Sir Anthony Caro

Emma Dipper


Not on display

Sir Anthony Caro 1924–2013
Painted steel
Object: 2130 × 1700 × 3200 mm
Presented by the artist 1982

Display caption

Emma Lake in Saskatoon, Canada, was the site of a workshop where Caro made fifteen sculptures in August 1977. Since the relative inaccessibility of the location made it difficult to transport heavy materials, he used steel tubing and beams. These lighter materials reflected his concern at the time with non-monumental sculpture. Caro's work was becoming increasingly linear, enclosing space in cage-like constructions. The opening to the left creates the sense of an internal space, which is penetrated and activated by the tubes and rods.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

T03455 EMMA DIPPER 1977

Steel rusted and painted grey 84 × 67 × 126 (2130 × 1700 × 3200)
Not inscribed
Presented by the artist 1982
Exh: Anthony Caro Emma Lake Sculptures, André Emmerich Gallery, New York, October–November 1978 (works not numbered, repr.); Anthony Caro Sculpture 1969–1984, Serpentine Gallery, April–May 1984 (15, repr. in two views), Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, June–July 1984, Leeds City Art Gallery, August–September 1984, and then British Council tour to Ordrupgaard Samlingen, Copenhagen, October–November 1984 (19, repr. in colour in two views on catalogue covers), Kunstmuseum, Dusseldorf, January–March 1985, Fundacio Joan Miro, Barcelona, March–May 1985
Lit: Dieter Blume, Anthony Caro, Catalogue Raisonné, Vol. III, Galerie Wentzel, Cologne (1173); Diane Waldman, Anthony Caro, 1982, pl.231

Emma Lake is a summer arts workshop run by the University of Saskatchewan, situated 200 miles north of Saskatoon, Canada. Caro spent the month of August 1977 there as an invited guest artist, and began work on fifteen sculptures, all of which bear the word Emma in their titles (Nos. 1171–85, Vol. 111, Anthony Caro, Catalogue Raisonné, Galerie Wentzel, Cologne). The Emma series of sculptures were ‘made of light material-much of it tube, rod and thin angle... because we were working 200 miles north of Saskatoon on a gravel area with only a crane lift from the back of a truck. It was impossible to use heavy material. We were also a long way from the scrapyard. Douglas Bentham, who was helping me, went back after one or two days to fetch some more material’ (letter from the artist to the compiler, 25 March 1986). Caro worked on more than one sculpture at the same time and had the assistance of Douglas Bentham, ‘a local sculptor, living in Saskatoon, an excellent artist and craftsman, he came to Emma Lake with his wife, and helped me make my sculptures. He welded the pieces and I worked in close contact with him as I always do with my assistants - seeking responses and suggestions. He fabricated the pieces.’ When asked if the title Emma Dipper refers to any configuration of the formal elements, the artist replied that ‘The name Dipper comes from a Bar-/Restaurant that we all went to one night whilst at the workshop.’

After his spell at the workshop in the summer of 1977, Caro returned to London while the works went to Saskatoon, all taken there by Doug Bentham, and they stayed on his farm until some months later Sheila [Girling, the artist's wife and a painter] and I went to Saskatoon. I looked at the sculptures then and made changes to them; they subsequently were all taken to New York City prior to the show at André Emmerich's and here I made more changes. One of the series in fact I finished last year. I think it was at this time (in New York City before the Emmerich show) that I fixed on the colours for them. Sheila chose the colours for the sculpture.

When asked if ‘Emma Dipper’ was originally painted the colours it is now, the artist replied ‘it was never painted differently to what it is now (painted various greys, normal American household paints) as far as I can remember. I have no record of the exact shades used.’

The compiler asked if there was any relationship between polychrome tubular works like ‘Emma Dipper’ and those of the early 1960s which employed painted tubes such as ‘Month of May’. Caro replied, ‘I am not particularly conscious of these criteria and relationships. The colour is pragmatic in almost every case. I would say that both “Emma Dipper” and “Month of May” are concerned with a kind of internal activation of space.’

T03455 and T03457 have been approved by the artist.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986


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