Isamu Noguchi, the Los Angeles-born son of a poet, Yone Noguchi, and a writer, Leonie Gilmour, grew up in Japan and in America. His sculpture bears the influence of both cultures and is a special amalgam of Eastern and Western sensibilities.
One of the earliest Guggenheim Fellowship recipients, Noguchi went to Paris in 1927 and had the good fortune to become the studio assistant of Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957). Noguchi's first mentors in America were the academic sculptors John Gutzon Borglum (1867-1941) and Onorio Ruotolo (1888-1966), but his association with Brancusi introduced the young artist to new ideas about materials and workmanship, form and monumentality. The relationship of sculpture to its surroundings became important to Noguchi at this time and he conceived of his later environmental works as gardens or playgrounds, accessible to the viewer. Also under Brancusi's tutelage in Paris, Noguchi abandoned clay modeling and chose stone as his primary medium, believing that its irreducible nature made it an honest material. Noguchi developed many of his finished works from more malleable plaster working models that he prized for their immediacy and for the evidence of his hand left behind on the surface.
The present piece appears to be a one-of-a-kind plaster model that was later fabricated in pink and white marble and in bronze. For a marble version in the collection of the Art Museum of Princeton University see Nancy Grove and Diane Botnick, The Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi, 1924-1979, A Catalogue, (New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1980), pl. 750a.
Among the finest contemporary sculptors of international stature, Isamu Noguchi is represented in museum, corporate and private collections worldwide, and a museum devoted to his work, the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, is located in Long Island City, New York.