Sir Anthony Caro

Woman Waking Up

1955

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 267 x 679 x 349 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1959
Reference
T00264

Display caption

Though best-known for his large abstract sculptures, in the 1950s Caro trained with Henry Moore and made figurative work. The surface of this sculpture is roughly pitted and the woman’s body seems almost to overflow the plinth, unlike the passive, contained poses of traditional nudes. This was, in part, a reaction against the smooth finish of Moore’s bronzes but also stemmed from Caro’s working method. By dropping soft clay from a height and developing the suggested forms, Caro could make the most of both chance and the expressive potential of the clay from which the bronze is taken.

Gallery label, September 2016

Catalogue entry

T00264 WOMAN WAKING UP 1955
 
Not inscribed.
Bronze, 10 1/2×26 3/4×13 3/4 (26·5×68×35).
Purchased from the Executors of E. C. Gregory (Grant-in-Aid) 1959.

The Trustees originally purchased a lead cast of this figure which belonged to E. C. Gregory and was placed on view in the Gallery in 1959. At the artist's request this was replaced in 1960 by a bronze cast, one of an edition of six. Another of these belongs to the Arts Council and a third was cast for Henry Moore. The single lead cast, which had been exhibited at Leeds in December 1955, in Milan in 1956 and at Gimpel Fils in January 1957, now belongs to the artist.

This was the first and most realistic version of a theme which was subsequently developed in two further works, ‘Woman on her Bed’, 1957, and ‘My Vegetable Lover’, 1959.

A version of this work, said to be in bronze but more probably the plaster, is repr. Metro 6, 1962, p.103.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I