The All-Encompassing Vision of Sculptor Isamu Noguchi

“Everything is sculpture,” Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi once said. “Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture.”

Noted for merging Western and Eastern influences, Noguchi expanded the definition of sculpture with creations that ranged from portraiture and abstract sculpture to graceful meditation gardens and sprawling landscapes. One of his most prominent works of the 1980s was a Japanese-inspired garden for a corporate center in California that included elements representing the local topography.

Art director Derry Noyes wanted to make sure that the stamps issued in 2004 on the 100th anniversary of Noguchi’s birth captured as many aspects of the artist’s work as possible, from the abstract to the representational and from the functional to the purely artistic.”I wanted to show the breadth of Noguchi’s work,” she says. “I was thrilled to be able to show an Akari lamp, because he was so famous for those, and I think it’s important for the public to see it alongside a very accessible portrait and some of his other, more abstract works. I think you really get a sense of Noguchi’s range, as well as his eye for detail.”

The resulting stamps highlight the work of a masterful artist whose creations prompt even the most casual viewer to pause and examine them further. “My hope,” says Noyes, “is that people will see these stamps and understand that his work really speaks to a broad range of human experience.”

If you could design a set of Noguchi stamps, which of his pieces would you include? Let us know in the comments.

Reproduced with permission of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation Inc., New York.

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About USPS Stamps

The Postal Service™ is proud of its role in portraying the American experience to a world audience through the issuance of postage stamps and postal stationery. Each year the Postal Service issues commemorative stamps reflecting subjects of national significance and appeal. More than 160 years of stamp development has yielded an incredible archive of imagery and commentary reflecting American culture and society. Even in this fast-changing world, stamps are still a versatile and convenient method of postage. And stamp collecting is a lifetime hobby that is fun and educational for all ages. Stamp collecting is easy to start without a big investment. It is also a great way to learn about the world and its many wonders, opening the door to an exciting universe of history, science, geography, the arts, technology, and sports. Our mission is to provide universal service that is prompt, reliable, efficient, affordable, and self-sustaining. Throughout its history the Postal Service has grown with the nation, binding it together by ensuring that everyone, everywhere, has the same ability to communicate regardless of technological change.