In Isamu Noguchi's luminous sculpture Capital #2, undulations of polished marble are stilled, if only for a brief moment, to imitate one of the most recognizable forms in classical architecture, the capital of a column. The first incarnation of this subject, Capital was executed in 1939 and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
This biomorphic interpretation of an antiquarian design element illustrates Noguchi's appreciation of his artistic lineage and his ability to refashion classic designs for a modern audience. By using ancient Greek sculpture as a model for his own work, which he also did with his renowned sculpture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Kouros, Noguchi places himself in the timeline of artists who create intemporal works of art (F. Hartt, Art: A History of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, vol. 2, New York, p. 1013).
A precursor to the sculptural pieces he developed for his series of Japanese style gardens in the 1960s and 1970s, Capital #2 would fit seamlessly in such a contemplative setting. The inwardly sloped curves on the top of the sculpture create a meditative reflecting pool when filled with the water from a gentle rainfall.