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

The Lake

Details
Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887-1976)
The Lake
signed and dated 'L.S. LOWRY 1971' (lower right)
oil on canvas
18 x 24 in. (45.7 x 61 cm.)
Provenance
with Lefevre Gallery, London.
with Gillian Jason Gallery, London, where purchased by the present owner's husband in 1986.
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.

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Anne Haasjes
Anne Haasjes

Lot Essay

L.S. Lowry is perhaps best known for his industrial scenes showing manual labourers scurrying amongst cumbersome man-made structures. These landscapes all appear immersed in factory smog that produces an eerie off-white atmosphere devoid of bright sunlight or changing weather. Though The Lake visibly shares many aesthetic similarities with these works, it brings to light a more social subject matter reminding us that Lowry painted many depictions of people at leisure either watching football matches, boat races, playing cricket or at a fairground. Despite the lower half of the painting showing joyous activity on a lake, the upper half of the composition acts as a reminder of the bleak-looking context it is set against. While the figures frolic in this little area of nature maybe during their Sunday off, the dark, almost ominous spikes of the buildings on the horizon signal the work that needs to be continued within the confines of the factory walls. In many of Lowry’s leisure scenes, such visual symbols are used to highlight the presence of the industrial. Sometimes this is subtly inserted in the form of a factory chimney barely visible through the mist, whereas other times the factories enclose around the figures like in this painting.

Lowry painted lake scenes throughout his career and the large surfaces of water allowed the artist to create vast planes of muggy white in his compositions which he often juxtaposed with dark patches of land; the artist’s exploration of this visual imagery reached its culmination in his abstract-looking sea-scapes from the 1950s. Comparing the canvas presented here to Crime Lake (1942), one can see that the latter certainly contains more menacing undertones as Lowry creates a visual pun playing on the name of the lake by displaying some suspicious behaviour taking place in the foreground. The Lake depicts a far more serene scene devoid of anything obviously suspicious however, a sense of foreboding and unease remains. Arguably, this is most emphatically propagated by the colour scheme and strong use of dark tones so characteristic of Lowry’s oeuvre.

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