Sculpture highlights in Yorkshire

The work of Sir Anthony Claro

Sculpture in the landscape

This month, in our regular look at sculpture featured in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, we highlight the work of Sir Anthony Caro

Sir Anthony Caro is a major figure in British abstract sculpture and is widely recognised as one of the greatest living sculptors. He was an early supporter of Yorkshire Sculpture Park and has contributed to its development through major exhibitions as well as with the loan of works from his own collection.One his major exhibitions at YSP was the 1994 Trojan War exhibition which consisted of 40 narrative sculptures inspired by the siege and fall of Ancient Troy, and the show Caro at Longside: Sculpture and Sculpitecture launched the Longside Gallery in 2001.He trained as an engineer at Christ’s College, Cambridge before spending two years in the Royal Navy. Caro then attended Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster) where he studied sculpture for the first time. For a short time he worked as an assistant to Henry Moore but after a visit to New York in 1959 his experience of revolutionary American artists, such as Jackson Pollock and David Smith, suggested radical possibilities for his own sculpture.A large-scale solo exhibition at the Whitechapel in 1963 brought Caro’s work to a wider audience. The exhibition presented his brightly painted steel sculptures placed directly onto the floor rather than on a plinth, allowing the viewer to interact with his sculpture physically as well as visually.Promenade was created for the Tuileries Gardens in Paris and takes its name from the popular European tradition of walking in public places to meet, or be seen by, others. The shape of this painted steel sculpture further develops the theme as it suggests the rhythm and movements of walking, as well as allowing visitors to walk around and within its structures. It has been on display at YSP since 1998, and moved to the Royal Academy, London for the 2008 Summer Exhibition before returning to Yorkshire.Although perfectly suited to the Bretton estate, Anthony Caro had reservations about putting his sculpture in natural surroundings, believing ‘all landscape is difficult, YSP can be a difficult space because it is big and demanding’. However, he feels that Promenade works particularly well on this site – one of the few flat areas of YSP. Caro’s work overcomes the issues of size in the landscape because he works to true scale, rather than scaling up from models.Yorkshire Sculpture Park was established in 1977 by its executive director Peter Murray OBE. The park has five indoor galleries and 500 acres of 18th century parkland and has grown as an international centre for modern and contemporary art, experienced and enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year. Find out more at

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