Anthony Caro (1924-2013)


Sir Anthony Caro OM, CBE (m.1942) was a key figure in British sculpture. He came to public attention with a show at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1963, where he exhibited large abstract works which marked a radical departure from the way sculpture had hitherto been seen. It was an attempt, as Caro put it, 'to make sculpture more real'.

He was born in 1924 in Surrey and attended Charterhouse School. He studied Engineering at Christ’s, attending Farnham School of Art in the vacations. After studying sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools in London (1947-52), he worked as assistant to Henry Moore in Hertfordshire. Caro often worked in steel, but also in a range of other materials, including bronze, silver, lead, stoneware, wood and paper. The sculptures that attracted so much attention in 1963 were mostly large abstracts, brightly painted and standing directly on the ground rather than on plinths or pedestals. Christ’s has three of his sculptures in collection: The Deposition (1999/2000), Table Piece Y-79 (1986/1987), and Bronze Screen Gambol (1981), located in the Chapel, outside the library and in Z building. Major exhibitions of Anthony’s work included retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1975), the Trajan Markets, Rome (1992), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1995), and Tate Britain, London (2005). He was also part of the design team for London’s Millennium Bridge. His prizes included the Praemium Imperiale for Sculpture in Tokyo in 1992 and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sculpture in 1997. He was knighted in 1987 and received the Order of Merit in May 2000. Caro was also regarded as an innovative teacher. His work at St Martin’s School of Art in London (1953-1981) was particularly influential, encouraging students to question both form and subject matter.  Writing in 1964, New York art critic Clement Greenberg said of his work, 'without maintaining necessarily that he is a better artist than Turner, I would venture to say that Caro comes closer to the genuine grand manner – genuine because original and un-synthetic – than any English artist before him.'

Anthony Caro died in London on 23 October 2013.