T03157 PORTRAIT HEAD OF CHRISTIAN FAERBER 1952
Inscribed ‘MM’ on raised stamp at base of neck, left side
Bronze, 10 3/4 × 6 × 8 5/8 (27.4 × 15.2 × 21.8) on wooden base; ht. including base 15 1/8 (38.5)
Presented by Anna Maria Martha Faerber in loving memory of Christian Mario Balthasar Faerber 1980
Lit: Patrick Waldberg and G.di San Lazzaro, Marino Marini: L'Oeuvre Complet, Paris 1970, no.290, p.367 repr.; Carlo Pirovano, Marino Marini Scultore, Milan 1972, no.299, p.164 repr.
The art dealer Christian Faerber was born in Naples in 1901, the son of the Swiss engineer who had built the funicular railway up Vesuvius. He studied art history in Munich and worked for some years in the Matthiesen Gallery in Berlin, then left Germany in 1933 or 1934 because of the Nazis and settled in Sweden, later becoming a Swedish subject. He opened his own gallery in Gothenburg, which he called the Matthiesen Gallery because of his friendship with Mr Matthiesen, but which was completely independent. Then in 1960 he left Sweden to join the staff of the Matthiesen Gallery in London, where he spent the last six or seven years of his life. When Mr Matthiesen died in 1963, he helped Mrs Stephanie Maison to wind up the gallery, and then created the firm of Faerber and Maison in partnership with her. However he died soon afterwards, early in 1967.
Though primarily a specialist in Old Master paintings, he was greatly excited by the works of Marino Marini when he saw them for the first time at the Venice Biennale of 1952, and at once struck up a warm friendship with Marini himself. Planning to introduce his work to Scandinavia, he bought no less than 33 sculptures from him and organized a tour of Scandinavian museums, beginning at Gothenburg in January–February 1953, and then going on to Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. The exhibition (for which he also wrote the catalogue introduction) was a great success as not only were all 33 sculptures sold, several going into museums, but Marini had to provide further works.
The portrait head was modelled in Milan soon after the two met and while Mr Faerber was making preparations for the exhibition. In 1960 he lent this, the only bronze cast, to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, and it remained there until 1967 when it was returned after his death to his widow in London. Mrs Faerber subsequently presented it to the Tate Gallery in his memory on 14 January 1981, the day which would have been his eightieth birthday had he lived.
The original plaster is still owned by the artist's widow.
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984