MARINO MARINI (1901-1980)
MARINO MARINI (1901-1980)
MARINO MARINI (1901-1980)
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MARINO MARINI (1901-1980)
7 More
The Artistic Journey – A Distinguished West Coast Collection
MARINO MARINI (1901-1980)


MARINO MARINI (1901-1980)
stamped with initials 'MM' (on the base)
bronze with brown patina and hand-chiseling by the artist
Height: 52 7/8 in. (134 cm.)
Conceived and cast in 1953
Buchholz Gallery (Curt Valentin), New York.
Weintraub Gallery, New York.
Eric Estorick, London.
Lillian L. Poses, New York (acquired from the above, late 1950s); Estate sale, Sotheby's, New York, 9 May 1995, lot 107.
Private collection, Europe (acquired at the above sale); sale, Sotheby's, London, 20 October 2003, lot 19.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owners.
E. Trier, Marino Marini, Cologne, 1954, pp. 13 and 28 (another cast illustrated, p. 28; dated 1952).
H. Lederer and E. Trier, The Sculpture of Marino Marini, New York, 1961, p. 140 (plaster version illustrated in situ in the artist's studio, pl. 68; with incorrect dimensions).
G. di San Lazzaro, H. Read and P. Waldberg, Marino Marini: Complete Works, New York, 1970, p. 370, no. 315 (another cast illustrated; with incorrect dimensions).
C. Pirovano, Marino Marini, Scultore, Milan, 1973, p. 166, no. 319 (another cast illustrated; with incorrect dimensions).
C. Pirovano, ed., Marino Marini: Catalogo del Museo di San Pancrazio di Firenze, Milan, 1988, pp. 158 and 229, no. S 63 (another cast illustrated, p. 160, pl. 149; detail of another cast illustrated, p. 161, pl. 150; with incorrect dimensions).
C. Pirovano, Il Museo Marino Marini a Firenze, Milan, 1990, p. 33 (another cast illustrated; dated 1951-1953).
M. Meneguzzo, ed., Marino Marini: Cavalli e Cavalieri, Milan, 1997, pp. 143-145 and 225, no. 78 (another cast illustrated, pp. 143 and 225; details of another cast illustrated, pp. 144-147; with incorrect dimensions).
Fondazione Marino Marini, ed., Marino Marini: Catalogue Raisonné of the Sculptures, Milan, 1998, p. 265, no. 377b (plaster version illustrated in color, p. 264, no. 377a).
Further details
The Marino Marini Foundation has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Brought to you by

Vanessa Fusco
Vanessa Fusco Head of Department, Impressionist & Modern Art, New York

Lot Essay

Conceived in 1953, Cavaliere explores one of Marino Marini’s most enduring themes—the precarious relationship of a rider and his horse, captured in the moment that the power balance between the two shifts dramatically in favor of the animal. The rider being thrown by its steed was a new and dramatic development in Marini’s oeuvre during the second half of the 1940s. Whereas previously, his horses had been strong, but manageable creatures, accompanied by equally impressive riders, in the post-war period they became increasingly agitated and wild, their forms imbued with an intense energy, their relationship with man marked by discord and tension. As the artist explained, “By the end of the war, realism gave way to the tragic spirit” (quoted in S. Hunter and D. Finn, Marino Marini: The Sculpture, New York, 1993, p. 196).
The horse and rider had still been a traditional sight during Marini’s childhood, widely used in transport, farming and industry. However, as the century progressed, developments in modern technology caused the animals to swiftly disappear from these roles. For Marini, the theme was a fundamental symbol of life in the modern age: “The entire history of humanity and of nature exists within the figure of the horse and rider, in every era. As a child, I observed these beings, man and horse, and they were a question mark to me. In the beginning there was a ‘harmony’ between them, but in the end, in contrast to this unity, the world of the car arrived, a world which captured it in a dramatic, but no less vital and vitalizing manner” (quoted in L. Papi, Centro di documentazione dell’opera di Marino Marini, Livorno, 1979, pp. 29-30). In response to this decline, Marini’s sculptures began to symbolize the breakdown of this connection, illustrating this rupture in the bond between man and horse in ever more dramatic and disturbing ways.
In Cavaliere, the figure is imbued with a distinct sense of distress, the extreme extension of his limbs powerfully suggesting the terror he feels as his balance is compromised. He clings precariously to the horse’s back with both legs, flinging his arms straight out in a desperate attempt to stay upright. The taut architectonic positioning of the horse, meanwhile, suggests that it has stopped mid-gallop. With its legs elongated and fully outstretched, splayed in front of its body in an almost pyramidal form, there is a clear parallel between the rigid, taut tension of the horse’s body and that of his rider, both of them fully extending their limbs as they fight for control. The rider, his head thrown back, his eyes tossed skywards, suddenly becomes helpless, completely at the mercy of the horse and the laws of gravity. Transformed from the master of the beast to the helpless, imperiled passenger, unable to save himself from an inevitable fall, the rider comes to symbolize what Marini felt was the fate of mankind in the troubled post-war era.
The bronze surface of Cavaliere is wrought with the intricate marks of the artist’s tools, a delicate interplay of faint lines, grooves, sections of hatching, and incisions that fill the sculpture with a sense of texture, and a raw, expressive energy. Enlivening the surface of the bronze, these marks attest to Marini’s complex and unusual artistic process—the artist often continued to work on his sculptures for an extended period after their original casting, attacking the surface of the bronze with his chisel to add a new sense of texture, light and shade to his forms. These marks, along with rich patinas applied to the metal, create the suggestion of a material which has survived across centuries, an intriguing counterpoint to the streamlined aesthetic of modern machine-made goods and a reference to the Etruscan and Roman sculptures of Marini’s homeland.

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