Noguchi in Seattle
In 1967 Seattle was one of three cities to be awarded a grant by The National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities in the amount of $45,000 to go towards a public sculpture. Seattle was paired with the artist Isamu Noguchi who visited the city in the spring to scout a location—arriving at Volunteer Park in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Noguchi envisioned creating a fluid and timeless work that would appear to move as the sun does, creating a kind of dialogue between the real sun and the artwork itself…Black Sun reflects the artist’s interest in circular shapes and in outdoor environments for sculpture. Noguchi rendered the stone to echo the organic forms found in nature.
—City of Seattle
The sculpture intended for the spot was initially 30 inches in diameter but after visiting the site, Noguchi proposed two alternate and larger scale versions. Increasing the scale also meant increasing the budget and The Seattle Art Museum, directed by Dr. Richard Fuller at the time, was able to match the funds of the grant to make a 9-foot sculpture a reality.
Black Sun was carved in Japan from a ten-by-ten-foot block of black granite sourced from Brazil. Noguchi teamed with the stonecutter, Masatoshi Izumi; it took eleven stonecutters eight months to complete the sculpture and in 1969 it traveled overseas to the United States.
The present lot is a maquette made in an edition of fifty-seven in 1971. Noguchi gifted eight of these examples to people who helped support the realization of the project; the remaining examples were sold in The Seattle Art Museum's gift shop to help fund the museum.