The painted steel and aluminium sculptures Caro produced in the 1960s enjoyed an unusual transatlantic reputation. This article compares the rather different take-up of this work in a British and American context. Examining claims made for it as marking a breakthrough to a new, truly modern, radically abstract sculpture, claims that continue to shape critical perspectives on Caro, it argues that such understandings of the more ambitious work he produced fails account for its ongoing significance and interest. The case is made that these creations are best seen as transitional works, combining a freely deployed sculptural abstraction with more traditional sculptural concerns. They belong historically to a moment in the 1960s when artists were fashioning intriguing sculptural objects that from a present-day perspective seem neither purely abstract, or autonomously modernist on the one hand, nor conventionally figurative and representational, or anti-modernist, on the other.