The Spectators, 1923

by L S Lowry

P.O.A.

DIMENSIONS: 12 x 17.6 inches (30.5 x 44.7 cm)
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘L S Lowry’ and dated (lower right)
MEDIUM: Oil on board

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    Catalogue No: 6664 Categories: , Tags: , , , ,

    This is a wonderful large oil by Lowry, painted in 1923. Although Lowry was a lifelong supporter of Manchester City, this painting takes as its subject supporters on their way to see the Bolton Wanderers. The artist had a soft spot for rival team Bolton Wanderers, as his home in Pendlebury was within walking distance of their former stadium at Burnden Park.

    Lowry’s most expensive work to date also took football as it’s subject. ‘The football Match’  was sold at London auction house Christie’s to an unknown bidder for a total of £5,641,250 in 2011.

    Throughout the 1920s Lowry developed his theme of painting the industrial scene and probably produced more work in this decade than in any other. He exhibited widely with various societies, including the New English Art Club and the Society of Modern Painters, as well as in Paris, but no works were sold. Monty Bloom, a previous owner of this work, was a very close friend and major collector of Lowry; in fact, Bloom held the largest collection of Lowry’s work in the world.

    The Spectators is a prime example of Lowry’s fascinated depictions of British society, where he captures the on goings of the local people, taking his sketchbook everywhere with him and drawing his surroundings as he went along. Lowry would often portray these figures in a simplistic and somewhat humorous manner. He insisted his work was based on real characters, often people he saw living on the streets. Also, the spontaneity of these drawings captured the energy of their location and that particular moment in time.

    Private collection of Monty Bloom, United Kingdom
    (with) Tate Gallery, 1966-1967
    (with) Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport, 1967
    Sold: Christie’s, London, March 9th 1990, Lot 288
    Private collection, United Kingdom
    (with) Halcyon Gallery
    Private collection, United Kingdom

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    Sunderland, Art Gallery, L. S. Lowry, R.A., August-September, 1986, no. 10, Manchester, Whitworth Art Gallery, September-October 1966, Bristol, City Art Gallery, October-November 1966, London, Tate Gallery, November 1966-January 67
    Southport, Atkinson Art Gallery, The Bloom Collection, 1967, no. 24

    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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