Isamu Noguchi
American , 1904-1988

Bell Image, 1956-1957
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederic Ossorio
Period: 20th c
Classification: Sculpture
Dimensions: 30 7/8 x 9 3/8 x 7 7/8 in. (78.42 x 23.81 x 20 cm) Base: 3 1/2 x 13 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. (8.89 x 34.29 x 23.5 cm)
Signatures, Inscriptions and Markings v
Not inscribed
Catalogue Raisonné: Examined 8/18/2014
Provenance v
Stable Gallery, New York, consigned 1958; Cordier & Ekstrom Gallery, New York, consigned after 1961; Mr. and Mrs. Frederic E. Ossorio; Vassar College Art Gallery., donated 1977; current collection, ongoing 1993, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center
Published References v
Noguchi: An Exhibition of Sculpture. Exhibition Pamphlet. Fort Worth, Texas: Fort Worth Art Center, 1961; Noguch, Isamu. Isamu Noguchi: A Sculptor's World. New York and Evanston, Illinois: Harper & Row, 1968; Botnick, Diane and Nancy Grove,. The Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi, 1924-1979: A Catalogue. New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1980. Isamu Noguch: Bronze and Iron Sculpture. Exhibition catalogue, New York, Pace Gallery, 1988
Exhibition History v
"Noguchi: An Exhibition of Sculpture," Fort Worth Art Center, May 1961-July 1961; "Isamu Noguch - Bronze & Iron Sculpture," Pace Gallery, May 13, 1988-June 11, 1988
Description v
Noguchi was born in Los Angeles of a Japanese father and American mother but grew up in Japan from the age of two. He returned to America in 1918 for his higher education. After a brief period of medical studies at Columbia, Noguchi decided to become a sculptor, a career to which he devoted himself full-time in 1924. Bell Image (Polygenisis) was created when Noguchi began to spend more of his time in Japan after 1950 and is inspired by his exposure to the dotaku bells, which are used for rituals and serve also as emblems of wealth and power. It also draws on the forms of early Haniwa idols of Japan’s prehistory. This sculpture was created at a time when Noguchi was working on a number of large commissions, including the gardens for the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and the 2500 birthday of the Buddha in New Delhi, but was executed, together with a number of other cast iron works by the artist, in Japan.
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