Return to Featured Artists

Laurence Stephen Lowry

1887 - 1976

L S Lowry's extraordinary standing and popularity owe everything to his reputation as an urban realist, a painter of mill towns populated with a myriad of 'stick' figures. In truth, for more than a third of his career he had left the urban scenes behind and turned to more solitary subjects, reflecting perhaps his own loneliness.

Lawrence Stephen Lowry was born in Rusholme, near Manchester in November 1887 to relatively prosperous parents, who in 1909 moved to the industrial district of Pendlebury where he lived for nearly 40 years. He studied at Manchester and Salford Schools of Art until 1928, one of Lowry's teachers being Adolphe Valette. During his time at Salford School of Art, Lowry developed an interest in the urban and industrial landscape.

From 1932 Lowry exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and in 1934 was elected R.B.A. The year 1939 saw his first one-man exhibition and sadly the death of his mother with whom he had lived, his father having died in 1932. Lowry stayed in Pendlebury until 1948, then moved to Mottram in Longdendale Cheshire, which from all accounts he disliked, and where he died in 1976. Lowry was belatedly elected A.R.A. in 1955 and R.A. in 1962.

Lowry himself was perhaps surprisingly a great admirer of the Pre-Raphaelites, he owned works by Rossetti and Ford Madox Brown, and works by Lucien Freud. His early work owes something to an anglicized form of impressionism, while his industrial scenes, far from being naive or primitive, show careful observation and character, the work of an artist who studied at art school a considerable time. Without question Lowry is a unique artist, his works a product of his environment and character, one of the great names in twentieth century British art.

L S Lowry is unquestionably one of the most celebrated British artists and his unique contribution to recording the period, culture and landscape of the industrial north is without parallel. His work is a most distinctive and comprehensive record of the pre- and post World War Two northern industrial town. Many people associate Lowry with "Matchstick men" which became virtually his trademark, but he also produced a large number of empty landscapes and seascapes which are now recognised as masterpieces in their own right. Later in his life he concentrated on producing paintings of figures either singly or in groups, invariably against a white background.

He also produced thousand of pencil drawings during his lifetime, these are now very collectable and the best ones are incredibly detailed.

Lowry’s status as one of the major British artists of the 2oth Century was reinforced when the painting “Going to the Match” was sold at Auction for a record £1.9 million. The recent addition of the Lowry Centre in Salford affirms the national importance of this artist.

Painting

A Lancashire Town 1945
- Click image to view -

Painting

Boy in Yellow Jacket
- Click image to view -

Painting

Mill Scene
- Click image to view -

Painting

Northern Industrial Town Scene, 1956
- Click image to view -

Painting

City Gentlemen
- Click image to view -