I know of L.S. Lowry, and I’m aware of his work in painting scenes of working class life in the north. My grandparents had a print of his on their living room wall. However, until I visited Tate Britain‘s fantastic exhibition Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life, I didn’t appreciate just how good an artist he was.
Lowry (1887-1976) specialised in painting the England of the Industrial Revolution, mainly around the urban centres of Salford and Manchester. His paintings are vivid and distinct, giving a unique impression of people going about their lives. Often he portrays the rituals of the working-class life – going to and from the factory, attending a football match, visiting the market. He doesn’t shy away from brutality – one picture shows a family being evicted, another the ‘fever van’ which took sick children to the infirmary (often never to return) – but there is a stark beauty in his work, which is full of life.