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Artist: Noguchi, Isamu 1 of 1

The White Gunas (Abstract Sculpture), 1946

Isamu Noguchi

American, 1904-1988
White marble, 5 units
65-1/2 x 25-1/2 x 15-1/2 in. (166.4 x 64.8 x 39.4 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Museum purchase with funds donated by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fellows Acquisition Fund
© 2013 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

On view

This five-part marble construction gives literal form to the spiritual ideal of balance suggested by its title. In the Indian Samkhya school of philosophy, the world and human experience comprise three qualities or gunas: tamas (inertia, darkness, sloth), rajas(dynamism, passion, pain), and sattva (poise, illumination, joy). Enlightenment is attained by holding these qualities in equilibrium, a state signaled by the color white. Born in Los Angeles, Noguchi spent his childhood in Japan but made his career in Paris, serving as an apprentice to Brancusi, frequenting the Surrealists, and forging his own path as both a sculptor and a designer. A fascination with Eastern philosophies informed many of his works, like this one, whose spare, abstract forms invite contemplative—even meditative—viewing.

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Artist: Noguchi, Isamu 1 of 1