Head of a Girl

by L S Lowry

P.O.A.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 28.5 x 22.1 inches/72.4 x 56.1 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed and dated ‘LS Lowry 1974’ (lower left)
MEDIUM: Pencil and biro on thick card

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    Catalogue No: 6938 Categories: , Tags: ,

    During the 1950s, Lowry turned more and more to individual portraits. Rendered in greater detail than his “matchstick” figures, and usually set against blank backgrounds, his figures were not based on actual individuals but came rather, in Lowry’s words, “from my own head”. With these pieces he was trying to exorcise something of the depression and loneliness he experienced most acutely in the 1920s and 1930s Lowry did not identify his portraits, giving them general titles such as here.

    Pat Cooke; Her Estate Sale; Bonhams, 2004, where acquired by the present owner
    Private Collection, U.K.

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    Laurence Stephen Lowry was an English artist born on Barrett Street, Stretford, in Lancashire. Many of his drawings and paintings depict nearby Salford and the surrounding areas, including Pendlebury, which is where he lived and worked for over 40 years.

    As a young boy, Lowry lived in the leafy Manchester suburb of Victoria Park. Lack of finances resulted in the family then having to move to Station Road, Pendlebury, Salford – a far more industrial landscape than Lowry had been used to. Lowry would recall “At first I detested it, and then, after years I got pretty interested in it, then obsessed by it.”

    Lowry studied both at the Manchester Academy of Fine Art and at Salford Royal Technical College in Peel Park, close to where he lived. Tutored by the likes of the famed French impressionist Adolphe Valette, and inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite artists Ford Madox Brown and Rossetti, Lowry understood how the power of art and artists could influence the representation of landscapes and, in particular, the modern city. Lowry felt that drawings were as hard to do as painting. He worked the surface of his drawings by smudging, erasing and rubbing the pencil lines on his paper to build the atmosphere of the drawing. Lowry developed his own individual style, gathering inspiration from the surrounding landscape of busy cotton mills, terraced houses and the bustle of the working classes.

    Best known for his depictions of industrial Manchester and Salford and “matchstick men,” his work covers a wide range of subject matter including seascapes, landscapes and portraits, among which are the oil paintings of his mother and father which he kept on display in his home throughout his life.

    L.S Lowry has been one of the biggest British successes in the last ten years moving out of obscurity to a key position in British Art. His work can now be found in museums and private collections across the globe, including the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, The Imperial War Museum in London, the MOMA in New York and the Tate in London. In 2013, Tate Britain held a retrospective of his work, the first one since his death.

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