Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930
February 22 – May 25, 2014
Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930 brings together for the first time the work of two of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, Isamu Noguchi (American, 1904-1988) and Qi Baishi (Chinese, 1864-1957). Comprising drawings, ink paintings, calligraphic works, and sculptures from the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, and private and public collections, it presents thirty-one works by Noguchi and twenty-five by Qi Baishi. The exhibition and its accompanying publication document the period of six months that Noguchi spent in Beijing and shed new light on the little-known relationship between the two artists.
In 1930, at the age of twenty-six, Isamu Noguchi travelled from Russia to Japan in order to meet his father. On the way, he took up residence in Beijing where he studied ink painting under the tutelage of one of the greatest exponents of the medium in the twentieth century, Qi Baishi. This would result in a cycle of more than one hundred works produced by Noguchi with brush and ink, titled Peking Drawings.
Strong, daring compositions… not just a prelude to Noguchi’s mature abstract sculpture, but a whole satisfying body of work in themselves.
Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times
“A feast of flora and figure, melancholy and mark-making perfected.”
Amanda Manitach, City Arts
“The Peking ink paintings are fascinating for their doubleness… Each of these paintings is two paintings, one on top of the other. Or maybe three, your eye separating the two, then synthesizing them back into one.”