Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan

Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan

Rediscovering Japanese Aesthetics in the 1950s

Sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), of Japanese and American ancestry, sought to reintegrate art into people’s daily lives, as it was in the prehistoric or ancient remains he saw in his travels through Europe and Asia since 1949, while Saburo Hasegawa (1906-1957) was a leading figure in Japanese prewar abstraction as a painter, and as a theorist he studied Western modern art movements and the traditional arts of Japan, finding aspects common to both in abstract art. In May 1950 Noguchi set foot on Japanese soil, as the final destination of his travels, for the first time in 19 years, and had a fateful encounter with Hasegawa, who had known Noguchi’s work since 1948 and was so eager for dialogue that he planned to establish correspondence with the sculptor. They found astounding similarities and a powerful resonance between their shared interests and respective visions.

After this they became close friends, and Hasegawa served as an incomparable guide to the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Japan, including architecture, garden, calligraphy, painting, archaeological artifacts, the tea ceremony, Zen, and haiku, playing a crucial role in forming Noguchi’s understanding of the essence of Japanese aesthetics, while dialogues with Noguchi encouraged Hasegawa to extend the frontiers of his abstract art by working in traditional Asian media such as sumi ink, rubbings, and woodblocks.

This exhibition focuses on the friendship between these two artists, exploring what they saw, thought about, and aspired to do, through approximately 50 works by Noguchi and 70 by Hasegawa, particularly from the years of their association in the 1950s.

<Dates> Jan. 12 (Sat.)- Mar. 24 (Sun.), 2019
<Hours> 10:00-18:00
*Open until 20:30 on March 2 (Sat.), 2019
*Admission until 30 minutes before closing.



Minato Mirai 21 / Sakuragi-cho


Jan. 12 (Sat.)- Mar. 24 (Sun.), 2019




Ticket Info

Adults 1,500 yen