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Two Seminal Sculptures by Sir Anthony Caro have been acquired for the nation

Two Seminal Sculptures by Sir Anthony Caro (1924-2013) have been acquired for the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme.


Two sculptures, Lock (1962) and The Window (1966-67), by Sir Anthony Caro have been acquired for the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme. Lock and The Window are considered two of Caro’s most important works, produced in an intensive period in which the artist was exploring the boundaries of sculpture in radical and innovative ways. These important works speak to the atmosphere of artistic experimentation and development that characterised London in the 1960s.

Lock was made in 1962, the same year as Caro’s best known sculpture Early One Morning. By lacking a pedestal Lock reflects one of Caro’s key innovations from that decade. Instead it sits upon concealed blocks and appears to float directly above the gallery floor. Likewise reflecting Caro’s practice at the time, the sculpture uses industrial and architectural materials such as sections of girder and sheet metal, some of which feature rows of large rivets. The various joined components of the sculpture are arrayed in a range of diagonal and right-angled relationships, and the whole object is painted dark blue.

The Window was made in 1966-67 and is an exceptional example of the developments made by Caro during the 1960s. The object is painted in olive and green, and it is one of a small group of sculptures that use mesh panel as well as sections and sheets of steel. The sculpture is noted for its expression of one of Caro’s key innovations: it encourages the viewer to explore the interior as well as the exterior of the sculpture. Through its careful construction of thresholds and transparencies, this object creates a vivid sense of an inside and an outside, which reflects Caro’s interest at the time in the similarities and distinctions between sculpture and architecture.

The sculptures have been temporarily allocated to Tate, pending a decision on their permanent allocation, and The Window will be on show in Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries from 12 September 2017 to 21 January 2018, as part of a display of works chosen by Rachel Whiteread to coincide with her exhibition at Tate Britain.

Edward Harley, chairman of the Acceptance in Lieu Panel, said: “These important sculptures by Sir Anthony Caro are central to the history of modernist sculpture in Britain. They demonstrate the pace and significance of sculptural innovation in London during the 1960s and they represent key moments in Caro’s own artistic development. I am delighted that the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme has enabled the nation to acquire these items, and I look forward to seeing them on display in a public collection.”

John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism said: “The two sculptures by Sir Anthony Caro represent the artistic experimentation of the 1960s and are an important part of British art history. I am delighted that they have been acquired for the nation through the government’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme. They will go on display so that they can be enjoyed by the public, who can learn more about our country’s artistic heritage.”

Notes to editors

The acceptance of these sculptures settled £2,765,000 of tax. The sculptures are from the collection of the artist and were offered from the estate of the late Lady Caro (also known as Sheila Girling).

Details of the sculptures are as follows:
1)        Sir Anthony Caro (1924-2013)
The Window, 1966-67
steel, painted green and olive
217 x 374 x 348 cm.
Catalogue raisonné no. 903

2)        Sir Anthony Caro (1924-2013)
Lock 1962
steel, painted blue
88 x 536 x 305 cm.
Catalogue raisonné no. 826

The Acceptance in Lieu scheme is administered by the Arts Council. The Acceptance in Lieu Panel, Chaired by Edward Harley, advises on whether property accepted in lieu is of suitable importance and offered at a value which is fair to both nation and taxpayer.  AIL enables taxpayers to pay inheritance tax by transferring important works of art and other important heritage objects into public ownership. The taxpayer is given the full open market value of the item, which then becomes the property of a public museum, archive or library. In the last decade the scheme has bought over £300m of cultural property into public collections – See more at:

The Arts Council champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

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