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Head of a Young Girl

© Estate of Isamu Noguchi / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Estate of Isamu Noguchi / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Estate of Isamu Noguchi / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Estate of Isamu Noguchi / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Estate of Isamu Noguchi / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Estate of Isamu Noguchi / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Isamu Noguchi

American, 1904-1988

Head of a Young Girl, 1931

white ceramic

Edition: 1/3

overall: 9 3/8 x 7 x 7 1/2 inches (23.81 x 17.78 x 19.05 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Bequest of A. Conger Goodyear, 1966

1966:9.38

More Details

Inscriptions

signature / back of neck and under chin / I. N. 1/3 1931
monogram / back of neck and under chin / I inside a circle

Provenance

purchased from the artist by A. Conger Goodyear, New York, 1940;
bequeathed to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1966

Class

Sculpture (visual work)

Work Type

Sculpture (visual work)

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

Isamu Noguchi's abstract sculpture explore issues of space, shape, and surface. It is with these notions in mind that he approaches the human figure, depicting its emptiness and fullness as if it were a landscape. In Head of a Young Girl the lines created in the process of molding the ceramic become the cartography of the face. They are the witness of its birth, revealing the process behind it, like scars from the creative moment when the artist poured the ceramic into the mold.

When it was first conceived, the sculpture was resting on a pillow, peaceful in her stillness, which explains the quiet look on the Japanese girl’s visage. Her tightly closed mouth and eyes and the attenuation of all drastic lines signal a light and dreamy state. The absence of noticeable hair gives this work a peculiar and abstracted shape. The expression is what is essential. When considered in a vertical position, the face seems to be meditating. What is she thinking about? “What is this person?” Noguchi asks, “What is this face?”

Even though this particular artwork has been cast in many materials, the Albright-Knox’s version is unique: it is Noguchi’s first ceramic work and the only ceramic portrait he ever made.

Object label from 2007 installation

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