White Sun

Lobby of Firestone Library
Isamu Noguchi
American, born 1904

Drawing on both Eastern and Western cultural traditions, Isamu Noguchi's sculptures appear to possess "effortlessness," a virtue Chinese artists once valued above perfection.

Together with the numerous individual sculptures that have emerged from Noguchi's various studios throughout his long and distinguished career, the artist has been involved in major environmental projects, especially since the early 1950s. Among the most notable id the Sunken Courtyard of 1960-1964, fashioned in dazzling white Vermont marble, that accompanies Gordon Bundshaft's Beinecke rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. The Putnam Collection's White Sun is related to this work, as Noguchi explains: "Within this composition...[was] a disque representing the sun...The sun gave me the most bother...There must have been at least a dozen of them that I made -more or less complex...The White Sun at Princeton is one of the other studies that I made. This was carved by me in Italy at the same time that I made on somewhat different version of the study which is at the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington [National Museum of American Art]...in gray marble...One [other study]...is in front of the Seattle Art Museum and was carved in black Brazilian granite in Japan. It has been my conceit to think that I have spanned the continent with a giant White Sun in the East and Black Sun on the western shores of America. May I say that Princeton's White Sun is among my favorites."

White Marble
Diameter: 2 feet 4 1/2 inches
Executed in 1966; installed in 1970

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Text based on
Living with Modern Sculpture
by Patrick J. Kelleher.

Concept developed by Mary Jane Lydenberg, Annual Giving
Illustrations by Heather Lovett
Edited by Laurel Masten Cantor

Published by the Office of
Communications/Publications, Stanhope Hall
through special arrangement with
the Princeton Art Museum

All rights reserved
Copyright (c) 1982 by
the trustees of Princeton University