Isamu N. (1904-1988)
Born in California, Noguchi became one of the 20th century’s most critically acclaimed sculptors. He was apprenticed to sculptor Gutzon Borglam (the creator of Mount Rushmore National Memorial) before briefly attending Columbia University as a premedical student. His love of art prevailed and he left Columbia, instead taking night classes at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School. After just three months he held his first exhibit of plaster and terracotta sculptures and later worked on commissions for portrait busts in addition to winning the Logan Medal of the Arts.
During his fascinating lifetime Noguchi had a brief affair with Frida Kahlo and was accused by the FBI of espionage, the investigation for which ended when the American Civil Liberties Union intervened.
Primarily a sculptor, Noguchi also worked on other art projects - producing set designs for Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, and creating furniture designs. In 1947 he joined together with George Nelson, Paul László and Charles Eames. They produced a catalogue of modern furniture which included the iconic Noguchi table. In 1987 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.