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Sir Anthony Caro: Untitled, 1976

Item Details

Sir Anthony Caro (British, 1924-2013)
Untitled
ink wash on paper
signed, dedicated, and dated in brown ink to the lower right: Ken, affectionately Anthony Caro 1976
letter from Kenworth Moffett’s former wife Lucy Baker inscribed to the verso
framed under glass

Provenance
Gifted to friend and art critic Kenworth Moffett (1934-2016)
Descended in the family

An ink wash painting on paper of flowers in a pot, created in 1976 by renowned Modern British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro (1924-2013). This gray-scale work features flowers planted in a pot, portrayed with splotches of ink wash. To the lower right the ink wash is dedicated “Ken, affectionately”, referring to art critic and curator Kenworth W. Moffett (1934-2016) who collected and exhibited Caro’s sculptures. The work is also signed and dated to the lower right. Handwritten to the verso is a lengthy letter by Moffett’s former wife Lucy Baker. Dated 2004, this letter provides biographical information about Caro, information about Ken and Lucy’s relationship with Caro, and the provenance of the ink wash itself. Baker states in the letter that she first met Caro in 1976 when Moffett organized a solo exhibition of his work at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, where he served as the Curator of modern and contemporary art from 1971 to 1984. As a sculptor of predominantly industrial materials, Caro rarely worked in ink wash, making this item a unique example of his work. The ink wash is presented under glass in a gray metallic frame.

Anthony Caro studied at the Royal Academy Schools in London, and worked as a foundry assistant to renowned British sculptor Henry Moore (1898-1986) early in his career. He gained public recognition in 1963 when he exhibited his large sculptural work in an exhibition at the Whitechapel London Gallery. Although Caro often worked in steel, he used a variety of media including bronze, silver, lead, stoneware, wood, and paper. He is known for his large abstract sculptures often composed of welded and/or assembled industrial materials.

It was in 1959 when Caro met renowned art critic Clement Greenberg (1909-1994) in London. That same year, he traveled to the U.S. where he met Color Field painter Kenneth Noland (1924-2010), and several other Modern artists including Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011), David Smith (1906-1965), and Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), among others. Acquaintances with Greenberg and Noland likely encouraged Caro to abandon figural work and begin creating his abstract sculptures in steel. His relationship with Greenberg and Noland developed throughout the 1960s and strengthened when he began teaching at Bennington College, nearby Noland’s residence in Shaftbury, Vermont. Caro also developed a long-lasting relationship with Modern artist Jules Olitski (1922-2007) who also taught at Bennington College. The three artists frequented each other’s studios throughout the 1960s and 70s and their work is often discussed and displayed together today. Greenberg was an important promoter and critic of Caro’s work, and went as far as comparing him to J.M.W. Turner when he wrote “without maintaining necessarily that he is a better artist than Turner, I would venture to say that Caro comes closer to a genuine grand manner[…]than any English artist before him”.

Caro’s achievements continued up to his death in 2013. A traveling retrospective of his work was organized by the Museum of Modern Art in 1975; he was knighted in 1987 and received the Order of Merit in 2000. Aside from the museums previously mentioned, Caro’s work has been exhibited by countless art institutions both nationally and internationally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tate Britain, and Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art, among many others.

Condition

- wrinkles and creases throughout paper; some brown stains present throughout lower half of paper; minor scratches throughout frame; some residue along top of frame.

Dimensions

14.0" W x 20.0" H x 1.0" D

- measurement of frame; visible image measures approximately 13.25"W x 19.25"H.

Item #

17DET014-006

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