1986 Kyoto Prize Laureates

Arts and Philosophy

Arts(Painting, Sculpture, Craft, Architecture, Photography, Design, etc.)

Isamu Noguchi

/  Sculptor

1904 - 1988

Commemorative Lectures

The Road I Have Walked


11 /12 Wed

Place:Kyoto International Conference Center


The Beauty of the East and West


11 /13 Thu

13:30 - 17:30

Place:Kyoto International Conference Center

Achievement Digest

An Artist Who Fused Eastern and Western Tradition not only in Sculpture but also in Broad Areas of Physical Design

One of the greatest masters of modern times, exerting great influence on many artists, his activities are not limited to the ordinary domain of sculpture, but spread throughout the fields of stage sets, industrial design, garden design, etc.

*This category then was Category of Creative Arts and Moral Sciences.

*This field then was Field of Arts; Plastic Arts (Painting, Sculpture, Architecture).


Isamu Noguchi is one of the most creative, productive, and active artists of the twentieth century. He has so far produced a great number of outstanding works of art. Regardless of his advanced age he is still opening up one new world after another, which deserves our admiration. This year he was chosen as the only American artist for the International Venice Biennale Exhibition, where he showed his inexhaustibly flourishing creativity.

Mr. Noguchi is primarily a sculptor, but his activities are not limited to the ordinary domain of sculpture. He has developed his fertile world extravagantly in the fields of stage sets, industrial design, garden design, pottery, etc. Some examples of his outstanding activities in the monumental arts, which show his versatile creativity with relation to architecture, are a garden for the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, a garden of sculptures for the Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York, a fountain for the Osaka Expo, a playground for the Children’s World in Tokyo, an indoor garden of sculptures for the Sougetsu Hall in Tokyo, and a garden of sculptures for the Houston Art Museum. He also shows the delicate sense of a plastic artist in his lighting apparatus designs.

Born of an American woman and a Japanese poet, Yonejiro Noguchi, he has merged the traditions of these two countries in his poetic sentiment, full of subtle nuance, and his formativeness, full of vigor. He is not only a great poet of forms but also a plastic artist whose handling of space is full of imagination, and a sophisticated designer of living environments. In his works of art we find a strong intent to establish order in space and delicate tenderness toward people, sometimes with a sense of humor.

When we confront his works of sculpture or when we stand in a garden of his design, their strength overwhelms us and gives us a rich feeling of serenity. He has visited Japan as well as other Asian and European countries, and continues to be very active in various countries around the world, enriching the legacy of humankind and exerting great influence on many artists. Isamu Noguchi is evidently a man worthy to be called one of the greatest masters of modern times.


Began to study sculpture at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School in New York
Traveled to Paris on a Guggenheim Fellowship
Designed sets for Martha Graham's dance performances
Established Long Island City Studio
Opening of the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in Long Island City
Represented U.S.A. at Venice Biennale
Selected Awards and Honors
First Prize (Logan Medal), 63rd Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, Art Institute of Chicago
New York Architectural League Gold Medal
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, New School for Social Research
Major Works
Garden, Keio University, Tokyo; Two bridges, Hiroshima
Garden, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
Fountain and Plaza, Detroit Civic Center
"Playscapes" playground, Atlanta
"California Scenario" garden, California

Profile is at the time of the award.