Anthony Caro was born on March 8, 1924, in New Malden, Surrey, England. From 1942 to 1944, he studied at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and graduated with a degree in engineering, all the while attending Farnham School of Art during his holidays. Beginning in 1946, after returning from naval service during World War II, he studied sculpture at the Regent Street Polytechnic and then at the Royal Academy from 1947 to 1952. From 1951 to 1953 he worked as Henry Moore’s assistant and taught at St. Martin’s School of Art in London. During this period he worked extensively in clay and plaster, and his sculptures were mainly figurative.
In 1956 he held his first solo exhibition at the Galleria del Naviglio in Milan, and the following year he had his first solo show in London at the Gimpel Fils Gallery. After visiting the U.S. and meeting Kenneth Noland, David Smith, Robert Motherwel, and other artists, he went back to London in 1960 and made his first abstract steel sculptures, which were shown at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1963. With these works of brightly painted, prefabricated materials, Caro initiated and developed a new aesthetic in sculpture, one that would have a lasting effect on the future generation of artists. Although his preferred medium was steel, the artist experimented using bronze, wood, paper, and lead as well.
In 1963 Caro began a two-year teaching position at Bennington College in Vermont, and one year later, he had his first solo exhibition in New York at the André Emmerich Gallery. Caro was the subject of several retrospective exhibitions throughout the 1960s, and he was invited to show at the 1966 Venice Biennale and the 1969 São Paulo Bienal. From 1970 onwards he started making sculptures of nonpainted steel. Many museums have mounted exhibitions dedicated to his work: The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1975), the Tate Gallery, London (1991), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1995), and the National Gallery, London, (1998). Caro earned many prizes during his career, including Tokyo’s Imperial Award for Sculpture, and he holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Cambridge and Yale. He was knighted in 1987 and was also an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, and of the Accademia di Brera, Milan. The artist died in London on October 23, 2013.