Browse by Title

Title: : 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

Noguchi was born in Los Angeles, then spent his early childhood in Japan, where his father was a professor and poet. After finishing his academic studies in America, Noguchi went to Paris in 1927. There he worked as Brancusi's apprentice and was inspired by the spirit of Surrealism. During the 1930s and 1940s he achieved an international reputation as a sculptor and designer. Noguchi's creative activities were animated by the philosophies of both East and West. "The White Gunas" is an expression of the three "gunas" (strands or qualities) in the Samkhya philosophy of India: "tamas" (darkness or motionlessness), "rajas" (desire or passion), and "sattva" (luminous goodness or clear thinking). The spiritual goal is to attain a state of balance so that all three qualities are in equilibrium. Then, and only then, is the philosopher "illuminated" by entering into a oneness with the three "gunas," all of which have become luminously white.

View Provenance

Audio Listen to an excerpt from the audio tour


Title: : 1 of 1