To make this sculpture, Isamu Noguchi used nine pieces of stone that fit together like a puzzle without glue or screws. He called it Humpty Dumpty after the nursery rhyme. Imagine what would happen if it fell! Noguchi created this work in 1946, shortly after the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, where he spent part of his childhood. Perhaps the sculpture’s title and composition suggest the fragile state of life. Look closely at the sculpture. What can you see that reminds you of the character, Humpty Dumpty?
Even though they’re meant for little kids, nursery rhymes can communicate big ideas—or funny ones!—that speak to everyone. Choose a nursery rhyme that you love or make up your own. Use pieces of cardboard and scissors to create a sculpture inspired by the rhyme you chose! Cut slits in the cardboard to join the pieces of your sculpture together. Add drawing and color to your sculpture if you like.
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Isamu Noguchi, Humpty Dumpty, 1946. Ribbon slate, 59 × 20 3/4 × 17 1/2in. (149.9 × 52.7 × 44.5 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art; purchase 47.7a-e © 2017 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York