Copper in the Arts

April 2010

Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University Receives Two Major Bronze Sculpture Acquisitions

Victim Victim, 1962, by Isamu Noguchi

Photograph © 2010 The Isamu Noguchi

Foundation and Garden Museum, New York/Artists Rights Rights Society (ARS).

Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University recently announced the addition of major works to its collection, including two acquisitions of sculpture by artists Isamu Noguchi and Magdalena Abakanowicz.

The sculptures by Noguchi and Abakanowicz enhance a collection of 20th-century sculpture that already includes works displayed at the museum and throughout campus by artists such as Joan Miró, George Segal, Jacques Lipchitz, Gaston Lachaise, Elie Nadelman, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Henry Moore, and Jean Arp.

"Thanks to our longtime loyal friends and to new donors, I am happy to say that we added 160 works to the collection in 2009," said Thomas K. Seligman, director of the Cantor Arts Center. "Late last year, gifts enabled the acquisition of the Isamu Noguchi bronze sculpture Victim, one of the most significant acquisitions the Center has made during my 18-year tenure as director, plus the marvelous sculpture Sage E by Magdalena Abakanowicz, and an important series of prints by Warhol. With acquisitions such as these, we are exponentially raising the quality of the Center's collection, which will provide for future engaging and educational presentations."

A work by innovative Asian-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi has long been on the museum's wish list. Victim was cast shortly before Noguchi's death in 1988 and is number four in an edition of six bronzes that was first produced in 1962. The son of a Japanese poet and an American translator, Noguchi is well known for his work, which includes landscape architecture, stage sets, and mass-produced lamps and furniture. Born in Los Angeles and trained in Europe, Noguchi traveled to Japan during his lifetime and was exquisitely attuned to issues of Japanese-American relations.

In Victim, Noguchi wedded the characteristic simplicity of his design with a profound evocation of despair to create a sculpture that speaks silently and eloquently about the tragedy of war, devastation, and inhumanity. Victim has entered the collection thanks to donors Jill and John Freidenrich, Deedee and Burton McMurtry, Marilynn and Carl Thoma, and Bobbie and Mike Wilsey, and Cantor Arts Center funds.

Abakanowicz, born in Poland in 1930, has created sculptures that profoundly reflect the years of war and oppression that she witnessed as a child and in her life behind the Iron Curtain.

"Although her art stems from her personal history, the figures she creates partake of universal artistic language relating to themes of alienation, individualism, and community," explained Hilarie Faberman, curator of modern and contemporary art. " Sage E is one of a number of seated, headless torsos inspired by a group of sculptures originally made in burlap. When realized in bronze in 1990, the form was simplified - the hands were placed on the figure's lap and melded into the knees, making the subject more monolithic and iconic. As in many of Abakanowicz's works, the ceramic shell remains on the roughly textured surface; this patination gives the work the appearance of having just been excavated." The acquisition of Sage E was made possible by a bequest from Jane B. Miller and the Center's Modern and Contemporary Art Fund.

Sage E by Abakanowicz and Victim by Noguchi are on view in the museum's H. L. Kwee Galleria.


Cantor Arts Center Stanford University, 328 Lomita Dr., Stanford, CA, (650) 723-4177

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