We knew he’d bought the place–we just didn’t know what he planned to do with it. Friday night, we got an answer: architect and art collector Peter Marino announced his plans to house his new Peter Marino Art Foundation at the Rogers Memorial Library on Jobs Lane, Southampton. During the opening reception for Counterpoint: Selections from The Peter Marino Collection at the Southampton Arts Center, Marino announced that the new foundation will feature a permanent public exhibition showcasing artworks from his collection as well as temporary shows from guest artists. Educational programming will engage visitors, especially students, working together with the Southampton Arts Center.
Marino plants to restore the building, especially the interior, starting in fall 2019. (Presumably after the lease runs out of One Kings Lane, the current occupier.)
The old red brick building vaguely resembles a Swiss chalet, with more than one nod to the English Arts and Crafts Movement. It was designed in 1895 by the eminent architect Robert H. Robertson, who was a Southampton citizen and secretary of the new Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. The interior was and is light and airy, with skylights and a curved staircase.
Literary societies and reading rooms were common in Southampton, but before the Rogers Memorial Library opened, nothing on its scale–with room for 20,000 volumes–had been thought of in the area. Yet the collection soon began to outgrow the space. In 1915, Grosvenor Atterbury added on to the building, and by the 1980s, serious thoughts of moving or expansion were again necessary. The new library, on Coopers Farm Road, opened in 2000, and the building was then used by the Parrish Art Museum next door, until it moved to its new home. The dignified old brick edifice was then sold and sat empty for some years, until online retailer One Kings Lane set up shop a year ago.
The building then was sold again last summer for $5.25 million. The purchaser was “Bronze Box LLC,” with an address recorded to Peter Marino’s Southampton office. So no surprises on the new owner. (Also, Marino is known for Fire and Water, an exhibition of his sculptural bronze boxes at London’s Gagosian Gallery.)
We’re delighted that Marino plans to restore this treasure as well as give back to the community via his new art gallery. Kudos to him.