The Marino Marini Foundation has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
"Gertrude", il piccolo cavallo is a quintessential example of Marini's most iconic theme. Drawing upon one of the oldest subjects in art, Marini transformed this timeless subject, projecting onto its forms and connotations a new and modern sensibility. Dating from circa 1952, Gertrude depicts the ongoing dissolution of the monumental solidity which had characterized Marini's representation of the horse in earlier sculptures. Only a few years earlier, Marini's horses had exuded a graceful presence as his riders sat steady on their backs, joined in a mystic union that spoke of tradition and stability. From 1951 onwards, however, Marini's work was dominated by a sense of climax and crisis, where the rider is often in the process of being unseated by his steed. Gertrude can be seen to depict the moment after this fall, as the horse remains upright, exuding a powerful sense of stability and pride.
For Marini, the increased drama and discord featuring in his horses and riders reflected a more universal crisis in the world. He wrote: 'Personally, I no longer have the intention of celebrating the victory of a hero. I would like to express something tragic, almost the twilight of humanity, a defeat rather than a victory. If you consider, one after another, my statues... you will notice that each time the rider becomes less capable of mastering his horse and the animal becomes increasingly intractable and wilder instead of yielding. Quite seriously, I believe that we are approaching the end of the world' (quoted in H. Read, P. Waldberg & G. di San Lazzaro, Marino Marini, Complete Works, New York, 1970, p. 491).
"Gertrude", il piccolo cavallo was named after Gertrude Bernoudy, the wife of the famous American architect William Adair Bernoudy. Gertrude was a keen collector and patron of artists such as Marini, Picasso and Moore and owned another version of the present work.