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Look for these recommended books to learn more about the life and work of Isamu Noguchi.

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Biographies and Monographs

A Sculptor’s World

Isamu Noguchi
Foreword by R. Buckminster Fuller
New preface by Bonnie Rychlak

Isamu Noguchi Foundation/Steidl Publishers, 2004

This long awaited new edition of Isamu Noguchi’s 1968 autobiography still remains the most comprehensive statement about the artist's work.

The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum

Isamu Noguchi

Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1987

A seminal collection of works selected by Noguchi. This book is illustrated, and perhaps most importantly, presented in his own words. The full tale of Noguchi's profound American duality is revealed and amplified. Here is an extraordinary view of the essence of Isamu Noguchi.

The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum Japan

Edited by Issey Miyake

The Isamu Noguchi Foundation of Japan, 2009

122 pages of color photographs of Noguchi's Garden Museum in Japan.  Includes essays by Noguchi, Dore Ashton and others in both Japanese and English.  Also features chronology, a brief history of the museum with maps, and a list of exhibitions and completed works.

Listening to Stone: The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi

Hayden Herrera

Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2015

Combining the personal correspondence of and interviews with Noguchi and those closest to him--from artists, patrons, assistants, and lovers--Herrera has created an authoritative biography of one of the twentieth century's most important sculptors. She locates Noguchi in his friendships with such artists as Buckminster Fuller and Arshile Gorky, and in his affairs with women including Frida Kahlo and Anna Matta Clark. With the attention to detail and scholarship that made her biography of Gorky a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Herrera has written a rich meditation on art in a globalized milieu. Listening to Stone is a moving portrait of an artist compulsively driven to reinvent himself as he searched for his own "essence of sculpture."

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Isamu Noguchi's Modernism

Amy Lyford

University of California Press, 2013

Building on themes developed in her new book, Isamu Noguchi's Modernism: Negotiating Race, Labor, and Nation, 1930-1950, Lyford will explore the complex interplay of community and identity in Noguchi's work of the 1930s and 40s. Although it is not always immediately apparent in the full range of his diverse artistic activity, Noguchi was always cognizant of, and deeply committed to, understanding and fostering art's social relevance. Weaving together new archival material, little-known or unrealized works, as well as those that are more familiar, Lyford offers a fresh perspective on Noguchi's relationship with the most important cultural and political issues of his time.

The Life of Isamu Noguchi: A Journey Without Borders

Masayo Duus
Translated by Peter Duus

Princeton University Press, 2004

Factually dense and lyrically written with presentations of many Duus’ vivid biography is a significant contribution to the literature on the life of Isamu Noguchi.

Spaces of the Mind: Isamu Noguchi's Dance Designs

Robert Tracy

Limelight Editions, 2004

Primarily focuses on Noguchi's collaboration with Martha Graham and other well known choreographers.  Narrates the story of the dance and Noguchi's creative process, with photographs of 37 different set designs.

Isamu Noguchi, Human Aspects as a Contemporary: 54 Witnesses in Japan and America


The Shikoku Shimbun 2002

This series of essays by 54 friends and colleagues of Noguchi's, including Yoshi Taniguchi, Thomas Messer, Issey Miyake, and Kenzo Tange, was published to commemorate the opening of the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in Japan.  Bilingual in English and Japanese.

Isamu Noguchi (Modern Masters Series)

Bruce Altshuler

Abbeville Press, 1995

A volume on the life and work of Noguchi compiled by Bruce Altshuler, the former Director of the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum. Provides a comprehensive chronology. 

Isamu Noguchi: Essays and Conversations

Edited by Diane Apostolos-Capadona and Bruce Altshuler

Harry Abrams, Inc., 1994

Noguchi discusses art, sculpture, dance, theater and his numerous collaborations.

Noguchi East and West

Dore Ashton

University of California Press, 1993

Written by Noguchi's friend and art critic Dore Ashton.  Follows Noguchi's struggle to reconcile his dual heritage in his artistic practice.  Also discusses his personal relationships in theater and the visual arts.

Children and Young Adults

Ballet for Martha: Making of Appalachian Spring

Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
Illustrated by Brian Floca

Flash Point, 2010

An illustrated children's book about the making of Martha Graham's dance, Appalachian Spring, with its set designed by Noguchi.

The East-West House: Noguchi's Childhood in Japan

Christy Hale

Lee & Low Books, 2009

An illustrated children's book about Noguchi's childhood years in Japan.  Deals with themes of the artist's struggle with his bi-racial identity and the development of his style, blending East and West.

Isamu Noguchi (Asian Americans of Achievement)

Caroline Tiger

Chelsea House Publications, 2007

A concise biography on Noguchi for young adults, including a chronology and a list of public collections.

Exhibition Catalogues

Isamu Noguchi/Qi Baishi/ Beijing 1930

The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum

5 Continents, 2013

While en route to Japan for his first time since childhood, Isamu Noguchi paid an unexpected visit to Beijing (then called Peking) from July 1930 to January 1931. A fateful encounter with a Japanese businessman and art collector, Sotokichi Katsuizumi (1889-1985), exposed the young artist to Katsuizumi's small collection of scrolls by the poet, seal carver, and traditional ink painting master Qi Biashi (1864-1957). Noguchi was entranced by what he saw, and asked to be introduced to Qi Baishi whom he observed and studied with.

On Becoming an Artist: Isamu Noguchi and His Contemporaries, 1922-1960

Amy Wolf

The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, 2010

This catalogue illuminates Noguchi's friendships, mentorships and collaborations in celebration of the artist's experimentations and influences. Included are artists Gutzon Borglum, Constatin Brancusi, and Arshile Gorky, choreographers Martha Graham, Erick Hawkins, and Merce Cunningham, and important figures such as Buckminster Fuller, Florence Knoll and George Nelson, among others.

Isamu Noguchi: Between East and West

Essays by Kyriakos Koutsomallis, Jenny Dixon, Bonnie Rychlak, N.P. Paissos, Karin Higa, and Stephen Antonakos

Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation/The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum/Umberto Allemandi & C., 2010

Published in conjunction with the first major exhbition of Noguchi's work in Greece, this catalogue explores Noguchi's life and work, inluding his travels in Greece, work in marble and stone, and the themes of mythology in his sculpture and work for the stage.  Includes a chronology and bibliography.

Design: Isamu Noguchi and Isamu Kenmochi

Essays by Bonnie Rychlak, Hitoshi Mori, Nina Murayama, and Tetsuo Matsumoto

The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum/Five Ties Publishing, 2008

This exhibition catalogue discusses Noguchi's collaboration with Isamu Kenmochi and their contributions to modern design.  Includes a detailed chronologies of the lives of Noguchi and Kenmochi and the production of Akari lamps.

Isamu Noguchi: A Sculpture for Sculpture

Alison De Lime Greene

Museum Fine Arts Houston, 2006

Features essays on the history of the Cullen Sculpture Garden at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and its creator, Isamu Noguchi.   Discusses all 23 sculptures in the garden.

Isamu Noguchi: Master Sculptor

Valerie J. Fletcher
Essays by Dana Miller and Bonnie Rychlak

Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution/Whitney Museum of American Art/Scala Publishers 2004

In this extensive essay, Fletcher examines Noguchi’s use of many different materials and explores the reasons underlying his diverse practice. She seeks to dispel the previous limited interpretations of Isamu Noguchi as a Japanese American artist, instead redefining him as one of the truly global artists of the modern era.

Noguchi in Paris: The Unesco Garden

Marc Treib

William Stout Publishers/Unesco Publishing, 2003

Written by Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley Marc Treib, this book focuses on Noguchi's work on the Unesco Garden in Paris and its influences.

Isamu Noguchi and Modern Japanese Ceramics: A Close Embrace of the Earth

Louise Allison Cort and Bert Winther-Tamaki
Essays by Bruce Altshuler and Miimi Ryu

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 2003

A study of Noguchi's ceramics and post-war Japanese ceramicists who were inspired by or collaborated with him.

Zen No Zen: Aspects of Noguchi's Sculptural Vision

Bonnie Rychlak

The Isamu Noguchi Foundation, Inc., 2002

Catalogue for the 2002 exhibition of Noguchi sculptures featuring a Zen aesthetic, most of which he created during the last twenty years of his life.

Isamu Noguchi: Sculptural Design


Vitra Design Museum, 2002

A catalogue documenting the exhibition of 75 of Noguchi's works.  This book demonstrates the diversity of his oeuvre, including his set designs, furniture designs, and environmental sculpture.

Relocated: Twenty Stones from Japan

Essays by Shoji Sadao, Thomas Messer, and Bonnie Rychlak

The Isamu Noguchi Foundation, Inc., 2001

Catalogue for the 2001 exhibition of twenty Noguchi works shipped from his former studio in Japan.  Includes photographs and statements on Noguchi's work in granite, basalt and andesite.

Isamu Noguchi: A Study of Space

Ana Maria Torres

The Montecelli Press, 2000

A comprehensive study of more than 75 of Noguchi's public works.  This volume discusses Noguchi's collaboration with Martha Graham and Buckminster Fuller.