L.S. Lowry’s leading paintings of the industrial landscape will be the subject of a major exhibition at the Tate Britain, opening its doors today.
L.S. Lowry has made his name painting scenes of the industrial life of North West England. Long overdue, the exhibition Lowry and the painting Modern Life sheds some new light onto the tremendously big cultural bias in regards to art. Raw but above all modern, accurate and unique, Lowry’s paintings are a rich insight into the experiences of the working class in the 20th Century.
In a room filled with other Impressionists such as Camille Pissarro, Georges Seurat and Adolphe Valette, Lowry’s paintings highlight his style and how he drew from the French technique to adapt it to contemporary English urban life. Themes of repetition, dehumanization, class and collective nervous breakdown are explored through paintings of mills, workers and football matches. The mundane is rendered geometrical, gritty, melancholic, grey, and acts as a moral essay, at times grimly humorous. The Protest March (1959), for instance, is at times comical yet still a moral portrait of the devastating conditions induced by the effect and costs of industrialization.
With more than 90 works depicting working-class life by an artist that has been rejected by art institutions but lauded by public, this show is the final recognition for Lowry’s talent.
Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life is at Tate Britain, 26 June-20 October.
Photos by Alexandra Uhart