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'Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life' Exhibition at Tate Britain

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
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Not pictures of matchstick men, but a northern landscape
Although it is nearly 40 years since L S Lowry died, the forthcoming exhibition at Tate Britain is the first major event at a public institution since the Royal Academy mounted a retrospective soon after his death in 1976. The Tate states that they wish to demonstrate Lowry's connections and debts to late nineteenth century art.

Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life
Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life

Although he was open to many influences, including the French Impressionists and Symbolists and the Pre-Raphaelites, the northern Englishman developed his own ways of depicting the industrial landscape that surrounded him, a vista that he initially hated, but which was to become an obsession. His job as a rent collector gave him ample opportunity to study the people and the buildings of the North West, and to observe the changing panoramas as the factories and mills were destroyed during the Blitz.

His distinctive style evolved from priming his canvasses with layers of white paint that were left to dry and become creamy before adding basic colours such as red, black, blue, yellow ochre, ivory and flake white. Although he is often remembered for painting 'matchstick men', as in the 1927 painting, Coming out of School,

Coming Out of School
Coming Out of School

he also painted landscapes where the people were barely visible,

Hillside in Wales
Hillside in Wales

and pictures of people who were more than mere matchsticks.

Ancoats Hospital Outpatients' Hall
Ancoats Hospital Outpatients' Hall

To accompany the exhibition there will be a range of guided tours, a Curator's Tour, and a panel discussion as well as an audio description tour and a British Sign Language Talk. There will also be a screening of related documentary and feature films.
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Why? To see a major retrospective of the work of L S Lowry
When: 10.00 - 18.00 daily
Where: Tate Britain
Cost: 16.50 plus concessions
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