NEW YORK—For much of the past two and a half years, British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro was hard at work on a series of 43 welded and painted iron and steel pieces he called “Upright Sculptures.” Those 43 works were divided among the artist’s three principal galleries: London-based Annely Juda Fine Art, whose Caro show took place in the spring and early summer; Daniel Templon, in Paris, which exhibited its Caros in early autumn; and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, in New York City, which is currently exhibiting the remainder of the works at its Chelsea space, through Dec. 4. The majority of them have already been sold, according to Lucy Mitchell-Innes, co-owner of the gallery.
Mitchell-Innes says two-thirds of Caro’s collectors live in Europe (most in England, France and Germany), while the U.S. is still “growing in understanding and appreciating” the artist.
The Annely Juda exhibit (April 14–July 2) featured 18 works from the grouping, of which half sold, while the Daniel Templon show included nine pieces, of which there were five sales (in addition to sales of four older Caro works). All the buyers at each venue were private collectors, although a spokeswoman for Daniel Templon noted that it sold two Caro sculptures earlier this year to museums, the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Musee St. Etienne.
Prices range from £45,000 ($72,300) to £250,000 ($401,700) depending on size, according to Mitchell-Innes.
Caro’s prices have increased with each of these exhibits, having been on the rise particularly since the 2005 retrospective of the artist’s work at London’s Tate Modern.
Mitchell-Innes & Nash has sold some Caro sculptures on the secondary market but, in large measure, “we get most things directly from the [artist’s] studio,” she said. The prices for earlier work can go higher than for more recent pieces.
Both large and small sculptural works by the artist have come up with regularity at public sales, led in price by the painted steel Sculpture Two, 1962, which sold for £1.4 million ($2.4 million) against an estimate of £250,000/350,000 at Sotheby’s London in 2006. Other top prices include $396,800 (estimate: $60,000/80,000) for the rusted steel Straight Up, 1972, at Christie’s in 2006 and $193,000 for the painted steel Cleeve, 1965, at Sotheby’s in 2008.