Wednesday, 17 July 2013

1959 - Sunday in the Park, Manchester

Sunday in the Park, Manchester 1959
Oil on Canvas 
14 x 10 in. (35.5 x 25.4 cm.) 
Sold [June 2007] for £180,000 at Christie's [London, King Street]
Signed and Dated 'L S LOWRY 1959' (lower right)

with Lefevre Gallery, London, where purchased by the previous owner's husband.

Cape Town, South African National Gallery, The Friends Collection, 1971, no. 50. 

In Sunday in the Park, Manchester Lowry depicts people enjoying a Sunday stroll in the park. The subject matter of people within urban parks was a source of inspiration for a number of Lowry's paintings. As in The Park (see lot 111) Lowry has included an industrial background in the present work and the large factories and smoking chimneys are a reminder that the people depicted are unable to completely escape their working lives even during their leisure time.

The composition of the present work is arranged on receding horizontal planes which is a typical device used by Lowry. The painting is very similar in composition to another painting of the same date, Park scene, Manchester (private collection) and both paintings have a strip of grass and fence in the immediate foreground, rather than any figures. The two women seated back-to-back on the bench in Sunday in the Park, Manchester appear also in A Seat in the Park, 1952 (private collection). Although in the latter work there is a figure seated between them, they seem to express Lowry's constant fascination with how people could be physically close to each other but remain distinctly distant and alone.

Lowry commented to Mervyn Levy, 'All those people in my pictures, they are all alone, you know. They have all got their private sorrows, their own absorptions. But they can't contact one another. We are all of us alone - cut off. All my people are lonely. Crowds are the most lonely thing of all. Everyone is a stranger to everyone else. You have only got to look at them to see that' (see M. Howard, Lowry: A Visionary Artist, Salford, 2000, p. 133).

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