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Marino Marini (Italy 1901‑1980)

”Cavallo e cavaliere”

To be sold at our Important Sale: Modern & Contemporary Art + Design 10 – 12 May 2023

Lot 423 Marino Marini (Italy 1901‑1980). ”Cavallo e cavaliere”. Signed Marino lower right. Tempera and ink on paper, 37 x 33 cm (image), 41.8 x 35.5 cm (sheet).

With label on the back: ”Scania-Vabis verkställande direktör Henning Throne-Holst tillönskas en God Jul och Ett Gott Nytt År Göte Engfors, M. Wallenberg Karl-Arvid Nordin 23.XII.52.”.
This work is registered in the Archivio Fondazione Marino Marini and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.


200.000 – 250.000 SEK
€ 18.000 – 22.000


Industrialist Henning Throne-Holst (1895‑1980), Djursholm, (the work was presented as a Christmas gift in 1952 by Göte Engfors, Marcus Wallenberg and Karl-Arvid Norlin, fellow members of the Scania-Vabis board of directors).
Thence by descent to the present owner.

In context

Marino Marini’s “Cavallo e cavaliere”

“The myth of the rider, of the man who derives his force and impetus from the beast that he dominates and drives, but by which he is also unsaddled, grew from year to year, brought worldwide celebrity to the sculptor, and resulted in repeated masterpieces. In some works the connection between the horse and the rider becomes almost symbiotic, as though the artist would melt the two bodies into one to represent Nessus, the mythical centaur” (G. Carandente, in Fondazione Marino Marini (ed.), op. cit., pp. 12‑13). The present work explores one of Marino Marini’s most iconic themes – the relationship of a rider and his horse. Drawing and painting allowed him to explore the forms of his sculptures before completing them, but was also important for the freedom it offered him to investigate the balance between form and colour.

The subject of rider and horse dominated Marini’s ouevre, energetic and powerful in their poses. In the years before and during Second World War, the horses were gracefully executed reminiscent of classical sculpture. In the 1950s, the energy in his work reflected the instability of a new era and the horses moved towards more expression. Marini exhibited his works in New York for the first time in 1950 at Curt Valentin’s Buchholz Gallery. While visiting the vibrant art metropolis New York, he was exposed to the Abstract Expressionists. Undoubtebly, this experience deeply inspired him and many of his later works relates to the American expressionists. This matter was discussed by Edward Trier: “If Marini […] combines coloured geometrical shapes with the graphic diagram of a rider, or simply invents a non-figurative “composition” out of interlocking areas of colour, his handwriting nevertheless remains unmistakable even in abstraction. It is the same tension between static and dynamic, between architectonically firm and mobile dancing forms, that raises the bold, confidently placed areas of colour above the level of decoration to that of expression” (E. Trier, The Sculpture of Marino Marini, London, 1961, p. 22). Although he drew inspiration from cultures and movements, Marini’s aesthetic remained individual and personal thrughout his life.

Marino Marini was born on 27 February 1901 in Pistoia, Italy. Though he became best known for his sculptures, he turned to painting at several times during his career. He studied painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence and was deeply influenced by Roman and Etruscan art, as well as the work of Arturo Martini. In the 1930s Marini travelled between Italy, France and Switzerland. He became close friends with many of the foremost artists of the 20th century, such as Alberto Giacometti, Girogio de Chirico and Alberto Magnelli. After the world war ended in 1945, he decided to move to Milan where he lived until his death. ”Painting for me depends on colour, which takes me further and further away from real form. The emotions that colour awake in me, that is to say the contrast of one colour with another, or their relationship, stimulates my imagination much more than does the materialization of the human figures if I have to rely on pictorial means alone”. (Marini, Thoughts of Marino Marini, in G. di San Lazzaro, Homage to Marino Marini, 1975, p. 6).

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