Renowned Architect Peter Marino Turned This Historic Library Into an Art Foundation

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Photo credit: Mary Elizabeth Andriotis
Photo credit: Mary Elizabeth Andriotis

Renowned architect Peter Marino—who has brought his eye to a bevy of designer fashion boutiques,—is coming to the Hamptons this summer, in the form of an eponymous art foundation housed in a historic library.

This past Friday, June 18th, the Peter Marino Art Foundation officially opened to the public, marking the completion of a project that began in 2018, when Marino purchased the former Rogers Memorial Library building for $5.25 million, with plans to restore it and turn it into a public art foundation.

Located in Southampton, New York, this Victorian Gothic-style structure was built between 1893 and 1895 and was designed by another celebrated architect: R.H. Robertson. This building was the original site of the Rogers Memorial Library and is located on Jobs Lane (not to be confused with the newer library of the same name, which opened on Coopers Farm Road in 2000). Yvette Postelle, an employee of the current Rogers Memorial Library, tells House Beautiful, “We're thrilled that [Peter Marino] will be able to take care of that beautiful old building.”

Photo credit: Mary Elizabeth Andriotis
Photo credit: Mary Elizabeth Andriotis

Since the library moved buildings in 2000, it has been used occasionally for various undertakings; it was once used as a space for the Parrish Art Museum, and, more recently, it served as a One Kings Lane store. And the building itself isn’t the only part of the property that Marino has renovated; he also implemented a garden and restored the grounds of the Foundation.

As a passionate collector (and recipient of the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in recognition of his contributions to the arts), Marino filled the foundation with items of his own: Pieces on display include works by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, and Eugène Delacroix, as well as Baroque and Renaissance-era bronzes, like one that King Louis XIV commissioned for his son's birthday. Additionally, the pieces that are exhibited are not limited to traditional forms of art; there are also photographs, furnishings, and porcelain vases. And, similar to an art museum or gallery, the Peter Marino Art Foundation will occasionally change some of the artwork that is on display in this historic space.

Marino made sure to include some of his own creations in the Foundation—such as bronze boxes and furnishings—given that architecture is "transitory," and there is no guarantee that the structures he designs will be preserved. In fact, Marino cites a Palm Beach home he designed over a decade ago—which has since been demolished—as a catalyst for him to create tangible pieces that will stand the test of time.

Photo credit: Mary Elizabeth Andriotis
Photo credit: Mary Elizabeth Andriotis

In a private tour of the Foundation led by Marino, he noted that he has always admired house museums like the Morgan Library & Museum and the Frick Collection, which is why he felt that his art collection would best be displayed in a space that feels livable, as opposed to a typical art gallery setting with four white walls.

While restoring the original Rogers Memorial Library building, Marino kept many design elements that are original to the structure, such as emerald green porcelain tiles at the base of a first-floor fireplace mantel, wherein countless layers of paint were recently removed, in order to revert the mantel back to its original appearance, circa 1895. New design elements have been added as well, such as parquet flooring, and transforming the exterior's brick steps into bluestone.

Interested in purchasing tickets for a tour of the Peter Marino Art Foundation? You can do so here.

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