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a football match
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À propos de l'objet

Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A., a football match\nSigned and dated 1960; also inscribed A FOOTBALL MATCH on the stretcher \nOil on canvas\n50 by 60cm.; 19¾ by 23¾in.
GB
GB
GB

notes

From the earliest part of his career, the panoramic industrial landscape was at the heart of Lowry's work and they have retained a position as the images most frequently associated with the artist. Initially based on specific locations in and around Manchester and its environs, the chimneys, mills, church spires and terraces of back-to-backs were to become a vocabulary that, from the early 1950s, allowed Lowry to develop his paintings into images that rise above topographical concerns to embrace the wider poetry of the scene.

Lowry had always tweaked elements in his paintings to suit the compositional effect he sought and his usual working method, and one which would remain remarkably consistent right up into the 1960s, was that small sketches would be taken on the spot, often on odd scraps of paper or the backs of envelopes, to fix the main points of a composition, which would then be worked up into more finished drawings. These drawings often retain accurate topographical titles which are invaluable in fixing locations for the resultant paintings in which Lowry frequently used a good deal of licence, shifting perspectives, altering buildings and landmarks and then populating the scene with characters from the extensive repertoire he had developed. There are often many years distance between the execution of drawings and the related oils, and it is not uncommon to see compositions from drawings dated to the mid-1920s becoming paintings up to twenty years later. However, by the early 1950s he began to produce paintings which grew entirely from his imagination, the different elements combining to create images whose almost dreamlike and ethereal misty distances mix with the realities of the lives lived in the streets below.

At first sight, it is the setting that here dominates the painting, the chimneys and mills towering over the myriad figures that line the pitch which is slotted in on open ground between the buildings. Unlike Lowry's best-known sporting picture, the magisterial Going to the Match (fig. 2, P.F.A.Collection, sold in these rooms 1st December 1999) which depicted a specific location, Burnden Park, the former home of Bolton Wanderers, A Football Match is rather a celebration of the place that football held in the heart of the ordinary working man at a time when the teams of the North-west dominated English football with teams like Manchester United, Bolton and Blackpool winning cups and titles year after year. The prospect of such events being opportunities to see people in groups whose mood was almost tangible, be that in victory or defeat, clearly intrigued Lowry, and it is perhaps notable that Going to the Match, often lauded as one of the greatest football paintings, does not actually feature pitch, players or ball. Indeed Andras Kalman, Lowry's friend and dealer and staunch Chelsea supporter remembered that if he wanted to tempt Lowry out from home, the offer of taking him to a match usually worked (see fig.4). In A Football Match, the game itself is central to the composition. Using just the merest deft touches, Lowry fills the pitch with players whose varied states of animation contrast well with the densely packed crowds along the touchline. Ostensibly unified, we know that these crowds will be divided at least two ways, and Lowry often used crowds as a vehicle for expressing the innate loneliness of individuals within the group.

As with much of Lowry's painting, there is here a sense of timelessness, that such events had been happening on Saturdays and Sundays for years and indeed the artist himself recognized this, '...people say that all the figures that I've done are of the Thirties...I maintain - from observation - that if you see a crowd of people coming from a football match, they look exactly the same as they did fifty years ago. I'm convinced of that.' Whilst for many years critical appreciation of Lowry tended to present him as a figure apart from the mainstream of British art, more recent study has begun to identify areas where he does in fact fit more closely with the established canon. From Frith onwards, the crowd scene had been an important feature of British art, and the tradition of urban painting from Camden Town and on was one which looked at times close to Lowry's own (see fig.1). However, his ability to combine these two strands, of humanity and industry, into one unified image was very much his own. This combination of nostalgia for the past allied with the recognition of both the grandeur and oppression of our industrial heritage, and the true sense of how ordinary lives are lived is perhaps what has secured Lowry a unique position in British art.

A Football Match is a painting which encapsulates all of these elements, bringing together people and place into an image that is both instantly recognisable as an archetypal Lowry yet whose subject matter lifts it to a level that is sure to appeal to all Lowry collectors, both new and established.

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Laurence Stephen Lowry

exhibited

Salford, The Lowry, 2004.

dimensions

50 by 60cm.; 19¾ by 23¾in.

provenance

Richard Green, London

Private Collection


*Merci de noter que le prix n'est pas recalculé à la valeur actuelle, mais se rapporte au prix final réel au moment où l'objet a été vendu.

*Merci de noter que le prix n'est pas recalculé à la valeur actuelle, mais se rapporte au prix final réel au moment où l'objet a été vendu.


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