Anthony Caro played a pivotal role in the development of twentieth century sculpture. He was born in Surrey in 1924 and educated at Charterhouse School and Christ's College Cambridge where he graduated with a degree in engineering. After studying sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools in London from 1947–52, he worked as an assistant to Henry Moore in the 1950s. He came to public attention with an exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1963 where he showed large abstract sculptures, brightly painted and positioned on the floor so that they engaged the spectator directly. This was a radical departure from the way sculpture had hitherto been seen and paved the way for future developments in three-dimensional art.
His teaching at St Martin’s School of Art in London from 1953 to 1981 was very influential. He questioned assumptions about form, material and subject matter in sculpture, and his work inspired a new generation of British sculptors including Phillip King, Tony Cragg, Barry Flanagan, Richard Long and Gilbert & George. His teaching led to a flowering and a new confidence in sculpture worldwide.
Caro worked extensively in steel but also in a diverse range of other materials including bronze, silver, lead, clay, stoneware, wood and paper. Major exhibitions include retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1975), the Trajan Markets, Rome (1992), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1995), Tate Britain, London (2005), and three museums in Pas-de-Calais, France (2008), to accompany the opening of his Chapel of Light at Bourbourg. His work is represented extensively in major public collections and museums worldwide.
He was honoured with many awards including the Praemium Imperiale for Sculpture in Tokyo in 1992 and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sculpture in 1997. He was a prominent Royal Academician and held many honorary degrees from universities in the UK, USA and Europe. He was knighted in 1987 and received the Order of Merit in May 2000. Anthony Caro died in 2013 at the age of 89.