Friday, 19 July 2013

1943 - Winter in Pendlebury, Manchester

Winter in Pendlebury, Manchester 1943
Oil on Panel
42.2 x 22.8 cm
Swindon Art Gallery

1960 - In Pendlebury

In Pendlebury 1960
Oil on Canvas 
16 x 10 in. (40.6 x 25.4 cm.) 
Sold [08 June 2007] for £204,000 (Christie's, London, King Street)
Signed and Dated 'L.S. LOWRY 1960' (lower left) and inscribed 'IN PENDLEBURY' (on the canvas overlap)

with Lefevre Gallery, London, where purchased by the present owner in March 1989. 

Sunderland, Art Gallery, on loan from 1990-2006. 

In May 1909 Lowry and his family moved from Manchester's affluent Victoria Park to 117 Station Road, Pendlebury to a four-bedroomed, four-storey Victorian semi-detached villa in the countryside beyond the city. The move was necessitated to save money and the family was depressed by the loss of their social status. Here Elizabeth Lowry, the artist's mother began to gradually withdraw from society into the bed-ridden invalid that she would become, eventually requiring her long-suffering son to nurse her day and night.

Lowry later acknowledged the move to Pendlebury as the source of his artistic inspiration, 'I had lived in the residential side of Manchester - a very nice residential side - and then I went to live in Pendlebury - one of the most industrial villages in the countryside mid-way between Manchester and Bolton. At first I detested it. And then, after a few years, I got pretty interested in it and began to walk about. Vaguely in my mind I suppose pictures were forming, and then for about thirty odd years after I did nothing but industrial pictures. That is how it all happened. I wasn't brought up to it' (see S. Rohde, L.S. Lowry A Biography, Salford, 1999, pp.81-6).

The present work shows St Mary's Church, later demolished in 1964, and the Albion Mill that stood opposite.

1954 - Whitehaven

Whitehaven 1954
Oil on Canvas 
20 x 30 in. (50.8 x 76.2 cm.) 
Sold [08 June 2007] for £180,000 (Christie's,London, King Street)
Signed and Dated 'L.S. Lowry 1954' (lower right)

with Crane Kalman, London.
J. Millburn, December 1988.
with Crane Kalman, London. 

probably London, Lefevre Gallery, L.S. Lowry, March - April 1956, no. 26, as 'Near Whitehaven'.
probably London, Royal Academy, L.S. Lowry R.A. 1887-1976, September - November 1976, no. 207, as 'Near Whitehaven'. 

In this view of Whitehaven, Lowry has chosen to address the industrial element of the town, juxtaposing the factory chimneys with the coast. The Georgian town of Whitehaven was built around the shipping and mining industries, and some of the coal mines extended several miles beneath the sea bed.

To heighten the contrast between the natural and the man-made, Lowry has used visual distinctions inWhitehaven. The factory chimneys are tall and thin, strong verticals that are echoed in the verticals of the flag-pole to the right and in the houses and church in the background. Lowry also paints the sea wall with strong black outlines, placing emphasis on the straight line of the man-made constructions. This contrasts with the loose and thick brush-strokes that he uses to describe the sea and the heavy waves. It is as if the sea cannot be contained through the confines of paint. He also makes a distinction between the sweeping curve of the coast line and the hard right-angles of the industrial buildings.

The palette in Whitehaven is very subdued, and the black and white tones are interspersed only occasionally with red, including in the signature and date. The sea is treated with heavy black sweeps of the brush, suggesting rising and falling waves, and brings to mind Lowry's words, 'It's the Battle of Life - the turbulence of the sea - and life's pretty turbulent isn't it? I am very fond of the sea, of course, I have been fond of the sea all my life: how wonderful it is, yet how horrible it is. But I often think ... what if it suddenly changed its mind and didn't turn the tide? And came straight on? If it didn't stop and came on and on and on and on ... that would be the end of it all' (see J. Spalding, exhibition catalogue, Lowry, Middlesbrough, Cleveland Art Gallery, 1987, p. 61).

Thursday, 18 July 2013

1967 - Waiting for the Tide, South Shields

Waiting for the Tide, South Shields 1967
Oil on Canvas
15.1 x 30.5 cm
The L.S. Lowry Collection

1943 - Waiting for the Shop to Open

Waiting for the Shop to Open 1943
Oil on Canvas
43.3 x 53.3 cm
Manchester City Galleries
An everyday street scene in front of a greengrocer's 'fish and fruit' shop in wartime Britain. A line of customers wait patiently for the shop to open.

In the background there is an abstract, industrial scene representing houses and factories with smoking chimneys. During this time of shortages, scenes of waiting in queues were common. The shop number is the same as Lowry's house, representing one of Lowry's gestures of light humour.

1959 - View of Deptford Power Station from Greenwich

View of Deptford Power Station from Greenwich 1959
Oil on Canvas
50.8 x 76.2 cm
National Maritime Museum

1936 - View of a Town

View of a Town 1936
Oil on Canvas
40.6 x 50.8 cm
The Collection: Art & Archaeology in Lincolnshire (Usher Gallery)