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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE BRITISH COLLECTION

Street Scene

Street Scene
signed and dated 'LS LOWRY 1957' (lower right)
oil on canvas-board
10 x 14 in. (25.4 x 35.6 cm.)
Painted in 1957.
A gift from the artist to Alice Winifred Pamela Jones (née Thompson), circa 1959-61, and by descent to the previous owner.
Their sale; Christie's, London, 10 July 2013, lot 16, where purchased by the present owner.
Manchester Evening News, 26 March 1999.
The Mirror, 29 March 1999.
T.G. Rosenthal, L.S. Lowry: The Art and the Artist, Norwich, 2010, p. 81, incorrectly dated '1937', illustrated.
Salford, The Lowry, Lowry's People, April - September 2000, exhibition not numbered, incorrectly dated '1937'.
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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Angus Granlund
Angus Granlund Director, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

By the 1950s, the urban landscape that Lowry knew so well and had painted and drawn so regularly was changing. The regeneration of the poorer areas of the city to make way for improved living conditions for its inhabitants resulted in many of Lowry's favourite buildings and views being destroyed.

For inspiration, Lowry turned to the sketches of the street scenes that he had made throughout his long career as a rent-collector, and a series of composite landscapes were created throughout the 1950s and 1960s. These are non-specific scenes without features that would immediately identify specific parts of the city but which are filled with familiar motifs that the artist revisited many times. Hoardings, traffic and other paraphernalia of a busy street are notable in their absence, whilst figures in the foreground often dominate the compositions. The present work perfectly demonstrates how Lowry masterfully balances all of these compositional elements.

Looming on the horizon of the present work is the familiar Acme spinning mill, which frequents many of Lowry's best industrial paintings. The topography of the street is made up of composite terraces, churches and factory chimneys. The end of row house, with its steep staircase, dominates the cross-roads in a subtly powerful manner. To its left, the road descends into the distance towards the two immensely tall factory chimneys. To the right the road climbs upwards to pass the church with its spire clock tower. We are loosely in the setting of St Michael and All Angels, Angel Meadow. Lowry was fascinated by the road which led up to the church, and he depicted it many times and in many guises. Although the background changes, the broken structure and the curved pavement dividing the road in two, does not. What inspired Lowry was only the basic structure of the site; around this, using the images taken from his iconography, he created his own vision. Here the road's horseshoe bend plays an integral part in uniting and balancing both the picture's composition and its central themes. The viewer's eye is drawn to follow the curvature of the road to either side of the canvas: up to the church, and down to the factory, with the end of row house in the middle. It is as if we are following Lowry's figures as they make their routine journeys between work, worship and home. Be it for pure compositional purpose, or a wider comment on the relative importance of these three societal pillars, Lowry makes each building as tall as the other. The house, however, with its terracotta façade, commands the focal point of the composition.

Lowry deliberately restricted his palette, but wrought wonders from it. Here the warm terracotta of the central house is underscored by the white of the sky and streets, framed by the mustard and black buildings on either side and punctuated by the strong colours of the figures' clothing. There is some brown here and there, but it is from these strong colours that Lowry concocts a powerful composition, typically full of visual incident. Figures dawdle and stare, a pram approaches, but all is held in balance by the strong architectural emphasis of the setting.

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