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79

Isamu Noguchi

An Important Table

Estimate:

700,000

to
- 1,000,000 USD

Property from a Private American Collection

Isamu Noguchi

Isamu Noguchi

An Important Table

An Important Table

Estimate:

700,000

to
- 1,000,000 USD

Lot sold:

1,109,000

USD

Property from a Private American Collection

Isamu Noguchi

An Important Table


1945-1947

marble, mahogany, spun aluminum

18 1/2 x 38 1/4 x 26 1/4 in. (47 x 97.1 x 66.6 cm)

Overall in very good condition. Held in the same family collection since the 1950s, this masterwork by Isamu Noguchi is in very well-preserved original condition throughout. The variegated and free-form marble stone, hand-sculpted mahogany and spun aluminum bowl wonderfully complement each other in a rare and early example of this exceptional design by the celebrated sculptor. The marble surface exhibits superb veining and displays hues ranging from ice white and soft silver to various shades of dark grey that dramatically enhance the free-form composition of the tabletop. The stone presents with two small particulate inclusions to one side of the tabletop likely inherent to the stone and not visible unless closely inspected. The marble presents with light surface scratches consistent with gentle use and scuffing to the surface around the central hole, consistent with the placing of the aluminum bowl. The marble rests atop a plywood surface in very good functional condition, with some extremely minor abrasions to the edges which are not visible when the tabletop is installed. The three hand-carved mahogany legs exhibit a stunning wood grain and, when viewed firsthand, great nuance in coloration with shades of rich russet brown. Each leg displays unique sculptural attributes that speak to Noguchi’s practice as a skilled wood sculptor. When closely inspected, the mahogany surfaces present with occasional and minimal imperfections and pinholes inherent to the wood selection. The mahogany presents with very light surface scratches consistent with gentle use and some occasional faint white paint marks which are scattered and not visually distracting. The tapered leg presents with a small area of shallow abrasions to the foot measuring approximately 1 x 1/4 inch and not visually distracting. The spun aluminum bowl is removable and allows for a variety of uses, from a simple container to a flower pot and incense holder. The aluminum presents with light surface scratches, light soiling and minor oxidation marks consistent with age and gentle use. 

An important and newly rediscovered work by Noguchi, the present table embodies the extraordinary fusion of sculpture and design and constitutes one of the most exciting functional pieces by the artist to ever appear at auction. 


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.

Private Collection, New York, by the 1950s  
Thence by descent to the present owner
"Fashion and Function are Combined: New Contemporary Designs Have Their Own Elegance," New York Herald Tribune, October 3, 1948 (for a period photograph of the model)
''On and off The Avenue: About the House," The New Yorker, February 12, 1949, p. 67 (for a review of the model retailed at Bloomingdale's, New York)
Ann Pringle, ''A Sculptor Plans a Home," New York Herald Tribune, February 15, 1949, p. 14 (for a discussion of the model and other free-form tables designed by Noguchi)  
Nancy Grove and Diane Botnick, The Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi, 1924-1979: A Catalogue, New York, 1980, no. 809 (for a period photograph of the model)
Bonnie Rychlak, et. al., Design: Isamu Noguchi and Isamu Kenmochi, New York, 2007, cover page and p. 40 (for another example of the model with a pink marble top)
Nicola Scevola, “Private Noguchi, Weston, Connecticut, USA,” Casa Vogue, April 2009, no. 31, p. 125 and cover (for another example of the model with a pink marble top)
Deborah A. Goldberg, Isamu Noguchi, Patent Holder: Designing the World of Tomorrow, exh. cat., The Noguchi Museum, New York, 2014, p. 3 (for another example of the model, recorded as item no. 809 C2 in the Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonné)
Amy Auscherman, Sam Grawe and Leon Ransmeier, ed., Herman Miller: A Way of Living, London, 2019, p. 169 (for a period photograph of the model in the Herman Miller showroom, Los Angeles, circa 1950)