14 exquisite drawings of the female nude by Isamu Noguchi
"Noguchi’s Early Drawings: 1927–1932," an exhibition examining a critical time in the artist’s development of his own singular style, opens today at The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, New York. In an attempt to find his own creative identity following an influential apprenticeship with Constantin Brancusi in Paris from 1927–29, Noguchi (1904–88) experimented with drawings of the female nude, the subject to which he returned most often during this formative period. Featuring fourteen exquisite drawings, the presentation illustrates his openness to exploring many different artistic styles on paper.
Primarily known today for his sculpture and design objects, Noguchi was also a natural draftsman. His confidence in the medium is evident in the drawings on view, each assured and seeming to effortlessly emulate differing styles of established artists. The selection covers exercises from the life drawing classes he took at Academie Collarosi and L’Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris in 1927, as well as his distillations of signature strains of Modernism he encountered in Paris and New York, including traces of artists as diverse as Pablo Picasso, Tsuguharu Foujita, Elie Nadelman, Henri Matisse, Egon Schiele, and Aristide Maillol.
Throughout this early period in his career, Noguchi relied on drawing to keep his eye sharp for the portrait bust commissions by which he earned a living, even as he used it simultaneously as a tool for learning about abstraction. Like the busts, these drawings show his preternatural adaptability to sitter and circumstance and provide a fascinating glimpse of Noguchi coming into his own as an artist.