The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum is pleased to present The Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonné, the authoritative listing of the artistic practice of Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988). The current digital publication is the result of many decades of research into documenting the artwork Noguchi produced during his long and remarkable career. The earliest focused research initiatives into his work began in the mid-1970s, at which time Noguchi was still actively producing artworks in his studios across three continents: in Long Island City, New York; in Mure, Japan; and in Pietrasanta, Italy. In 1980, these research efforts culminated in the publication of The Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi, 1924–1979: A Catalogue (Garland, 1980), by Nancy Grove and Diane Botnick. For several decades following its publication, this meticulously researched volume, which was compiled in consultation with the artist himself, remained the most comprehensive listing documenting Noguchi’s artistic practice. In fact, Grove and Botnick’s impressive achievement continues to form an essential point of reference for much of the continuing research of the current project.
With Noguchi’s sudden death in December 1988, research and inventory efforts took on a new emphasis, and came to include new projects to document Noguchi’s studios in New York, Japan, and Italy. With the support of the Foundation’s Board, research efforts continued throughout the next decade, expanding to include the cataloguing of artworks outside the Foundation’s own collection. Toward the end of the 1990s, Neil Printz joined the cataloguing project as the first Catalogue Raisonné Editor, working closely with Bonnie Rychlak, former assistant to the artist and Noguchi Museum curator at the time. She later assumed the role of Managing Editor when Printz left the project.
Although the original plan for the next phase of the Catalogue Raisonné was as a multivolume traditional print publication, as early as 2003, under the leadership of its new director, Jenny Dixon, the Foundation began to reenvision Catalogue Raisonné as a digital publication. When the Foundation was rechartered as The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum in 2004, the Catalogue Raisonné remained central to its mandate. In 2007, the financial support of the Henry Luce Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts made possible the partial digitization of the Museum’s photography archives, thus providing additional momentum to the transition toward online publication.
First launched in 2011, the digital Catalogue Raisonné (dINCR) is now the authoritative resource for research and general interest around Noguchi’s artistic practice. Shaina Larrivee, who joined the project in 2011 in the role of Project Manager, oversaw the initial launch of the dINCR, as well two subsequent updates to the site, in 2012 and 2015, which included significant new research. In 2014, Larrivee became Managing Editor of the project, and was succeeded by Alex Ross when he assumed the role in 2015. Also in 2015, a second generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation made possible the item-level cataloguing and digitization of the Museum’s archives. The scope of the grant also included the development of a customized database that has been designed to accommodate this significant amount of newly digitized material and to also make it accessible through the Museum’s redesigned website.
This larger redesign of the Museum’s archival technology systems has provided an opportunity to update and better integrate the dINCR into the Museum’s companion research resources. In the latest evolution of the dINCR project, completed research for various object, bibliographic, and exhibition entries will be linked to associated archival documentation held in The Noguchi Museum Archive. New research and recent discoveries, as well as updates to current research, will be made available on a regular basis, thereby making the dINCR the most current and comprehensive source for understanding the artistic practice of Isamu Noguchi.
The Trustees and staff at the Museum join us in expressing our gratitude to the many people who have made this project possible over the years. Major research has been contributed by the late Karin Higa, Stephanie Peterson, Nicole Smith, Naoaki Nakamura, and Allison Adler. Technical development and collaboration has been provided by Whirl-i-Gig, and led by the Museum’s Archivist, Janine Biunno. The Museum is grateful to the above and to the many other researchers and scholars for their contributions, as well as to the collectors, museums, galleries, auction houses, and various other institutions around the world who have opened their homes and galleries to our research.
At this point, we most particularly wish to thank Tsuneko and the late Shoji Sadao for their generous and vital financial support of the project. We also extend our thanks the Dedalus Foundation for supporting the first The Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonné Research Fellowship, and the Henry Luce Foundation, whose support has made the dINCR such a rich resource, befitting the remarkable artistic achievement of Isamu Noguchi. We are grateful to the Board’s Oversight Committee, led by Trustee Peter Jachym, whose enthusiasm for the Catalogue Raisonné’s digital format has been crucial to its development.
We hope that what follows will help you to gain further insights into the extraordinary work and artistic career of Isamu Noguchi.
The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum
The Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonné