Isamu Noguchi, the American sculptor whose work graces museums, gardens and parks around the world, died Friday after a brief illness. He was 84.
Noguchi was best known by New Yorkers for his monumental public works, including a 28-foot red cube that stands on its corner in front of a lower Manhattan bank and the Sunken Garden at Chase Manhattan Plaza.At the time of his death, he had just returned from Italy and was working on several large marble sculptures. He also had a number of projects under way, including the Bayfront Park in Miami, and he had just been commissioned to do a major park for the city of Sapporo, Japan.
Allen Wardwell, director of the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in Long Island City, said Noguchi died at the New York University Medical Center at 2 a.m. of heart failure after a very short illness.
Noguchi is represented in the permanent collections of many of the world's major museums, including the Metropolitan, Whitney and Modern in New York, the art Institute of Chicago, the Detroit Art Institute, Seattle Art Museum and Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis.
He was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 17, 1904, but two years later, his parents took him to Tokyo. He returned alone to the United States in 1918 and went to school in Indiana.
Noguchi entered Columbia University as a pre-med student in 1922 but dropped out in favor of sculpture studies at the Leonardo DaVinci Art School, now defunct.
He moved to Paris in 1928 and became a studio assistant for Constantin Brancusi for six months. Noguchi returned to New York in 1929 and had his first one-man show at the Eugene Schoen Gallery.