L. S. Lowry
The English artist L.S Lowry was born on 1st November 1887 in Manchester, in northern England. Lowry was an outsider and a loner who suffered from Asperger Syndrome, a jovial, self-effacing individual, who was often depressed and very lonely. He never married, found relationships almost impossible and the London art establishment never took him very seriously.
From childhood Lowry loved drawing and doodling, but as far as his mother was concerned there was simply no question of him being allowed to be an artist. In 1905 he was an evening student at Manchester School of Art and was inspired by the French tutor of drawing, Adolphe Valette.
The 1930’s were a struggle, he had no emotional support at home and despite numerous exhibitions in Canada, Paris, Manchester, he sold very few paintings. L S Lowry was 52 when his mother died. He stayed in the same house, alone and lonely for the next 9 years. It was his sanctuary, full of cobwebs and splattered paint.
By 1948, he was earning good money as a painter, so he moved house to the affluent village of Mottram-in-Longdendale, near Manchester. Although he considered the house ugly and uncomfortable, it was spacious enough to set up his studio in the dining room and to accommodate the collection of china and clocks he had inherited from his mother.
Towards the end of his life, Lowry would spend holidays at the Seaburn Hotel in Sunderland, painting scenes of the beach and nearby ports and coal mines. If he forgot to take his sketchbook with him, he would draw scenes in pencil or charcoal on the back of envelopes, serviettes and cloakroom tickets and present them to young families that happened to be nearby. Such serendipitous pieces are now worth thousands of pounds.
In 1976 he was given a one-man exhibition at the Royal Academy in London. This was a major achievement, as very few living artists are given this accolade. But he died on 23 February 1976 six months before the show opened. It was a major success and was one of the most popular Royal Academy shows of the 20th century. He was famous for his ‘matchstick men’ paintings. A large collection of L S Lowry paintings can be seen at The Lowry, in Salford, Manchester.
Interested in Learning to Draw? Check out my Drawing and Painting YouTube Channel
Want to find out more about Expressionism?