Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887-1976)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887-1976)

Bolton Landscape

Details
Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887-1976)
Bolton Landscape
signed and dated 'LS Lowry 1960' (lower left), inscribed 'Bolton Landscape' (on the canvas-overlap)
oil on canvas
22 x 30 in. (55.9 x 76.2 cm.)
Provenance
with Lefevre Gallery, London.
with Halcyon Gallery, London, where purchased by the present owner.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Lot Essay

Lowry's mature landscapes, in contrast to his urban scenes, present a pared-back vision, in which everything that was not central to his meaning is cut away to leave only the essentials of the landscape. The post-war period was a time of harsh redevelopment in the North West and the neighbourhoods not destroyed by war were demolished to make way for modern high-rises, in stark contrast to the terraces of Lowry's youth and the sense of community and kinship that they represented. Lowry had no interest in this new environment and he continued to view the city with the eyes of his youth.

Lowry had always been interested in depicting the general public at play, and his busy crowd scenes from the 1930s and 40s are teaming with characters carrying balloons or flags, filling the canvas with their holiday mood of fun and excitement. The city sits on the horizon as a reminder of what the rest of the year will hold, after a day's holiday. However, by the late 1950s, and in the present work which was painted in 1960, the smoking factory and city terraces are still dominating the composition but the people can no longer be seen, and the viewer is presented with an empty park and football pitch from which the leisure seekers have completely disappeared. The artist emphasises the isolation of the modern city, where the lack of community has broken down centuries of tradition and continuity.

Discussing these mature landscapes, Michael Howard remarks, 'It seems clear that his most effective mature landscapes are those that, even though empty of any sign of human activity, are nevertheless invested with human presence and meaning. They exude a sense of heaviness, an oppressive, catatonic stillness that comes close to the sublime landscapes of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Romantic painters... the natural landscape is reorganised into a series of simple rhythmic patterns, reductive in both colour and line. There is no attempt to catalogue the shifting effects of the weather or light, and rarely do we see tractors or cars, or any other signs of the incidental activity that are the mark of a working landscape. These are in effect timeless landscapes, imbued with a cold light that appears to emanate from the canvas itself. Lowry has found in these works painterly equivalents for certain visual effects of atmosphere that are particular to the Northern hill landscape, and his roughened or, on occasion, faceted surfaces catch and reflect the light, laying bare the lineaments of the landscape to the eye of the viewer' (see M. Howard, Lowry A Visionary Artist, Salford, 2000, p. 213).

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