Lot 4
  • 4

Marino Marini

140,000 - 180,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Marino Marini
  • Piccolo cavallo filiforme
  • stamped MM
  • bronze
  • height: 20.3cm.; 8in.


Marina Marini (the artist's wife; sale: Sotheby's, London, 25 June 1986, lot 190)
Weintraub Gallery, New York (purchased at the above sale; sale: Sotheby's, New York, 9 November 1995, lot 322)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner




Patrick Waldberg, Herbert Read & Gualtieri di San Lazzaro, Marino Marini, Complete Works, New York, 1970, no. 275, illustration of the other cast p. 365
Carlo Pirovano, Marino Marini, Scultore, Milan, 1972, pls. 119 & 281, illustrations of the other cast
Marino Marini - 'Gli anni nel Ticino' sculture - disegni (exhibition catalogue), Galleria Pieter Coray, Lugano, 1981, pl. 11, illustration of the other cast
Jacob D. Weintraub, Master Sculptors of the XX Century, New York, 1987, no. 43, illustrated
Marino Marini (exhibition catalogue),  Museo Marino Marini, Palazzo Reale, Milan, 1989-90, pl. 101, illustration of the other cast
Marino Marini (exhibition catalogue), Forni Galleria d'Arte, Bologna, 1990
Marino Marini - Opere  (exhibition catalogue), Rocca Malatestiana, Cesena, 1990
Marino Marini - Sculptures et dessins (exhibition catalogue), Musée Réattu; Espace Van Gogh, Arles, 1995, no. 31
Marco Meneguzzo, Marino Marini, Cavalli e Cavalieri, Milan, 1997, p. 210, no. 56
Fondazione Marino Marini (ed.), Marino Marini, Catalogue Raisonné of the Sculptures, Milan, 1998, p. 254, no. 364, illustration of the other cast

Catalogue Note

Piccolo cavallo filiforme indicates Marini’s move at the beginning of the 1950s towards an abstract rendering of the equestrian theme in line with a quasi-sublime experience of the art object. Much as Alberto Giacometti explored the expressive depiction of animals as in Le Chat and echoed Jean-Paul Sartre’s contemplation of space in The Search for the Absolute, Marini reduced the voluminous forms of a horse to the bare bones, thin angular lines elegantly and playfully twisted in perfect harmony. The artist stripped the work of any materiality surrounding the outlined figure of the horse, depicted with its legs firmly rooted in the four corners of the base and expressively moulded to create a delicate sinuousness of form.

In the present work, the wire-like segments joined to create the figure of the horse are contrasted to the choice of the hard and everlasting bronze. Such dialogue between elegance, obedience, and the hard materiality of form, intensifies the spiritual experience of the work. Echoing Giacometti’s search for a universal truth and encouraging the viewer’s meditation of the work of art, Marini calls for a 'decomposition of forms [which] demands a new creation of complete and compact masses'. Marini looks back to Etruscan art, whilst challenging the theoretical debates on abstraction and figuration which were shaking the artistic production of the 1950s: 'From the moment when every superfluous element has been eliminated, realism disappears, absorbed by the form which it maintains henceforth as a skeleton bears its flesh. Is it thus marked out by chance? Is this the way towards abstraction?' (ibid., p. 490).