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    Sale 12147

    Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

    17 November 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1246

    Marino Marini (1901-1980)

    Piccolo giocoliere in policromia

    Price Realised  


    Marino Marini (1901-1980)
    Piccolo giocoliere in policromia
    with raised initials ‘M.M’ (on the top of the base)
    bronze with brown patina, hand-chiseled and painted by the artist
    Height: 19½ in. (47 cm.)
    Conceived in 1953

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    The Marino Marini Foundation has confirmed the authenticity of this work.


    Acquired by the family of the present owner, circa 1970.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the amended literature for the present lot:
    G. Carandente, intro., Marino Marini, Catalogue Raisonné of the Sculptures, Milan 1998, p. 269, no. 382 (another version illustrated, p. 268).

    Pre-Lot Text


    The following hand-chiseled and painted bronzes depicting giocolieri (jugglers) were executed in 1953 when Marini was at the height of his creative power. The artist’s exploration of the dissolution of monumental solidity—which had characterized his representation of the horse in earlier sculptures—was reaching its climax. Only several years earlier, Marini's horses were shown in graceful union with their riders sitting steadily on their backs. But from 1951, they began to depict various stages of the rider being thrown from his steed and tumbling to the ground in crisis. The Miracolo (miracle) series, executed between 1952 and 1970, includes some of the most poignant examples of dramatically dissolved form that expresses Marini’s anxiety for the human condition (fig. 1).
    At the same time, however, Marini was absorbed by the antithesis of the drama and discord imbued in his horses and riders. Giovanni Carandente, the author of the Marini catalogue raisonné, has written, “Marino was simultaneously trying another motif that was dear to him, a joyful one this time; the result was the series of nine small sculptures of jugglers and acrobats, veritable masterpieces for the visual keenness, for the chromatic frenzy that animates them” (op. cit., p. 18).
    The present bronzes are two from a group of only nine sculptures that Marino Marini created on the theme of jugglers and acrobats (fig. 2). According to Carandente, “In those nine models—one could say—Marini reached the apex of his expression” (ibid., p. 18). In them, Marini relinquished the tragic theme of the rider collapsing from the horse that was his most frequent theme in favor of one filled with joy and dynamism. In the giocolieri series, Marini has taken the subject of the juggler and used it as a springboard for an exploration of movement and form. He has rendered the flying balls through the stylistic shorthand of a gentle arc that deftly conveys the sense of motion and effortless action of the performer. Marini has clearly espoused this theme as one of celebration, revelry and fun. The elongated figure, reminiscent of the Rose Period pictures painted half a century earlier by Marini’s friend Pablo Picasso, has a waif-like elegance that accentuates the agility that is encompassed both in the theme and in Marini’s own exploration of it.
    Carandente suggests that ultimately, the violence inherent in Marini’s equestrian sculptures of the period is complemented by the color and joy of his giocolieri. “Expressionism in the nine jugglers was also, in the end, the other side of the dramatic force of the Miracles. That kind of formal chasm that unites, rather than separating, the rearing horse to the collapsing rider has the same violence that merges form and color in the jugglers” (ibid., p. 18).



    A.M. Hammacher, Marino Marini, Sculpture, Painting, Drawing, New York, 1970 (another version illustrated, pl. 202).
    H. Read, P. Waldberg and G. di San Lazzaro, Marino Marini, Complete Works, New York, 1970, p. 369, no. 306 (another version illustrated).
    S. Hunter, Marino Marini, The Sculpture, New York, 1993, p. 216.
    G. Carandente, intro., Marino Marini, Catalogue Raisonné of the Sculptures, Milan 1998, p. 269, no. 382 (another version illustrated, p. 268).