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.
Washburn, Gordon B. (Gordon Bailey), 1904-1983 Search this
1.7 Linear feet
Oral histories (document genres)
The papers of Maine abstract painter and interior designer Calvert Coggeshall measure 1.7 linear feet and date from 1920-1999, with the bulk of the material dating from 1965-1989. They consist of scattered biographical material, personal and business related correspondence, writings, exhibition files, design business files, printed material, and photographs of Coggeshall, his friends, and his work.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of Maine abstract painter and designer Calvert Coggeshall measure 1.7 linear feet and date from 1920-1999, with the bulk of the material dating from 1965-1989. They consist of biographical material, personal and business correspondence, personal writings, exhibition and business files, printed material, and photographs. The bulk of the material documents Coggeshall's professional work and his friendships with other artists.
Biographical material includes Coggeshall's personal address books and day planning notes, oral history transcripts, including an interview discussing his friendship with Walker Evans, a copy of his Guggenheim application and acceptance letters, and miscellaneous records.
Correspondence is predominantly in the form of cards, postcards, and short letters received from family and friends. These include correspondence from Coggeshall's father, children, his older grandchildren, and his mother-in-law, Frances Coralie Perkins. Other frequent correspondents include family friend Daphne Cox, artists Michael Lekakis, Loren McIver, Jack Tworkov, and museum director Gordon Washburn.
Personal writings consist of poetry notes and drafts and a short essay on church design.
Exhibition files concern Coggeshall's one man shows at the Betty Parsons Gallery during the 1970s and early 1980s, his retrospective at Bowdoin College in 1977, and his inclusion in shows at Artists Space, the Farnsworth Museum, and Jack Tilton Gallery.
Business files related to Coggeshall's interior design work consist of architectural renderings and blueprints, work proposals, invoices, and receipts. Some of the more significant projects include work done for Lisa de Kooning, Priscilla Morgan, Arthur Penn, and Shoji Sadao.
Printed material includes newspaper clippings, exhibition announcements from other artists, and a booklet showcasing abstract artists titled, "Artfully Taught."
Photographs are color and black and white prints of Coggeshall and his friends in his studio and outside his Newcastle, Maine residence. There are also black and white photographs of Coggeshall's early design work in furniture and fabric, as well as documentation of his gallery design work for the Albright Art Gallery.
The collection is arranged into 7 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1960-1990 (Box 1, OV 3; 8 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1920-1993 (Box 1, OV 3; 28 folders)
Series 3: Writings, 1965-1989 (Box 1; 5 folders)
Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1970-1992 (Box 1, OV 3; 12 folders)
Series 5: Business Files, 1973-1989 (Boxes 1-2, OV 4-5; 27 folders)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1950-1999 (Box 2, OV 3; 6 folders)
Series 7: Photographs, 1940-1985 (Box 2; 6 folders)
Calvert Coggeshall (1907-1990) worked as an abstract painter and interior designer primarily in Maine and New York City. From 1951 to 1978, he exhibited regularly with the Betty Parsons Gallery.
Born in Whitesboro, New York, Coggeshall started his career as an interior designer, working on commissions for clients in the New York City area. He later consulted on the interior designs for Henry Dreyfuss'line of cruise/cargo ships called American Export, popular from the 1940s through the 1960s. In the 1940s, he also worked with inventor Arthur Young to design interiors for the first full-sized scale of Bell helicopter models. By the 1950s, Coggeshall began splitting his time between painting and design work, though he continued to regularly consult and work on several architectural and interior design projects throughout the 1980s.
As a painter, his early monochromatic abstracts were influenced by his friend and abstract expressionist, Bradley Walker Tomlin. An early member of Betty Parson's stable of painters, Coggeshall was friends with other artists, including Jack Tworkov, Grace Hartigan, Katharine Kuh, Nora Sayre, Hedda Sterne, and Richard Tuttle. After summering and eventually moving to Newcastle, Maine in the 1960s, he began introducing color into his abstract paintings. and A major retrospective of his work was held at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Maine in 1977. In 1978, he received a Guggenheim fellowship in recognition of his work. Working out of his studios in Newcastle and Manhattan, Coggeshall continued producing abstract paintings into the late 1980s. Coggeshall died in 1990.
The papers of Calvert Coggeshall were donated in 2006 by his son Tomlin Coggeshall.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.