LATEST NEWS

Modern Masters Spotlight - L.S. Lowry

 

Lawrence Stephen Lowry was Britain’s pre-eminent painter of the industrial city. A highly individual artist with a unique style, he lived from 1887–1976; his work spanned the first half of the twentieth century and recorded with sensitivity and wit his own personal view of the people and architecture of Northern Britain.

Here at Clarendon we are privileged to hold a collection of highly sought after original Lowrys and some rare signed editions. Contact your nearest Clarendon Fine Art gallery for more information or to arrange a viewing.

Lowry was unaffected by fashions of the time. He deliberately used a limited range of colours, which he mixed on his palette and always painted on to a white background. He said of these choices: "I am a simple man, and I use simple materials: ivory, black, vermilion (red), Prussian blue, yellow ochre, flake white and no medium (e.g. linseed oil). That's all I've ever used in my paintings. I like oils... I like a medium you can work into over a period of time". A close inspection of the surface of any Lowry painting however, reveals the variety of ways in which he worked the paint, which are anything but simple. He often used both ends of his brushes, but also employed his fingers and a range of sticks and sharp implements to achieve the very specific effects he was seeking.

Lowry was a modest man who described himself and his achievements in simple terms. To get a genuine sense of his achievements we must look to both contemporary and posthumous comment, and at the accolades and awards that were heaped on him as his work became recognised. In 1921 in an article in The Guardian newspaper, Bernard Taylor recognised the real quality of Lowry's work, when he reviewed one of the artist's earliest exhibitions. "Mr Lowry has a very interesting and individual outlook. We hear a great deal nowadays about recovering the simplicity of vision of primitives in art. These pictures are authentically primitive, the real thing not an artificially cultivated likeness to it. The problems of representation are solved not by reference to established conventions, but by sheer determination to express what the artist has felt, whether the result is according to rule or not..."

Speaking for the 21st century generation, actor Ian McKellen is a huge fan of Lowry’s work, and in the recent film Looking for Lowry he commented: “He taught us how to look at a crowd. Until he painted these crowds, nobody had noticed that that’s how human beings behave. You can’t now go out and watch a football crowd or go up and down a busy street without saying ‘It’s a Lowry painting’.”

In the last 20 years Lowry has become one of Britain’s most highly prized artists. While in 1999 the highest price for one of his paintings had been £1.9 million, the most recent pulic valuation was between £6 million and £10 million. He was accorded many honours in his life including an honorary MA at Manchester University in 1945, Doctor of Letters in 1961, and elected to the Royal Academy in 1962.

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has built one of the world’s best collections of Lowry’s work. Last November the Association purchased The Railway Platform 1953 for £1.65m from Christies. It is one of three Lowry works purchased by the PFA in 2015 that are now on long-term loan to The Lowry in Salford. PFA Chief Executive, Gordon Taylor OBE, unveiled the works in a visit to the gallery where five other PFA-owned Lowrys are already on display including one of the UK’s most well known and well-loved paintings, Going to the Match. Commenting on the unveiling, Mr Taylor said: “The Railway Platform is a delightful addition to our collection displaying Lowry’s unique ability to capture a crowd but retaining the feeling of each individual’s personal solitude, whilst awaiting the steam train to take them to their venues for work, for holidays, for shopping, for visiting family – who knows? Pictures of railway stations are very rare in Lowry’s output which is surprising considering the rich opportunities they provide for a people watching.” If Salford is a little out of your way then do come and visit us at a Clarendon Fine Art gallery near you.

To view our selection of L.S. Lowry artwork please contact a Clarendon Fine Art gallery