An interview of Isamu Noguchi conducted 1973 Nov. 7-Dec. 26, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
NOVEMBER 7, 1973 session: Noguchi discusses his family background; growing up in Japan; returning to the United States in 1917; his identity as an artist; Gutzon Borglum; Columbia University and studying pre-med; attending Leonardo da Vinci Art School; apprenticing to Onorio Ruotolo; quitting Columbia to become a sculptor; Guggenheim Fellowship in 1927; J.B. Neumann; Alfred Stieglitz; George Grey Barnard; James Earle Fraser; Brummer and the Brummer Gallery; studying at Chaumiere and Collarosi; working with Brancusi; meeting Sandy Calder in Paris; Stuart Davis; Morris Kantor; Andrée Ruellan; his work, "Sphere"; reacting against Brancusi; Eugene Schoen's; his Carnegie Hall studio; Michio Ito; Martha Graham; Buckminster Fuller; traveling in China and Japan; meeting Chi Pai Shi; John Becker; his works, "Play Mountain," "Monument to the Plow," "Monument to Ben Franklin," and "Orpheus" for Balanchine; designing for the stage; Audrey McMahon; Harry Hopkins; Holger Cahill; Mexico; Diego Rivera; Miguel Covarrubias; and the Artists Union.
DECEMBER 10, 1973 Session: His reaction to the Spanish Civil War- avoided direct involvement; Stuart Davis; Gorky; Andre Breton; David Hare; Marcel Duchamp; John Graham; Julien Levy; his artist friends dying at the peak of their success; Leger; Stirling Calder; associating himself with the laboring class; Buckminster Fuller; being American; expanding the possibilities of sculpture; his Associated Press Building project in Rockefeller Center, it being done in stainless steel instead of bronze; John Collier; Japanese-American Citizens League; organizing Nisei Artists and Writers Mobilization for Democracy; Jeanne Reynal; going to Poston, Ariz. to assist with American Indian Service camp under John Collier and becoming an internee there; returning to New York in 1942; Bollingen Foundation; trip around the world in 1949; and Philip Guston.
DECEMBER 18, 1973 session: Best work in studio; reaction against expressionism; artists protesting against the Establishment; his objection to the WPA, influenced by William Zorach; exhibiting in group show called, "Fourteen Americans at the Museum of Modern Art"; show at Egan Gallery in 1949; accepting art in its most aesthetically pure form without reference to social issues; movement in Japan since war to get away from refinement of Japan; Yoshiro Hiro responsible for Gutai and the happenings; his work, "Monument to Heroes," using bones; his work takes years to do; materials used in his work; his work, "Cronos"; doing theater stage sets for the Library of Congress including, "Appalachian Spring" and "Herodiade"; wants a given space which he can call his own and do something with it, has to be a work of art.
DECEMBER 26, 1973 Session: Show with Charles Egan in 1948 arranged by de Kooning; applying to the Bollingen Foundation to write a book on leisure, which was never written; traveling to Italy, Egypt, and India for two years; being removed from the New York scene with Franz Kline and de Kooning; his light objects; sculpture as environment; respect for material; Mondrian and his art deriving from nature; his time in Japan in 1931; visiting Japan in 1951; working in stone; projects in Japan; Taniguchi; Antonin Raymond; designing Japanese gardens; discovery of Zen; Hasegawa Saburo; Skidmore; Hans Knoll; Edison Price; Italy in the 1960s; Peter Gregory; Henry Moore; Louis Kahn; UNESCO; Noguchi Foundation and Plaza Company; Shoji; Eleanor Ward; and his autobiography, "A Sculptor's World."
Biographical / Historical:
Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) was a Japanese American sculptor based in Long Island City, New York.
Originally recorded on 4 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hrs., 25 min.
These interviews are part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art records, 1883-1962, bulk 1885-1940. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Brown Foundation. Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
John Storrs' extensive correspondence spans over fifty years and documents his personal and professional life. There are extensive letters to his wife Marguerite Storrs, including love letters written before they were married and letters written to her during his visits to the United States. Letters written by Marguerite to John are located series 2.2. John Storrs' love letters to other women, including Yolande de Manziarly, are found within his general correspondence.
General correspondence primarily consists of Storrs' correspondence with friends, colleagues, art critics and historians, patrons, art organizations, and galleries. Where they exist, Storrs' drafts of outgoing letters are interfiled with letters he received in a chronological arrangement. Storrs was friends with many artists, architects, performers, and writers in both the US and Europe. Among the artists he corresponded with are Berenice Abbott, Hendrick Andersen, George Biddle, Jerome Blum, Arthur Bock, Louis Bouche, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Walter Cole, Arthur Davies, Jessica Dismorr, Katherine Dreier, Marcel Duchamp, Leo Friedlander, Marsden Hartley, Jean Helion, Gertrude Lambert, Fernand Leger, Jacques Lipchitz, Man Ray, Richard Recchia, Edwin Scott, Charles Sheeler, Joseph Stella, Maurice Sterne, Alfred Stieglitz, Leopold Survage, Jacques Villon, and William and Marguerite Zorach. Other notable correspondents include architects Edward Bennett, Paul Phillippe Cret, R. Buckminster Fuller, and Alfonso Iannelli; writers and publishers Sherwood Anderson, Louise Bryant, William Bullitt, Max Eastman, Jane Heap, Paul Scott Mowrer, and Gertrude Stein; art critics Phyllis Ackerman, Frank Crowninshield, and Maurice Raynal; art patrons Arthur Aldis, Mildred Bliss, and Charles Worcester; friend and curator Alice Roullier; and dancer Maud Allan. A portion of the general correspondence is in French.
A small amount of correspondence with galleries, museums, and curators concerns exhibitions and sales of Storrs' artwork. Also found is correspondence concerning his participation in art organizations. Researchers should note a portion of Storrs' business correspondence, especially regarding his major sculpture commissions and his dealings with Downtown Gallery, are found in Series 3: Personal Business Records.
See Appendix for a list of correspondents from Series 2.1.
Smith, Howard E., 1912, 1913, 1914, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1926, undated
Societe de Saint-Jean, 1917
Sowerby, Leo, 1918
Spaulding, W. B., 1910
Sprague, Albert A., 1921
Stearns, Harold E., 1932
Stein, Gertrude, undated
Stein, Rita, undated
Stella, Joseph, 1929
Stephens, E. A., 1949
Stephens, Lucille Chandler, 1925
Sterne, Maurice, 1925
Sterner, Carl John, undated
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1930
Stinson, Roxie R., 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, undated
Stora, M. & R., 1926
Storgo Laboratories (David Goldsmith), 1936, 1937
Storrs, Frank Herbert, 1924, 1926
Storrs, John W., 1918
Storrs, Louis, 1939
Storrs, Ronald, 1925, 1927, 1928
Sueur, G., 1926
Survage, Leopold & Germaine, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1937, 1945, undated
Tancrede, Robert, 1945
Tartarin, A., 1930
The Tavern, 1928
Taylor, Catherine, 1911, 1912
Texas Centennial Exposition, 1936
Thanlow, Ch. L. & Ingrid, 1919, undated
The Seven Arts Magazine, 1918
Thomas, Maxime, 1930
Tillson, Rex, 1923
Toledo Museum of Art, 1938
Tooker, Marion F., 1911
Toulouse, Roger, 1949, 1955, undated
The Transatlantic Review, 1924
Truman, Harry S., 1945 (letter to)
Turnbull, Yale, 1925, 1926
Tyson, Russell, 1922, 1927
Vallette, S., 1920
Valsuani, Claude, 1919, 1922, 1933, 1951, 1955
Vestal, Donald B., 1931
Villon, Jacques, undated
Vinton, Warren Jay & Helen Augur, 1924
Voccia, Luigi, 1914
Vogelgesang, Shepard, 1935
Wacker, Fred, 1955
Walpone, Marguerite, 1918
Ware, Mary, undated
Waring, P. A., 1921
Warwick, Katherine Murray, 1916
Webster, H. A., 1920
White, Charles E., 1932, 1933
Whitney Museum of American Art, 1933
Williams, Frederick, 1924
Williams, Walter R., 1909, 1911, 1912, undated
Wilson, A. J., 1935
Wolf, Walter, 1923
Worcester, Charles H., 1928, 1929, 1945, undated
Wright, Alan, 1910
Wright, Katherine, 1921
Zamoyski, August, 1921
Zorach, William & Marguerite, 1922, 1924
This series contains access-restricted medical records.
John Henry Bradley Storrs papers, 1890-2007, bulk 1900-1956. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
This series consists of the business and personal correspondence of Edith Gregor Halpert and the Downtown Gallery. For the most part, this series is general business correspondence concerning routine activities of the Downtown Gallery, including the American Folk Art Gallery and the Daylight Gallery, both operated by the Downtown Gallery on the same premises. Included are correspondence with clients, employees, other galleries, and colleagues concerning sales, loans, purchases, appraisals, and so forth; arrangements for shipping, framing, photography, reproduction permissions, and insurance; and gallery housekeeping and improvements, ordering of supplies, and other administrative concerns.
Also included is personal correspondence of Edith Gregor Halpert. There are letters and greeting cards from nieces, nephews, and other relatives; correspondence with longtime friends, including some who were art collectors, museum curators, or museum directors; and correspondence concerning upkeep and improvement of her Newtown, Connecticut, country home and entertaining there.
See Appendix A for a list of selected correspondents from Series 1
Letters (with enclosures) are arranged chronologically, with those of the same date alphabetized by name of correspondent; undated material is arranged alphabetically, followed by unidentified correspondents and letters bearing illegible signatures.
Box numbers provided in the Container Listing are approximate.
Appendix A: List of Selected Correspondents in Series 1:
Names and titles indicated in this list are those that appear on the letters. Where appropriate, terms have been standardized and cross-referencing provided. Because filing is not always consistent, researchers are advised to check both the name of an individual and the institution that he or she represented.
Abate Associates, Inc., 1956
Abbot and Land, 1965
Abbot, B. Vincent, 1944
Abbot, Bernice, 1957
Abbot, John E., 1945, 1948
Abbot Laboratories, 1950, 1952
ABC Employment Agency, 1951
Richard Abel and Co., Inc., 1968
Abendroth, Robert W., 1966-1967
Abercrombie and Fitch Co., 1962
Abilene Museum of Fine Arts, undated, 1949, 1954
Abingdon Square Painters, 1965
Abraham and Straus, 1930, 1960, 1965-1966, 1968
Abraham, Mae C., 1965
Abrahamsen, Mrs. David, 1962
Abramowitz, M., 1958
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1958-1960, 1965-1966, 1968-1969
[incomplete; without signature], undated, 1953, 1961, 1967, 1968
The microfilm of this collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art website.
The Downtown Gallery records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws. Prior to publishing information regarding sales transactions, researchers are responsible for obtaining written permission from both artist and purchaser involved. If it cannot be established after a reasonable search whether an artist or purchaser is living, it can be assumed that the information may be published sixty years after the date of sale.
Downtown Gallery records, 1824-1974, bulk 1926-1969. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing, microfilming and digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.