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Revealing Peter Marino's passion for bronzes

October 9, 2010 |  7:15 am

Bronzevertical Peter Marino's isn't your typical bronze collection.

Of course, Marino isn't your typical bronze collector.

The New York architect is a celebrated designer of luxury spaces -- notably stores for elite brands such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton -- and an art lover whose eclectic tastes are evident in both his design work and a personal collection that includes French porcelain, De Kooning and Twombly. He also dresses in leather biker gear wherever he goes.

For more than two decades, Marino has been quietly acquiring small bronzes, mainly figures inspired by classical mythology that satisfy his passion for sculpture's "movement and muscularity." In making selections, he says, he does his homework but "primarily purchases based on aesthetic qualities," needing to feel "a thrill ... a kind of visceral, emotional reaction."

He doesn't care if his choices go against the conventional wisdom. "In my work, if I know 90% of the world likes something, then I am sure to loathe it. I am interested in the black sheep, and this is the perfect black sheep collecting vehicle."

Black sheep or not, the collection is small but "of outstanding quality," says Jeremy Warren, the collections and academic director at the Wallace Collection, the London museum where Marino's bronzes made their public debut in a show last spring. Warren, who curated the exhibition, adds that "with its focus on the Italian and French Baroque, it is certainly different from many traditional bronze collections, which are built around the Italian Renaissance. It is a fabulously exciting collection, full of surprises, with objects that just breathe sensuality."

"Beauty and Power: Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes From the Peter Marino Collection" opens this weekend at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino and runs through Jan. 24.

To find out more about Marino and his bronzes read this Sunday Calendar feature.

--Karen Wada

Above: Marino's 'Samson and the Philistine' (detail). Credit: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

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