“I just painted what I saw – or the way I saw it and what I wanted to paint.”
Laurence Stephen Lowry is one of Manchester’s most famous and well-respected artists and his work is becoming more appreciated as time goes by.
Today marks 44 years since his death, but interest in the man and his work is as strong as ever.
There hasn’t been a better time to learn about one of the city’s most famous artists and admire his work.
The Lowry arts centre, which opened 20 years ago, is home to the largest public collection of paintings and drawings by L.S. Lowry.
A film portraying the relationship between the artist and his mother was released last year and a recently discovered painting of his sold for millions last month.
The newly discovered painting titled ‘The Mill, Pendlebury’ sold for £2.65m to a private collector.
The movie – Mrs Lowry and Son – stars Timothy Spall as L.S. Lowry and Vanessa Redgrave as his hard to please mother; who had been bed-bound since her husband’s death in 1932.
L.S. Lowry, although born in Stretford, lived and worked in industrial Pendlebury for most of his life, inspiring a lot of his work.
He studied painting and drawing in the evenings at the Municipal College of Art and at Salford School of Art, while working as a rent collector during the day.
Although best known for his mill scenes and industrial landscapes, Lowry’s work covers a wide range of themes and subjects, from landscapes and seascapes to portraits and surreal imaginings.
Lowry had a wonderful ability to capture emotion and a sense of time with his paintings. He can tell a story with a single picture.
Perhaps his most famous painting Coming from the Mill, which Lowry described as his most characteristic Mill scene, shows how he blended reality with imagination.
The characteristic Lowry figures in the scene are integral to capturing the feeling.
“A street is not a street without people, it is as dead as mutton,” said the artist.
There was a certain loneliness to Lowry’s life that shaped his artistic vision: “Had I not been lonely, none of my work would have happened. I should not have done what I’ve done, or seen the way I saw things.”
His mother died in 1939, tragically the same year Lowry had his first solo exhibition in London at Lefevre Gallery.
Many of his works sold at this exhibition and spearhead Lowry into national fame.
Lowry continued to draw into old age and died aged 88 on 23 February 1976. A lot of previously unseen work was discovered in his house after his death.
The Lowry arts centre acquired his work on its opening in April 2000 from Salford Museum & Art Gallery who had been a long-standing collector of his work.
On display along side his work are artists with similar styles and a collection of art that Lowry himself admired and acquired during his life.
There is also a 20 minute video giving a brief overview of his life and work.
Manchester is Lowry’s city. See it how he saw it.
Entry is free, with an option to donate. Visit thelowry.com for more information about the artist and his work.