The Noguchi Museum

All works by Isamu Noguchi
Photographed by Luca De Santis at The Noguchi Museum

Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) 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. 

Noguchi, an internationalist, traveled extensively throughout his life. He 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, California, to an American mother and a Japanese father, Noguchi lived in Japan until the age of thirteen, when he moved to Indiana. In 1926, Noguchi saw an exhibition in New York of the work of Constantin Brancusi that profoundly changed his artistic direction. With a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Noguchi went to Paris, and in 1927 worked in Brancusi’s studio. Inspired by the older artist’s forms and philosophy, Noguchi turned to modernism and abstraction, infusing his highly finished pieces with a lyrical and emotional expressiveness, and with an aura of mystery.

Noguchi did not belong to any particular movement, but collaborated with artists working in a range of disciplines and schools. 

In 1985, Noguchi established and designed The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, in Long Island City, New York, for the display of what he considered to be representative examples of his life’s work. The Museum is located in a 1920s industrial building across the street from where the artist had established a studio in 1960. Noguchi found the neighborhood, with its skilled artisan shops and suppliers of stones and metals, highly conducive to his studio practice, the remote location offering the opportunity to maintain a monastic lifestyle with few visitors dropping in.

Other Stories from

New York