An oil painting by the North’s most iconic artist, L.S. Lowry, has sold for £165,000 plus buyer’s premium in Tennants Auctioneers’ Modern and Contemporary Art Sale on 6th March. ‘People in a Park’ is a typical example of the figure pictures Lowry painted during the latter part of his career and smashed the presale estimate of £60,000-90,000. The painting, which had never been seen on the open market, is signed and dated 1971 and came with provenance from John Fletcher of Oldham, who gifted the painting to his housekeeper.
This small painting encapsulates Lowry’s ability to capture the essence of everyday life in the industrial North. Industrial buildings and church spires loom large over the margins of the park, providing a backdrop to the vast open tract of land, dotted with figures receding into the distance. But it is the vibrant and dynamic group of figures in the foreground that provide the focus of the composition; men and women, teens, children and dogs mingle and move in front of us, demonstrating Lowry’s inimitable skill in capturing a snapshot of life in the bustling industrial North. Lowry’s distinctive but limited colour palette used on a flake white ground is in evidence, too. The artist once said of his work ‘I am a simple man and I use simple materials; ivory black, vermillion, Prussian blue and yellow ochre’. A further painting by Lowry ‘Yachts at Lytham St Annes’ is on offer in Tennants’ British, European and Sporting Art Sale on 20th March with an estimate of £250,000-350,000.