Teachers and Students: “Men of Steel” Henry Moore and Anthony Caro

Given that they’re Britain’s two biggest names in modern sculpture, it’s only fitting that the legacies of Henry Moore and Anthony Caro should be so closely linked. Caro worked for Moore for two years in the 1950s, helping him in the laborious process of executing and enlarging his models for monumental sculptures. It wasn’t all grunt work though: His time in Moore’s studio was a profound learning experience for Caro, filling in the holes in his artistic education. “I had no knowledge of Surrealism, no knowledge of Cubism,” Caro has said. “I hadn’t even seen any Negro art. And when I went to Much Hadham, to Henry’s place, I not only worked on his pieces, which I admired and experienced at first hand; I also had access to his library and went around the galleries in London with him. I really started to expand my knowledge and vocabulary of art.”

At right, see the ways in which Caro is indebted to Moore, and the ways in which he separated himself from his early mentor. As a critic once so perfectly described: “Moore was a monumental sculptor; Caro sought ways to be free from the monument. Moore’s work needs a pedestal; Caro abandoned the help of any kind of stand … The older sculptor was wedded to the figure; while to this day Caro tries to become even more abstract.” And the list goes on…

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