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This major show sets out to reveal how L.S. Lowry, as Britain’s pre-eminent painter of the industrial city, was inspired by the Symbolist townscapes of Camille Pissarro and Maurice Utrillo.
Watch our video tour of the exhibition before you go.
From simple character sketches made on office paper in the 1920s to bleak depictions of a ravaged Manchester, devastated by the blitz. L.S. Lowry is known for capturing the heart of the Industrial North, painting a world of factories and red brick houses under plumes of chimney smoke. Yet he also had a love of the sea and the Welsh countryside, painting the valleys of South Wales under creamy grey skies.
This exhibition featuring 80 works presents Lowry as a landscape painter who sought to present working class life in 20th-century Britain by using the stylistic techniques of the French symbolists.
Coming Out of School, 1927, is inspired by a school seen in Lancashire. In 1939 John Rothenstein, then Director of the Tate Gallery, said it 'held up to the bleakness, the obsolete shabbiness, the grimy fogboundness, the grimness of northern industrial England.'
What the critics say
"[The curators'] portrait of Lowry as a painter of modern life is superbly elaborated throughout in the exacting choice of paintings, photographs, archive films, snatches of George Formby and, of course, their own words."
"Anyone interested in British art should see this show."
"Modern life didn't get much more specific in its texture, its architecture, its institutions, and even the cast and quality of its light, than the world Lowry inhabited. He recorded its specifics, and found a kind of beauty there."