L.S. Lowry - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Monday, February 8, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Lefevre Gallery, London
    Private Collection
    Sotheby’s, London, Modern & Post-War British Art, 16 November 2011, lot 179
    Offer Waterman, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I've a one track mind, sir. Poverty and gloom. Never a joyous picture of mine you'll see.Always gloom. I never do a jolly picture.” L. S. Lowry interview on Tyne Tees Television, 1968.

    Laurence Stephen Lowry’s artistic style is defined by the subdued nature his paintings carry. Whether it was a cityscape or a seascape, even though movement was skilfully crafted within the scene, there is always a sense of stillness that evokes a serene response within the viewer. This recurring motif of solitude is truly what elevates his work above just the talent of his brushwork and into an interactive work, where the viewer is engulfed by the emotion of the piece.

    The structure of Lowry’s paintings follow a general visual arrangement; there is movement created in the foreground and an emotive emptiness in the background. This emptiness is created through the use of bleak colour, reminiscent of an overcast sky, blocking out the sun.

    Another theme that runs through Lowry’s career is the sense of the outside looking in, a loner surveying the passing world. In his famed industrial cityscapes the imagery gives this sense of continuous busy movement from the figures and the chimney’s churning out smoke, but there is always a sense of stillness from the viewer, like he is watching the passers-by. This is also evident in his seascapes, where the movement is created through the waves, crashing and breaking in the foreground, while the viewer is still, taking in the scene.

    The present lot merges the painterly style of the seascapes with the subject matter of his famed industrial scenes. Reservoir is an image of the reservoirs in the Pennines which provide water to Yorkshire and Lowry’s home county of Lancashire. They are man-made and are essential to the livelihood of the North of England, providing work for the people, and clean water to the north. This is exaggerated by the fact that the reservoirs were created by the destruction of villages, and resident s had to leave their homes to allow the construction of the water source. Adding to the eerie nature of the image as the water lies still on top of a deserted town, with no trace of this significant shift in the social landscape.

Property from an Important Private Collector



oil on board
48.7 x 94 cm (19 1/8 x 37 in.)
Signed and dated 'L.S Lowry 1952' on the lower left.

£400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for £452,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London

+44 207 318 4063

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 9 February 2016 7pm