexander von Vegesack. Exh. cat., Vitra Design Museum. Weil am Rhein, 2001, p. 41.
Amy Lyford. "Noguchi, Sculptural Abstraction, and the Politics of Japanese American Internment." Art Bulletin 85 (March 2003), pp. 137–39, 146–49, 151 n. 45, fig. 1 and ill. front cover (color).
Masayo Duus. The Life of Isamu Noguchi: Journey without Borders. Princeton, 2004.
Valerie J. Fletcher. Isamu Noguchi: Master Sculptor. Exh. cat., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. London, 2004.
Lance Esplund. "Museums: Drawing Fire from Stone." New York Sun (October 29–31, 2004), p. B17, dates it 1946.
"Exhibition of the week: Isamu Noguchi: Master Sculptor." Week (November 19, 2004), p. 26, dates it 1946.
Jane Harris. "Object Lesson: Isamu Noguchi’s Masterful Sculptures Take Center Stage at the Whitney." Time Out New York (November 11–17, 2004), p. 63.
Grace Glueck. "Noguchi's Exploration of the 3-Dimensional World." New York Times (October 29, 2004), p. E37, dates it 1946.
Jo Lauria. Ruth Duckworth: Modernist Sculptor. Ed. Tony Birks. Exh. cat.Hampshire, U.K., 2005.
Gonzalo Doval, ed. Metamorphosis in Clay: Noguchi in Kamakura. Exh. cat., Fundacion ICO. Madrid, 2006.
Mark Dean Johnson inAsian/ American/ Modern Art: Shifting Currents, 1900–1970. Ed. Daniell Cornell and Mark Dean Johnson. Exh. cat., Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young Museum. San Francisco, 2008.
Kim Carpenter. "Organic Utilitarianism: The Sculptures of Isamu Noguchi." Sculpture Review 57 (Spring 2008), p. 31, ill. p. 30.
Jenny Dixon. Isamu Noguchi: Between East and West. Exh. cat., Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros. Turin, 2010.
Shaina Larrivee and Alex Ross, eds., ed. Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonné (dINCR). Online resource [https://archive.noguchi.org/CR/About], 2011 (ongoing), no. 204, ill. (color).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York, 2012, p. 420, ill. (color).
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