Art Wednesday: Laurence Stephen Lowry

 The riverbank

Artist:  Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887 - 1976)
Born: England
Painter of industrial scenes

By day LS Lowry was a debt collector and by night he painted in the attic of his parents home.  His mother, a difficult woman who suffered from depression, saw his paintings and hated them, so never returned to the attic.  It wasn't until her death in 1939 did he bring any of his paintings down stairs.  He said of his mother; "She did not understand my painting, but she understood me and that was enough."

Due to his parents lack of money his family to move to Station Road, Pendlebury, where factory chimneys were a more familiar sight then trees. Lowry would recall "At first I detested it, and then, after years I got pretty interested in it, then obsessed by it." The subjects for his paintings were on his doorstep and he painted them over and over again.  He painted what he saw, they aren't necessarily pretty paintings, life isn't always pretty, but they show reality.

However LS Lowry may surprise you.  These first few paintings are what made Lowry famous, but check out the paintings near the end - very different indeed.

This view is based on Pendlebury Market, close to LS Lowry’s home. As with many of his crowd scenes, there is a sombre mood hanging over the painting. “All my people are lonely”, Lowry said, “Crowds are the most lonely thing of all”.
Coming from the mill
Lowry said of this painting “People.. refuse to believe me when I tell them I saw a man dressed just like that, doing just that, from the top of a bus in Hasligden.. I couldn’t resist doing him as a subject” Lowry put his own initials on the briefcase.
The funeral party
 The Lake, 1937
 Industrialization was not a pretty sight at all - there is sadness in this paintings.
Self portrait - just when you were thinking he could paint in the traditional style, this painting shows he could, but chose not to.
By St Phillips Church
The landmark
The landscape

Mini Anne, 1957 (below) - who was Ann? She features in a number of Lowry’s paintings and drawings but nobody knows who she was. It is possible that Ann was an imaginary figure, perhaps based on several women that Lowry knew.
Art work and information from: The LS Lowry Collection website



  1. An interesting post, thank you

  2. hmmm... Some of these remind me of kids picture books. I do like some of them, but others are not my favourite - you can probably figure out which is which!! :P

  3. He is definitely an interesting artist. I remember reading about him and seeing some of his paintings in my daughter's art books. I think I like the one of the man lying down on the wall, very funny!

  4. I truly enjoyed this post, Jo. I am fascinated by the lives of artists and composers. Although they were rarely paragons of virtue, it interests me to see how their view of the world was expressed in their artwork.

  5. Jo,

    I think I would have liked to meet Mr. Lowry. He sounds like a very interesting individual.

    I could definitely see the somberness in his earlier paintings. I have to agree what he said about crowds - they are the lonliest of all things.

    Good choice today. I really enjoyed viewing these works of art.

    -L. Rose

  6. Recognised some of his more well known works but it is things like The Landmark that really strike me. Very Japanesy in feel too. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Ganeida - every time I look at Landmark it is like he has painted Telstra Tower in Canberra, which sits on top of Black Mountain with the rolling hills surrounding it. Even in the forefront of the painting is a lake, just like the one we have here. It really could have been a painting of Canberra!!


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