Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, New York
Mary S. and Louis S. Myers, Akron, Ohio
Gift to Akron Art Museum, December 1, 1991
2015 - 2016: Haslinger Galleries, 12/15/15 - 3/28/16 , Akron Art Museum
2015: "Choice: Contemporary Art from the Akron Art Museum" 9/11/15-12/6/15, Transformer Station, Cleveland, Ohio
2007 - 2015: Haslinger Galleries, 7/7/07 - 8/16/15, Akron Art Museum
2001: "British Invasion: Selections from the Collection" 9/13/01 - 2/11/02, McDowell Gallery, Akron Art Museum
1997 - 1998: "A 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Collection" 11/15/97 - 1/11/98, Akron Art Museum
1994: "Selections from the Collection" 6/25/94 - 8/21/94, Akron Art Museum
1992: "Lyrical Abstraction" 4/18/92 - 10/18/92, Akron Art Museum
Veduggio Wash, 1973
Collection of the Akron Art Museum
Anthony Caro is one of the century's most influential sculptors. Knighted in 1971, he has been credited with single-handedly reinventing the look of British sculpture in the 1960s. Caro brought abstract sculpture to a new place in the modern age by completely eliminating the traditional base and creating works that occupy the viewer's space in an aggressive manner. Commenting on his approach, he has stated that he likes to work "at the edge of the impossible."1
In the winter of 1972–73 Caro was invited to work at the Ripamonte Factory in Veduggio, Italy. Famous for his prodigious output, the artist, with the help of his assistant, turned out twelve sculptures in ten days. At the factory Caro found a quantity of irregularly shaped, soft steel offcuts or scraps. He arranged these components into relatively basic planar configurations and secured them to bases with simple joints. In many of these works, the naturally contoured sheets of steel were presented vertically, their upright nature altering the viewer's relationship from one of observation to one of confrontation.
Stylistically these sculptures are a radical departure from Caro's earlier work, which was characterized by geometric planes jutting into space at all angles. Those animated, architectural works—composed of precisely machined and crisply milled segments welded or riveted together and painted in bright, primary colors—were much more "theatrical" than the quieter shapes Caro initiated in the Veduggio series.
The unusual, melting forms of the Veduggio sculptures border on the organic or biomorphic, and "even carry a suggestion of geological eccentricity . . . of rocks [or] the exposed strata of cliffs."2 They also suggest objects such as mirrors, gateways, and paintings. Indeed, comparisons between Veduggio Wash and abstract paintings are inevitable. Whereas Frank Stella transformed the properties of painting into sculpted surfaces (see pp. 202–3), Caro may have been attempting to transform traditional sculpture by imbuing it with the concerns of abstract painting. It is no accident that the Veduggio works recall the lyrical abstraction of Helen Frankenthaler's paintings (see pp. 174–75). In fact, Frankenthaler had worked in Caro's studio only a few months before he commenced the Veduggio series. The organic forms created by her soak-and-stain method clearly resonate in the soft and irregular profile of Veduggio Wash.
The Veduggio series marks a transition in Caro's development. Finding the unfinished "drawn" edges of the steel sheets uniquely expressive, Caro left their surfaces unpainted, protected only by a thin coat of varnish; thus he amplified the visual and physical properties of the unfinished steel. Caro has maintained that "sculpture and the making of sculpture is 'of the body'; physical; no matter how abstract, it has to have a 'felt' relationship to our bodies."3 With his emphasis on organic metaphors and more tranquil forms in Veduggio Wash, Caro seems to be encouraging a different type of interaction—one that invites an emotional as well as physical engagement between the viewer and the sculpture.
- Jeffrey Grove, 2001
1. Anthony Caro, quoted in Yorick Blumfield, "A Conversation with Anthony Caro," Architectural Digest 38 (September 1981): 64.
2. Suzi Gablik, "Anthony Caro at Kenwood," Art in America 62 (November-December 1974): 126.
3. Anthony Caro, "The Sculptural Moment," Sculpture 14 (January-February 1995): 30.
Rubin, William. Anthony Caro. New York and Richmond, Va.: Museum of Modern Art and W. M. Brown & Son, 1975.
Waldman, Diane. Anthony Caro. New York: Abbeville, 1982.
Wilkin, Karen. Caro. Munich: Prestel Verlag, 1991.