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Marino Marini

Cavallo e Cavaliere

Ref. SK782

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Year 1945

Category Painting on paper

Technic Gouache et encre

Height x Width (cm) 25,4 x 33,6

Signature Signed lower right

Geographical zone Europa

Certificate FONDAZIONE MARINO MARINI (Maria Teresa Tosi), daté du 24 septembre 2015.

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in Pistoia in Tuscany in 1901, Marino Marini is an Italian sculptor, painter, and engraver. Trained at the Fine Arts Academy in Florence from the age of sixteen, he leaned on Etruscan and Northern-European sculpture traditions, which inspired him to develop themes of the feminine nude, dancers and jugglers, portrait busts, and a horse and rider.

Today known first and foremost as a sculptor, Marini was primarily a painter and engraver until 1928. His first engravings, dating to the 1920s, reveal a certain influence of the Secession, even though this was absent from his environment (the Florentine artistic milieu at the time was turned towards Cubism and Futurism).

Marini, following the example of Piero della Francesca and Masaccio, masters of pure simplicity, proclaims himself a descendent of the Etruscans. It is this sensibility, according to the art historian Guido Giuffrè, that enabled Marini to ‘change tradition into modernity like no other in the twentieth century’.

In 1929, Marini succeeded Arturo Martini as professor of sculpture at the School of Art at Villa Reale in Monza (near Milan). From 1930, he went to Paris frequently, where he met González, Maillol, Picasso, Braque, and Laurens, as well as Campigli, De Chirico, and many other Italian artists.

His first dedicated exhibition took place in 1932 at Galerie Milano in Milan.

At the Quadriennale in Rome in 1935, Marini earned the first prize in sculpture, though he had not yet created his most emblematic theme — that of the equestrian figure which appears in a low-relief sculpture in 1936. During a trip to Germany in 1934, Marini was inspired by the Medieval equestrian statue of a knight at Bamberg Cathedral. The evolution of this theme that followed reflects the context of the period: the outbreak of violence generated by the Second World War.

At first, Marini’s knights are calm and seated: the figures are solid and the lines soft, the corpulence of the horse and knight relatively slender. In about 1937, the horse rears and the rider becomes agitated, even unstable. In 1940, while Marini was a professor at the Academy Brera in Milan, the forms simplify in an archaic spirit, and the proportions become tightened. Some works even demonstrate a symbiosis between the knight and horse, as if the artist wished to merge their bodies into the representation of a centaur.

‘My equestrian statues express the anxiety caused by the events of this century: the horse’s angst grows in each subsequent work; the knight becomes more and more weary, he has lost his control over the animal and the catastrophes which cause him to succumb are similar to those which destroy Sodom and Pompeii. I try to make visible the final stage of the dissolution of a myth, that of heroic and victorious individualism, the humanist myth of virtuous man.’ (Marini, 1972.)

Marini lived in Switzerland from 1943 until 1946, and in Ticino, he was in contact with Germaine Richier, Fritz Wotruba, and Alberto Giacometti. He then returned to Milan. In the late 1940s, his works depict a stationary horse with a tensely stretched neck, pinned-back ears, and open mouth. But his horses and their riders take on even more dynamism in 1950, the year he spent partly in New York.

In contrast, Marini explored the theme of Pomona, ‘a solid humanity; abundance and great sensuality. The [Pomones] represent a radiant season wrecked by the tragic occurrence of war.’ Of these carved goddesses Marini also said: ‘By forming these figures more and more unified, static, and at the same time free and detached, I tried to attach myself to volumes. But this search for volumes is not the only objective of a sculptor: he must never forget that what counts in a sculpture is its poetry.’

Beginning in 1948 Marini executed numerous paintings, some of which were colourful and nearly abstract. He earned the City of Venice prize for an Italian sculptor at the Biennale in 1952.

He died in Viareggio in 1980 at the age of 79.

Two Marino Marini museums have opened, one in Florence and the other in Pistoia.

(Martine Heudron)

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Sale Sotheby's, New York, November 16 1989,lot 232. read more >>

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Umeda Gallery, Osaka (Japan) ; Private collection, Japon. read more >>

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