MARINO MARINI (1901-1980)
MARINO MARINI (1901-1980)
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MARINO MARINI (1901-1980)

Cavallo e cavaliere

MARINO MARINI (1901-1980)
Cavallo e cavaliere
signed and dated 'MARINO 55' (lower right)
oil, enamel and gouache on paper
30 5⁄8 x 22 ½ in. (77.8 x 57.2 cm.)
Executed in 1955
Joseph H. Hirshhorn, New York, by whom acquired directly from the artist in 1955.
The Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, New York.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; sale, Christie's, New York, 15 May 1986, lot 369.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owner.
London, Hanover Gallery, Giacometti, Marini, Matisse, Moore, Sculpture, Paintings, Drawings, June - September 1958, no. 27, n.p. (illustrated; with incorrect medium).
Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, on loan, 1958-1959.
Further details
The Marino Marini Foundation has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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Lot Essay

Cavallo e cavaliere, an exquisite oil on paper painted in 1955, captures the essence of Marini’s unique ability to convey the interplay between movement and colour.

Celebrated for his sculptural work, Marini’s venture into painting reveals his layered approach to the medium, the product of a multifaceted artist with an innate ability to navigate the realms of colour and form. As Guastalla writes: ‘the paintings are not preparatory studies for a specific aim (sculpture), but independent elements of a complex quest that from colour reached form and from form comes back to colour once again’ (G. Guastalla, Marino Marini. Dipinti inedita 1950-1965, Livorno, 1979, p. 13).

The simple and yet energetic composition unfolds as an expressive dance between the equestrian motif and the human figure. The bold and vibrant strokes of red and blue create a dynamic dialogue with one another and with the white and grey tones of the horse and the man – their interaction produces a harmony of intense of forceful rhythm.

The present lot was once owned by Joseph H. Hishhorn, a celebrated connoisseur whose collection included works by Picasso, Matisse, Giacometti and Rodin, who likely acquired the work directly from the artist. The piece subsequently entered the collections of his museum in Washington D.C.

Painted in 1955, Cavallo e cavaliere attests to a uniquely fruitful and successful period in Marini’s career. His international post-War success is reflected in the several monographic exhibitions dedicated to him in Italy and abroad, such as the one at Hanover Gallery in London in 1958, only three years after the work was first painted. Moreover, it was precisely in 1955 that one of Marini’s most major and prestigious commissions took place, the monumental sculpture commissioned to stand at the centre of a new quarter of the Hague.

Cavallo e cavaliere stands as a testament to Marini’s skill in transcending artistic conventions to capture the dynamic interplay between form and colour. From its prestigious tenure in the Hirshhorn collection to its early exhibition in London, the present work continues to radiate with narrative potency, inviting its viewers to embark on a journey through Marini’s dynamic imagination.

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