Anthony Caro (1924-2013)
painted steel
50 7/8 x 85 1/2 x 60 in. (129.2 x 217.1 x 152.4 cm.)
Executed in 1970.
The artist
André Emmerich Gallery, New York
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Kolin, New York, 1971
By descent from the above to the present owner
D. Blume, Anthony Caro: Catalogue Raisonné Vol. III: Steel Sculptures 1960-1980, Cologne, 1985, p. 204, no. 937 (illustrated).
I. Barker, Anthony Caro: Quest for the New Sculpture, Hampshire, 2004, pp. 191-192 (illustrated).

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Joanna Szymkowiak
Joanna Szymkowiak

Lot Essay

Anthony Caro’s Rhizome exemplifies the artist’s innovation and desire to move beyond the customary boundaries of sculpture. This large-scale work is unequivocally dynamic; turning, twisting and expanding, assuming new forms and new appearances as the viewer circles it. Placed directly on the floor, in the physical space traditionally associated with the observer, Caro encouraged a uninterrupted relationship between the sculpture and its viewer. Contrasting with traditional sculptural emphasis on the solidity of from, Rhizome takes advantage of the empty spaces around it, embracing the negative space at its center to further define the work’s linear form.

Steel remains synonymous with Caro’s oeuvre, and a material which he consistently returned to throughout his career. As he chose to explore richer, heavier shapes his practice was reflected in the materials that he exploited. He made use of such pre-constituted industrial elements, transforming them through cutting and welding to create assemblages, often painted in bright household colors, as exemplified in the burnished red of this significant work. Effectively taking the form of three-dimensional collages, works such as Caro’s Rhizome appeared radical and urban. Throughout his career Caro constantly sought to challenge and re-invent his working methods. He went further than any other artist of his generation towards completely revoking the ordinary conditions of physicality, forever altering our expectations of what and how sculpture could be, giving us a new vision of the possible.

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