Anthony Caro, 1924-2013


British sculptor Anthony Caro, known for his work in steel and other materials, died Oct. 23 after suffering a heart attack. He was 89.

“Caro was a man of great humility and humanity whose abundant creativity, even as he approached the age of ninety, was still evident in the most recent work shown in exhibitions in Venice and London earlier this year,” Tate director Nicholas Serota said in a statement.

Caro was born in Surrey, England, in 1924. After receiving a degree in engineering  from Christ’s College, University of Cambridge, he enrolled at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, where he studied sculpture from 1947 to 1952. During that time, Caro married painter Sheila Girling.

Caro then worked as an assistant to British sculptor Henry Moore and as a teacher at St. Martin’s School of Art, London, where he was on staff until 1981, teaching artists including Phillip King, Tony Cragg, Barry Flanagan, Richard Long and Gilbert & George.

His work first came to prominence with a 1963 show, “New Sculpture 1960-1963,” at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, which eschewed convention by presenting Caro’s brightly painted steel sculptures resting directly on the ground, rather than on pedestals. A solo exhibition in New York followed in 1964.

Retrospectives of Caro’s work were held at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (1975), Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art (1995) and London’s Tate Britain (2005), among other institutions.

With Norman Foster and Tony Fitzpatrick, Caro also helped design London’s Millennium Bridge (2000), infamous for its less-than-successful opening, during which vibrations from pedestrian traffic caused the bridge to sway dramatically. Linking St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern, the structure has since been reengineered and has become a popular city landmark.

Among the honors Caro received over the course of his long career were Japan’s Praemium Imperiale for Sculpture (1992).

Caro, who was still creating new work in his Camden, London, studio, was the subject of two solo exhibitions this year: one at London’s Gagosian Gallery over the summer and another at the Correr Museum in Venice, on view through Oct. 27.