“I saw the industrial scene and I was affected by it. I tried to paint it all the time. I tried to paint the industrial scene as best I could. It wasn’t easy”
Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887 – 1976)
Lowry became a painter much by chance: one day after missing a train he walked among terraced houses at the foot of a mill and was filled with the urge to paint it. At that moment he decided to become an artist.
Although Lowry’s works are inspired by Pendlebury, Lancashire, the area he lived and worked for over 40 years, his work reflects the images of this place contained in his mind as much as being authentic recreations of a scene in the moment he was painting. His figures are also somewhat personal in style, sometimes referred to as matchstick men by art historians, they represent a personal and somewhat nostalgic point of view. Lowry was also heavily inspired by French painters of the late 19th century, including Van Gogh, Pissaro and Seurat, who were often collectivised as the ‘painters of modern life.’
The scenes Lowry makes his subjects provide an account of 20th century working class life, which is otherwise absent from painting of this period, making him somewhat unique and idiosyncratic. A wonderful anomaly. Subjects of his painting include football matches, protest marches as well as working life and other gritty realities of the time.
Recognition came to Lowry later in life, and he is well distinguished as the record holder for being the person to have rejected the most honours from the establishment, including the knighthood offered to him in 1968.