Art in Focus: Writing Piece by Sir ‘Anthony Caro, O.M. (1924-2013)


Caro had first made a hugely influential statement in 1959 by eliminating the plinth, and placing his sculptures on the ground. This was a pioneering step and other artists began to follow him. Caro, though, was always a highly innovative and original sculptor, and he continued to search for new ways of working.

In 1966 he once again redefined the language of sculpture through the development of his table pieces. These table pieces (of which the present work, Writing Piece – Hand, is one) are small scale sculptures, but they are in no way diminished or considered less important for that fact. They are intentionally kept to a human scale, designed neither for a plinth nor the ground, but to be on a table-like structure.

The Writing Pieces are unique and created out of found objects. Despite being made of steel they have a calligraphic fluidity about them.

Writing Piece – Other, 1979, a comparable piece to this one, is in the Tate Collection. Valerie Holman wrote of these Writing Pieces that [they are] ‘composed of linear elements whose curving sweep evokes the process and appearance of writing. The result is like a sheet of calligraphy whose fluent strokes are made of solid steel’.

Writing Piece – Hand, is one of three works by Sir Anthony Caro in The Ingram Collection of Modern British Art, the others being Redoubt, 1988-90; and Flageolet (Concerto Series), 1999.