L. S. Lowry

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L. S. Lowry was a renowned and notable English painter, who was celebrated and acclaimed for his thought-provoking and captivating canvases that featured tragic and emotional scenes of industrial landscapes, and threw light on the loneliness and seclusion of modern life.

Laurence Stephen Lowry was born on November 1, 1887, in Manchester, England. Lowry’s childhood was an uncharacteristically unhappy one as his family was constantly battling with a shortage of money, and little Laurence did not share a particularly close relationship with either of his parents. He did not enjoy his studies at school and he developed a habit staying alone, which did not help the fact that he did not make many friends.

His one and only solace growing up was his artistic skills, and his natural talent, which were largely self-taught as he gave free reign to the development of his passion. In 1909, his family moved to the industrial town of Pendlebury, a town which was rapidly developing textile mills, factories and industries, and all this activity around young Laurence inspired him and went on to form the theme for some his most iconic paintings.

In 1905, at the age of 15, Laurence began attending the Manchester Academy of Fine Art. Later, he also attended the Salford Royal Technical College in Peel Park. Laurence had the opportunity to learn his craft from prolific and notable painters, such as Adolphe Valette, who taught him the innovation brought about by French impressionism to the technique of urban landscapes. He began to frequent the circles of prominent artists and attend exhibitions sponsored by illustrious patrons, and he developed a profound appreciation for the work of Pre-Raphaelites such as Rossetti and Ford Madox Brown. Soon, Laurence began to incorporate all the elements that influenced and inspired him in creating his own unique and distinctive style.

However, despite his great skill and talent, he was able to secure commercial success and critical acclaim until 1939, when he showcased his work at his first solo exhibition, which took place in London. His work is characterized for his depictions of the urban industrial landscapes of the Manchester, Salford, Pendlebury and other towns in the East Midlands. In 1943, he was appointed as the official war artist, and later in 1953, he was appointed as the official artist of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Laurence gave his own unique and distinctive touch to each landscape that he painted. Soon, he began garnering immense fame for his industrial paintings that featured urban structures such as factories, mills, residential buildings, industries etc. Particularly appealing and distinctive was his approach of depicting crowds and human subjects as small, sticklike figures that were seen to be immersed in their everyday tasks and chores of the busy, modern life.  Some of his most famous paintings include, ‘Industrial Landscape’, ‘The Viaduct’, ‘The Football Match’, ‘Coming from the Mill’, and ‘Going to the Match’, among many others.

L. S. Lowry died on February 23, 1976, at the age of 88. Shortly after his death, the Royal Academy honoured his art with a retrospective exhibition that showcased some of his most iconic and highly acclaimed works.

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