Sculptor Anthony Caro dies after a heart attack

By Isabelle Fraser, October 24, 2013
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Anthony Caro with one of his sculptures (Photo: EPA/Kai Foersterling)

Anthony Caro with one of his sculptures (Photo: EPA/Kai Foersterling)

The world-renowed Jewish sculptor Sir Anthony Caro has died after suffering a heart attack. He was 89.

Born in Surrey in 1924, he attended Charterhouse School and Cambridge before training at the Royal Academy schools. It was there that he met his wife, the artist Sheila Girling, in 1949.

He was an assistant to Henry Moore, and taught at Central St Martins School of Art between 1953 and 1981. Though Caro is usually a Sephardi name, in fact Sir Anthony's great-grandfather was a rabbi who came from Poland.

He first gained fame as an artist in the early 1960s, sculpting in clay and casting in bronze. His works later became purely abstract, prompting critics to describe them as not sculpture at all.

He is credited with removing sculpture from its plinth, placing it on the floor to change the relationship of the viewer with the artwork. An example is his work ‘Early One Morning’ (1962).

Sir Anthony insisted that he would continue working until he was 100.

When his was a child, his mother arranged for a German schoolfriend and her children to come to England to escape the persecution of Jews.

In an interview with the JC in 2008, he discussed the possibility of working on a Holocaust memorial .

“It’s the specificity of the Holocaust that makes it so difficult. I can’t quite see my way around it. I don’t know how I would do it. It would have to be very, very abstract. It is such a problem,” he said. In an earlier interview with the paper he expressed regret that such a thing would still have to be undertaken.

Director of Tate Sir Nicholas Serota paid tribute today, calling him"one of the outstanding sculptors of the past 50 years ".

He said: "Anthony Caro 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."

Last updated: 7:59pm, October 24 2013