A Rediscovered Masterpiece by Isamu Noguchi

Isamu Noguchi Important and Unique dining table for Mr. & Mrs. Milton Greene $1,000,000–1,500,000

One of only a few tables designed by Noguchi, this exceptional, sculptural dining table will be sold at auction on June 7th.

This unique dining table was designed by Isamu Noguchi for Mr. & Mrs. Milton Greene. It was made alongside a Cloud sofa and ottoman for the young couple’s residence in Weston, Connecticut in 1948-1949. The table was well documented in the early 1950s; Milton Greene was a fashion photographer and he often used the Noguchi furnishings in photo shoots for Look magazine, LifeCharm and several other publications. In about 1962 Milton Greene and his second wife sold their Connecticut residence and moved to New York City. At that time, Mrs. Greene sold the Noguchi dining table to an acquaintance, as the table was both a reminder of Milton’s previous life but also too large for city living. The table has remained quietly with its second owner all of these years.

Model Maggie McNamara seated upon the Noguchi table, September 1950.
Photographed by Milton H. Greene ©2018 Joshua Greene • archiveimages.com | © 2018 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The table features Noguchi’s mastery of material and form. The work has a biomorphic tabletop that is hand-carved in Georgia marble, an expressive pink stone that is rare in Noguchi’s oeuvre though found in important pieces such as Kouros (1945) which is in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The table top has a central cut out for a spun aluminum bowl that is inserted from the underside using a slot-and-turn mechanism, a device employed in several of Noguchi’s designs. The top rests upon an asymmetrical wooden base and dramatically cantilevers out over three hand-carved wooden legs, none of which are the same: one leg curves in, one leg curves out, and the third ends in a sphere. A related coffee table featuring a similar leg arrangement was made by Noguchi for his sister Ailes Gilmour Spinden. The overall composition of this functional piece is a direct extension of Noguchi’s sculptural aesthetic, effortlessly blending the distinction between art and design.

Everything is sculpture... Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture.

Isamu Noguchi

Noguchi finishes the design on site, seen here carving the legs of the Cloud ottoman. March 1949.

Isamu Noguchi created three major furniture pieces — a dining table and Cloud sofa and ottoman — for the photographer Milton Greene and his first wife, Evelyn Franklin. Noguchi visited the Greene’s home and created the pieces specific to the interior and he even made last minute adjustments to the forms upon delivery. These events and more were captured on film by Milton Greene who often used his Noguchi furnishings as a stage for his subjects, fashion models and celebrities.

Photographed by Milton Greene

This work will be fully documented in our Important Design catalog. The work will be featured alongside period photographs by Milton Greene and an essay by the scholar Deborah Goldberg. Pre-order your copy today! 

Order Catalog

Important Design

Featuring An Important and Unique dining table by Isamu Noguchi

For more details about
this work, please contact:

312 563 0020

Preview / New York
9 May – 7 June 2018
11 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday

Auction / Chicago
7 June 2018
12 pm central