Sir Anthony Caro 1924 -2013

British sculptor dies of a heart attack aged 89

Phaidon is sad to report the news that British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro has died of a heart attack at the age 89. His family confirmed his death this morning. Caro was regarded as one of the greatest British sculptors of his generation. The Tate's director Sir Nicholas Serota called Caro "one of the outstanding sculptors of the past 50 years," adding that he was "a man of great humility and humanity whose abundant creativity, even as he approached the age of 90, was still evident in the most recent work shown in exhibitions in Venice and London earlier this year." 

Unveiling his most recent show at the Gagosian Gallery in London in June Caro vowed to keep working until he was 100, saying he would "be bored" if he did not have his work. "I've chosen a very pleasant life because it's something I like doing," he said.  He still worked every weekday at the same studio in Camden where he had worked for the past 40 years.

Caro studied sculpture at the Royal Academy and taught at St Martin's School of Art between 1953 and 1981. In The 1950s he worked as an assistant to Henry Moore. His big breakthrough came in 1963 with an exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in London with a series of large abstract steel sculptures. They were seen as radical partly because they stood on the ground rather than on a plinth.

"Sculpture did have some assumptions and some, well, rules almost, and I broke those rules," he told The Independent newspaper recently. "That opened things up not just for me but other artists as well."


The Rape of the Sabines - Sir Anthony Caro
The Rape of the Sabines - Sir Anthony Caro

Phaidon's The Art Book features an image of Caro's sculpture Rape of the Sabines which can be found outside the Metropolitan Life Building in Seattle, Washington. The text reads: "Vast and powerful, this conglomeration of metal forms breathes with a life of its own. Part of - yet distinct from - the ground from which it grows, its dynamic planes fuse into one huge whole without form."