Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887-1976)
Industrial Landscape
signed and dated 'L.S. LOWRY 1944' (lower right)
oil on canvas
24 x 36 in. (61 x 91.4 cm.)
with Lefevre Gallery, London.
Mrs C.B. Notley; Sotheby's, London, 7 April 1971, lot 96, where purchased by the present owner.

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Lot Essay

Industrial Landscape (1944) is a classic Lowry chimney-scape, with the foreground houses putting forth smoke to rival the thicket of factory chimneys across the background. In between lies a bleak waste of water, zigzagging among buildings and wharves, with knots of people gathering in the open spaces to add a rhythmical surge to the sluggish tide of the industrial river. This is a vista of smoke-blackened façades and reeking dumps, of desolate shore and relentless mechanical production. And yet there is a strange and powerful beauty to the scene, conjured up by Lowry's ability to organise such unpromising material, to make a harmonious composition out of it and so to balance the colours and forms that a new and unexpected optimism emerges from it. Notice the suggestion of more factory buildings, streets, canals and chimneys in the far distance, not painted with any degree of material reality, but only evoked in ghostly fashion in white paint - white on white - subtly inscribed with form. The industrial plain goes on, seemingly without cease, but here whited out in the fogs of pollution and remoteness. The picture space is articulated by the carefully-placed vertical accents of chimneys, spires and the occasional telegraph pole.


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