- Isamu Noguchi
- Variation on a Millstone #3
- 19 1/2 by 22 1/2 by 4 in. 49.5 by 57.2 by 10.2 cm.
- With Base: 63 3/4 by 23 7/8 by 23 7/8 in. 161.9 by 60.6 by 60.6 cm.
- Executed in 1963, this work is mounted on a steel and granite base that replaced the original base which was presumably wood.
Acquired directly from the artist circa 1970
Nancy Grove & Diane Botnick, The Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi 1924 - 1979: A Catalogue, New York, 1980, cat. no. 559, illustrated, p. 102
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
The present work by Isamu Noguchi, for whom carving was a metaphor for human confrontation with the temporal, historical, geological and astronomical intersections, illuminates one of Noguchi's central themes – the relationship between art and nature. Noguchi chose granite as a preferred medium for its inherent natural qualities, maintaining its original surface as it emerged from the earth. Variation on a Millstone #3 demonstrates Noguchi's fascination with natural materials and carving which were first inspired by his youth in Japan and later by his ultimate mentor, Constantin Brancusi, with whom he studied in Paris in 1927. Noguchi admired the simplicity of Brancusi's work and its powerful yet reductive qualities, amalgamating natural materials and a primitive sensibility. Noguchi's first subsequent sculpture in stone was a marble sphere with a quarter of its mass removed – the epitome of formal reduction – mildly recalling the form of the present work. As such, Variation on a Millstone #3 is a classic paradigm of everything Noguchi sought to encompass with his works – the relationship between man and material, elimination of the inessential through formal reduction, and the endless quest "to view nature through nature's eyes," (Bruce Altshuler, Isamu Noguchi, New York, 1994, p. 14).