Noguchi was intelligent, articulate, and sensitive. During World War II, at a dark time in U.S. history, he voluntarily entered a relocation camp for Japanese-Americans in Arizona—and then was unable to get permission to leave. After seven months, he was granted liberation. "I was finally free," he said gratefully. ". . . I resolved henceforth to be an artist only."
His relationship with Herman Miller came about when a design of his was used to illustrate an article written by George Nelson called "How to Make a Table." It became his famous "coffee table," originally introduced in 1947 and reissued in 1984.
Other notable commissions include the gardens for the UNESCO Building in Paris, five fountains for the Supreme Court Building in Tokyo, and a high-relief mural for the Abelardo Rodriguez Market in Mexico City.
Noguchi died in 1988 after a brilliant career that spanned more than six decades. For someone who was told by his first art teacher at age 15 that he'd "never be a sculptor," he left an amazing legacy.
Gold Medal, American Institute of Arts and Letters, 1977
Brandeis Creative Arts Award, 1966
New York Architectural League Gold Medal, 1965
First Prize (Logan Medal), 63rd Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, Art Institute of Chicago, 1959
Guggenheim Memorial Fund Fellowship, 1927