$240,000 steel work Lagoon by 'Britain's most celebrated living sculptor' to sell

A monumental work by Sir Anthony Caro, described by the Director of Tate Britain Stephen Deuchar, as "Britain's most celebrated living sculptor", will be offered in the 20th Century British Art sale in March at Bonhams.

Caro's work is currently taking centre stage at the Royal Academy of Arts Modern British Sculpture Exhibition in London.

Conceived in 1976, the five metre, rusted and varnished steel sculpture entitled Lagoon is estimated to sell for £100,000-150,000 ($239,000). Caro is regarded as an artist who constantly pushes the boundaries of sculpture and throughout his career has endeavoured to create work that is truly abstract, without reference to anything else but itself.

Sir Anthony Caro's sculpture Lagoon
Sir Anthony Caro's sculpture Lagoon

Through this exploration, Caro brought sculpture down to ground level by removing the traditional plinth. His sculptures are highly conceptual and as Deuchar has put it, Caro "effectively reinvented the language [of sculpture] itself."

Caro's sculptures are usually self supporting and sit directly on the floor and in doing so the barrier between the work and the viewer is removed. Lagoon is typical of Caro's work in the 1970s, where the viewer is invited to approach and interact with the sculpture from all sides.

Having moved away from figurative sculpture to abstraction in the 1960s, Lagoon clearly addresses issues of space, mass, scale, plane and materiality that lie at the heart of Caro's art.

Matthew Bradbury, Director of the 20th Century British Art department comments: "Lagoon' is a monumental work in steel, which can only really be fully appreciated when standing in front of it.

Originally intended to stand out of doors in a parkland landscape this sculpture impresses in either an urban or rural environment. Among the largest pieces by Caro to be offered at auction the sale of 'Lagoon' is a rare opportunity to acquire a work by him on a vast scale."

Dame Elisabeth Frink sculpture large rolling over horse
Dame Elisabeth Frink's sculpture large rolling over horse

Other works of interest include six striking sculptures by Dame Elisabeth Frink, another important artist in the history of modern British sculpture.

A bronze horse conceived in 1972 that is estimated to sell for £200,000 - £300,000 and a second, standing horse conceived in 1979 and estimated to sell for £60,000 - 80,000 both illustrate Frink's skill of modelling and then carving the plaster maquette, before casting in bronze.

Further works by Frink include: Standard (conceived in 1965 and cast as an edition of three), which is estimated at £60,000-90,000, Walking Baboon (conceived in 1989 and cast as an edition of nine), which is listed at £40,000-60,000, Small Figure with Goggles (conceived in 1967 and cast as an edition of six), with a price tag of £25,000-35,000 and Small Soldier Head (valued at £10,000-15,000).

All are available in Bonhams' 20th Century British Art sale which takes place on March 9, 2011.


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