Laurence Stephen Lowry, RA, RBA, LG, NS

(1887 - 1976)

Station Approach, Manchester

Signed and dated, lower left: L.S. LOWRY 1960
Oil on canvas
30 x 40 in – 76.2 x 101.6 cm
Frame size
37 x 47 in – 94 x 119.4 cm 

Tel.: +44 (0)20 7839 7693

Provenance

Alex. Reid & Lefevre Ltd., London;
Waddington Galleries, London;
Christie’s, London, 12 July 1974, Lot 369A;
Crane Kalman Gallery, London;
Victor Sandleson Esq., 1976;
Christie’s, London, 8 June 1984, Lot 179;
Mrs. C. Zukas, UK, 1985;
Private collection, UK;
MacConnal-Mason Gallery, London;
Private collection, UK
Painted in 1960, Station Approach Manchester is one of the few compositions where Lowry was almost entirely faithful to the scene he was depicting. This was the case with a number of similar, large scale paintings of distinctive landmarks executed around this period, including Piccadilly Circus. The London and North Western Railway Exchange station was built in 1884 with principle links to Liverpool, Huddersfield, Leeds, Hull and Newcastle as well as services to London, Euston. Its importance as a hub is emphasised by the concentrated flow of people, passing the Cromwell statue which was presented to the city in 1875, and crossing the railway bridge. Station Approach, Manchester was clearly something Lowry held in high regard as, following his election to the RA in 1962, he presented the Academy with a slightly smaller version of the present work.

Biography

Laurence Stephen Lowry’s extraordinary standing and popularity owe everything to his reputation as an urban realist, a painter of mill towns populated with a myriad of ‘stick’ figures. In truth, for more than a third of his career he had left the urban scenes behind and turned to more solitary subjects, reflecting perhaps his own loneliness. Lowry was born in Manchester to relatively prosperous parents, who in 1909, moved to the industrial district of Pendlebury.

He studied at Manchester and Salford Schools of Art until 1928, whilst working as a clearly very sympathetic rent collector, one of Lowry’s teachers being Pierre Adolphe Valette (1876-1942). From 1932 Lowry exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and in 1934 was elected RBA. 1939 saw his first one-man exhibition and sadly the death of his mother with whom he had lived, his father having died in 1932. Lowry stayed in Pendlebury until 1948, then moved to Mottram in Longdendale, Cheshire, which from all accounts he disliked, and where he died in 1976. Lowry was belatedly elected ARA in 1955 and RA in 1962. Lowry was perhaps surprisingly, a great admirer of the Pre-Raphaelites; he owned works by Dante Gabriel Charles Rossetti (1828-1882) and Ford Madox Brown (1821-1893), and works by Lucien Freud (b.1922).

His early work owes something to an Anglicised form of impressionism, while his industrial scenes, far from being naïve or primitive, show careful observation and character, the work of an artist who studied at art school a considerable time. Without question Lowry is a unique artist, his works a product of his environment and character, one of the great names in 20th century British art.

His works can be found in museums in: London, Tate Britain; Manchester; Nottingham; Salford and New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Laurence Stephen Lowry, RA, RBA, LG, NS