Tony Cragg

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tony Cragg
Born (1949-04-09) April 9, 1949 (age 65)
Spouse Tatjana Verhasselt
Field Sculpture
Awards Turner Prize (1988)

Tony Cragg (born 9 April 1949) is a British visual artist who works mainly as a sculptor. He was the director of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf until August 2013.

Ferryman Bronze, 1997
Auf der Lichtung in Bielefeld 1997


Tony Cragg was born in Liverpool in 1949, where his father worked in the aircraft industry as an electrical engineer. In 1966 Cragg started work as a lab technician in the National Rubber Producers Research Association.

In 1977 Cragg married and his son Daniel, the first of his four children, was born two years later. He is now married to the artist Tatjana Verhasselt. He lives and works in Wuppertal, Germany.[1]


In 1968 Cragg began a foundation course at the Gloucester College of Art and Design in Cheltenham, moving on to a three year undergraduate course (1970-1973) at Wimbledon School of Art.

In 1973 he won a place on the prestigious post-graduate sculpture course at the Royal College of Art, where his practice as a sculptor embraced the use of cheap 'everyday' materials that he was used to handling whilst working on building sites. (Sometimes he would collect these materials riding solo around London on a tandem bicycle.) Walking and cycling were important activities for him, often in the company of artist friends such as Richard Deacon, Richard Long, Bill Woodrow and Roger Ackling. Cragg recalls "For me, in the mid-seventies, the crucial question became one of finding a content and from that came the idea that might evolve through a more formal approach to the work."

Cragg's first teaching post was for 9 months at the School of Fine Arts in Metz. When in 1977 he moved to Wuppertal to join his wife he was appointed to a part-time teaching post at the Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf, which quickly became full-time. Through his teaching and lectures, Cragg has had a considerable influence on a younger generation of artists. In 1988 he was offered a professorship at Düsseldorf, where he teaches still and until 2013 was Co-Director.

During the 1970s, Cragg was reluctant to accept offers to exhibit his work. His first exhibition, at the Lisson Gallery in 1979 (he had known Nicholas Logsdail since 1974), resulted in widespread interest in his work.


Work in Public Collections[edit]

Notable Awards[edit]

1988 Turner Prize winner [3]

2002 Piepenbrock Award for Sculpture [4] Awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) [5]

2009 Honorary doctor of the Royal College of Arts [6]

2012 Cologne Fine Art Award [7]

Tony Cragg Foundation[edit]

Thirty years after Cragg began working as an artist, he began looking for a permanent site for presenting sculpture outdoors and discovered an abandoned property in Waldfrieden Park, Wuppertal, which he bought in in 2006. That same year he began redesigning the park grounds and also the buildings that, after long years of vacancy, needed to be thoroughly renovated and modernized. In appreciation of the historical estate, its former structures and material substance were preserved to the greatest extent possible, keeping its historical dimension intact despite the conversion of the park and buildings to accommodate new uses. In 2008, the Sculpture Park was opened under the auspices of the Cragg family's nonprofit foundation. It houses a steadily growing collection of sculpture, including examples from Tony Cragg's own large oeuvre. All this is accompanied by changing exhibitions of internationally known artists, lectures on culture and the humanities, and concerts. Beyond this, the Cragg Foundation is dedicated to research into, and the publication of works on, the fine arts.



“There is this idea that sculpture is static, or maybe even dead, but I feel absolutely contrary to that. I’m not a religious person – I’m an absolute materialist – and for me material is exciting and ultimately sublime. When I’m involved in making sculpture, I’m looking for a system of belief or ethics in the material. I want that material to have a dynamic, to push and move and grow."

“I also want that to happen over the course of making things, so that as soon as one generation of sculptures has gone up, another generation is coming on and things are growing up around me. That’s how it seems to work for me.”[9]


  1. ^ 'artist's biography', a new thing breathing : recent work by tony cragg, TEXTS BY Gareth Evans Christoph Grunenberg Daniel McClean. Publisher, Tate Liverpool 2000
  2. ^ 'artist's biography', a new thing breathing : recent work by tony cragg, TEXTS BY Gareth Evans Christoph Grunenberg Daniel McClean. Publisher, Tate Liverpool 2000
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Robert Ayers (May 10, 2007), THE AI INTERVIEW Tony Cragg, ARTINFO, retrieved 2008-04-24 

External links[edit]