Saturday, 6 July 2013

1955 - The Farm

The Farm 1955
Oil on Canvas
40.5 x 51 cm
Sold [July 2008] for £276,000 including premium
Signed and Dated 'L.S. LOWRY 1955' (lower right)

with The Lefevre Gallery, London
Collection Co-Operative Society, since the mid 1960's

It would be a mistake to conceive of Lowry, as many do, as purely a painter of urban and industrial scenes. Portraiture, seascapes and rural landscape too held great interest for him. His sheer diversity as an artist is often overlooked but owes much to his lengthy artistic education. He studied for many years at the Municipal College of Art in Manchester. This endowed Lowry with an academic training that was second to none – an understanding of which underpins all his compositions.

The Farm depicts a pastoral scene in Regent Street, Lytham. This was a nearby area that Lowry often explored whilst living at Pendlebury. He first began to draw the locality in pastel circa 1912-20. Indeed, there are some extant examples of this exact bend of road. This makes the present work particularly interesting in that he revisited the same motif over thirty years later (1955).

There are a number of similarities between the early pieces and this one, such as the absence of prominent figures and the presence of subtle colour nuance. However, here we can fully appreciate the artist's development through some important stylistic advances. In the intervening years, Lowry had honed his technique and the results are clear to see. Now, he has the confidence to work in oil and on a larger scale. This is not a tentative rendering of a local scene but a finished work imbued with a tenderness and affection for nature. He has painted a rural landscape not to serve as a backdrop for figures or a cart but as an end in itself.

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