Isamu Noguchi - The Collector: Icons of Design New York Tuesday, December 16, 2014 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    A. Conger Goodyear, Old Westbury, New York, 1939
    New York Institute of Technology, gifted circa 1975-1980
    Dr. Alexander Schure, circa 1994
    Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York, circa 2002
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2003

  • Literature

    “Recent Work by Edward D. Stone,” The Architectural Forum, July 1941, pp. 13-14, 16
    House and Garden, October 1941, front cover
    James Ford and Katherine Morrow Ford, Design of Modern Interiors, New York, 1942, p. 53
    Edward Durell Stone, The Evolution of an Architect, New York, 1962, p. 63
    Nancy Grove and Diane Botnick, The Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi, 1924–1979: A Catalogue, New York, 1980, p. 28, cat. no. 162
    Lisa Phillips and David Hanks, et. al., High Styles: Twentieth-Century American Design, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1985, p. 119, fig. 3.33
    Derek E. Ostergard, George Nakashima, Full Circle, exh. cat., American Craft Museum, New York, 1989, p. 52
    Bruce Altshuler, Noguchi, New York, 1994, p. 51, fig. 53
    Barbara Haskell, American Century Art & Culture, 1900 - 1950, New York, 1999, p. 292, fig. 563
    Alexander von Vegesack, et al., eds., Isamu Noguchi, Sculptural Design, exh. cat., Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, 2001, p. 114
    Surreal Things, Surrealism and Design, exh. cat., Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2007, p. 92
    Garrett White, Genevieve Cortinovis, Amanda Thorpe, Isamu Noguchi and Isamu Kenmochi, New York, 2007, p. 25
    Amy J. Wolf, On Becoming an Artist: Isamu Noguchi and his Contemporaries, exh. cat., Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, Long Island City, 2011, p. 110
    Hicks Stone, Edward Durell Stone: A Son’s Untold Story of a Legendary Architect, New York, 2011, p. 79, fig. 79
    Caroline Zaleski, Long Island Modernism 1930-1980, New York, 2012, p. 136

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Goodyear Table is listed as artwork number 162 in The Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonné.

    Phillips would like to thank The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum and Deborah A. Goldberg, Ph.D, New York, for their assistance cataloguing the present lot.


    After nearly two decades spent producing figurative works in bronze and terracotta, and more specifically a long series of commercially successful portrait sculptures for clients and friends including Buckminster Fuller, Clare Booth Luce, George Gershwin, and Berenice Abbott, among others, Isamu Noguchi hinted at a return to abstraction in the 1930s, at first with costume and set designs for choreographers Ruth Page and Martha Graham, as well as with larger, semi-abstract works including 1000 Horsepower Heart and the Ford Fountain for the New York World’s Fair. During a formative stay in Paris on a Guggenheim Fellowship, during which he was Constantin Brancusi’s studio assistant for six months in 1927, Noguchi had produced an early series of formal, almost rigid abstractions under the influence of his mentor.

    Then in 1939, at the request of A. Conger Goodyear, President of the Museum of Modern Art, Noguchi boldly returned to abstraction with the design of the present unique lot—Noguchi’s first table—for the living room of Goodyear’s weekend house in Old Westbury, New York. More than furniture design, the Goodyear Table heralded Noguchi’s fertile developments of the 1940s, including his “interlocking” sculptures, the direct descendants of the present lot. In addition, the Goodyear Table beget three important later commissions (pictured here) of the 1940s, among them a laminated and carved side table now in MoMA’s permanent collection for the museum’s architect Philip L. Goodwin, and a vast, wing-shaped dining table for William A. M. Burden, trustee and later President of MoMA. The last of the three “MoMA” tables, it was destroyed by fire in 1999. A coffee table for Mr. and Mrs. Samuel C. Dretzin was sold at Christie’s, New York, for $2.9 million in June 2012.

    Comprising stack-laminated rosewood and Herculite plate glass, the Goodyear Table mimicked the texture and materials—stacked bricks, plate glass windows—of the building for which it was commissioned, the Goodyear House by Edward Durrell Stone, who, together with Philip Goodwin, was at work on the design of MoMA. Paul Goldberger, former architecture critic at the New Yorker, has called the Goodyear House “one of the most important houses built in the United States between the two world wars.” In that sense it is of equal stature with its namesake table, which served as a platform not only for its owner but also for its maker, who embarked from there on a half-century journey deeper into abstraction.


The Goodyear Table, for A. Conger Goodyear, Old Westbury, New York

Stack-laminated rosewood, original Herculite plate glass.
28 3/4 x 83 x 34 3/8 in. (73 x 210.8 x 87.3 cm)
Glass top etched with HERCULITE/PLATE GLASS/AS G.

$2,000,000 - 3,000,000 

Sold for $4,450,500

Contact Specialist
Alexander Payne
Worldwide Head of Design
+44 20 7318 4052

Alex Heminway
Director of Design
New York
+1 212 940 1268

The Collector: Icons of Design

New York Auction 16 December 2014 5pm