Anthony Caro, British sculptor known for imaginative metal creations, dies at 89


British sculptor Anthony Caro poses near one of his works at the Valencian Institute of Modern Art in 2006. (Kai Foersterling/EPA)
November 19, 2013

Anthony Caro, a British sculptor whose industrial yet playful metal creations helped abstract sculpture gain global acclaim, died Oct. 23 in London. He was 89.

The cause was a heart attack, his family said in a statement.

Mr. Caro was one of Britain’s best-known artists, and his large, abstract steel sculptures stand in galleries, parks and museums around the world.

Museums including Tate Britain and New York’s Museum of Modern Art have held retrospectives of his work. One of his sculptures was installed in the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art after it opened in 1978.

Mr. Caro’s works were often fashioned from steel and made by welding together sheets, beams and other pieces of metal into bold, geometric shapes. He occasionally used other materials, including bronze, silver, wood and even paper.

His sculptures were sometimes painted bright red, yellow or green and placed directly on the ground, rather than on pedestals, to have a greater impact on viewers.

“I was reacting against the romantic, pastoral English tradition, which I felt had sort of run its course,” Mr. Caro said last year.

Tate Director Nicholas Serota said Mr. Caro “established a new language for sculpture” and called him “one of the outstanding sculptors of the past 50 years.”

“His development of this vocabulary, building on the legacy of Picasso, but introducing brilliant color and a refined use of shape and line, was enormously influential in Europe and America,” Serota said.

Mr. Caro also helped design London’s Millennium Bridge, an elegant pedestrian crossing over the River Thames that opened in 2000. The bridge was promptly closed because pedestrians found that it wobbled alarmingly. Reopened two years later after engineering work, the “Wobbly Bridge” has become a much-loved landmark used by thousands each day.

Anthony Alfred Caro was born near London on March 8, 1924. He had an engineering degree from Cambridge University and served in the Royal Navy before studying sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools. In the 1950s, he worked as an assistant to Henry Moore, among the most renowned sculptors of the 20th century.

Mr. Caro’s style of abstract sculpture began to gain international attention in the 1960s.

He taught for many years at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London, influencing younger artists including Tony Cragg, Richard Long and Gilbert & George.

He was working until the end of his life and last year had a major retrospective at Chatsworth, an English country house. An exhibition of his work is running in Venice.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years, painter Sheila Girling; two sons; and three grandchildren.

— Associated Press

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