Artist Name

birth1909, London, EnglandPicture of Harry Marinsky
death2008, Lido di Camaiore, Lucca, Italy
educationTechnical High School, Providence, RI
Pratt Institute, New York (1929)
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI (1934)
awardsC. Percival Dietsch Prize (1985)
Henry Hering Memorial Medal Award (1988)
Silver Medal by the Council of the Region of Tuscany (2003)

Harry Marinsky was born in London to Russian parents who worked in high fashion. The family moved to the United States when he was only three years old. He attended the Technical High School in Providence where first encountered sculptural art and learned how to cast in sand and plaster. A scholarship allowed the budding artist to attend the Rhode Island School of Design in his home town of Providence as well as the Pratt Institute in New York City. As a consequence of his training he was well versed in both fine art and commercial design.

At age twenty-five, right out of college, he became Art Editor of the "American Home" and "Country Life" magazines for which he painted many cover illustrations. He slowly transitioned into a free-lance career by also illustrating for "House Beautiful," "House and Garden," and "Women's Day" magazines and devoting himself to painting and sculpture in his studio.

His first public exhibition was at the Montrose Gallery in New York as part of the "30 American Artists" group exhibition in 1940. First critical acclaim for Marinsky's sculpture followed in 1945 for a group of seven figures titled "One War - One Peace". The group depicts the horrors of war and what remained after its wake. Included in the group is Rape which shows a woman with a skeletal frame being raped while a thin child falls to the ground beneath her and her attacker.

In 1946 Marinsky left New York City for the rural town of Rowayton in Connecticut. The change in pace allowed him to pursue varied interests in landscape design, architecture, and gardening while still working as a painter and sculptor. Works from this period yielded his first solo exhibition at the Eggleston Gallery in New York in 1951.

In 1961 Marinsky went on a sabbatical and visited 16 European countries, creating a series of watercolor landscapes. The trip clearly left a deep impression because he went back to Italy in 1968 and this time it turned out to be a much more serious love affair than the sabbatical trip. A visit to the Tomassi Foundry in Pietrasanta had convinced him that his future lay in Italy. In 1972, Marinsky purchased a Tuscan farmhouse in the village of Capriglia and this is where he would spend the rest of his life.

His works are part of several private and public collections, including: the Hunt Botanical Library, Carnegie Mellon Institute, Pittsburgh, PA; York University Museum; Porras Building Complex, Midland, TX; PCX Corp., Oklahoma City; Public Library, Dallas; The Listener and Alice in Wonderland, 8 sculptures, The Museum of Outdoor Arts, Englewood, CO; Westmoreland Museum of Art, Greenberg, PA; Montclair Art Museum, NJ; Commedia dell'arte, Harlequin Plaza, Englewood, CO; San Francisco, Paris and Rivo Torto, Assisi.

Marinsky died in 2008, almost 100 year old.

You can click medals to switch between obverse and reverse sides.

  • Mountain Solitude 1977
    by Harry Marinsky
    Golden bronze with tan patina

    This medal was chosen as the 95th issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series. The obverse bears a cyclist under a tree; below Marinsky. The reverse bears the hilltop village of Capriglia, Tuscany.

    Marinsky converted one of his cyclist sculptures into the medal's obverse and declared his love for his chosen home town of Capriglia on the reverse. In 1968 Marinsky moved from Connecticut to the village of Capriglia and, with short interruptions, spent the rest of his life there. He would often bicyle through the hilly landscape of Tuscany and this medal draws deeply on his personal experience.

    This medal as a personal declaration of love for Tuscany was not quite as well received as other medals in the series. Critics questioned the lack of a message yet it is fairly clear that Marinsky stayed true to himself with this medal. It draws on his personal experience and, like many other Society of Medalists sculptors, he picked up on one of his sculpture themes. He was probably one of the more decoratively oriented sculptors in the series and, with the exception of his anti-war stance, one of the least message-driven artists.

    This medal measures 73mm in diameter and was produced by the Medallic Art Company of Danbury, Connecticut. Its reported mintage is 750 medals in bronze and 150 in silver.

    73.0mm (2.87in)
    Golden bronze with tan patina
    73.0mm (2.87in)

  • Laughing Man

    Laughing Man (undated)

    A stylized rotund male figure leans back in his chair. His mouth is open and the corners upturned, indicating laughter.

    This sculpture is located in a park in Dallas.

    A larger version of this image is available at the Smithsonian.

  • Veterans' Memorial

    Denial of War (1966)

    Four somewhat abstract military figures, two male and two female, ascend eight white, loosely spiraled, broken granite steps. The top figure holds an American flag in his proper right hand, all the other figures have their arms upraised with fingers spread, in attitudes of reaching. All of the figures wear helmets. The female figures wear knee-length dresses. Clothes on all figures are indicated by a diagonal striated texture. The stars and stripes of the flag are indicated by negative space cut into the bronze background.

    This sculpture is located in the Veterans Memorial Park in Norwalk, Connecticut.

    A larger version of this image is available at the Smithsonian.

  • Mountain Solitude

    Mountain Solitode (undated)

    Marinsky's bicyclists reflect a period in his life where he explored his new home in the Tuscany area of Italy via bicycle. He picked this particular sculpture to be the obverse of his Society of Medalists design in 1977.

    A larger version of this image is available on the website 1stdibs.

  • St. Francis

    St. Francis of Assisi (1979)

    Marinsky's St. Francis is surrounded by children, with his arms in the air, freeing birds into the sky. St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order, is recognized by his emaciated appearance with the stigmata on his hands, feet, and chest. He is typically represented barefoot, wearing a dark habit, with a tonsure and a short beard. Symbolic elements commonly associated with St. Francis are animals, a book, crucifix, lily, and skull.

    This sculpture is located at the Saint James Episcopal Church in Danbury, Connecticut.

    A larger version of this image is available at the Smithsonian.

Contact me if you have links that might merit inclusion on this page.

Books & Articles

American Art Medals, 1909-1995 by David Thomason Alexander
David T. Alexander's book can be purchased at the above link. Highly recommended for anyone interested in SOM. I am deeply indebted to him for all the information I used to document the SOM medals on this site.
The Sculpture of Harry Marinsky
Book by the sculptor himself.
Harry Marinsky's Monument to Peace
Article in Sculpture Review, Fall 97, Vol. 46 Issue 2, p26.

Research Archives and Websites

Museo dei Bozzetti
The Marinsky page of the sculpture museum of Pietrasanta, Italy.
Sculptor Harry Marinsky Has Show in NY Gallery
Article about 1978 show in The Hour - 11/2/1978.
Biographical Narrative
Good bio from Canvassed.
Interior Design illustrations
Digitized drawings at The New School archives.
Marinsky page at the Smithsonian
Several entries on Marinsky, both sculptures and and illustrations.