Discovering L.S. Lowry

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Sanford Schwartz reviews the exhibition Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life at Tate Britain, London, on view through October 20, 2013.

Schwartz writes: "A native of Manchester who spent his life in the region, Lowry was, remarkably, Britain’s only visual artist to make industrial Lancashire, with its factories and smoke-belching chimneys and crowded streets, his or her predominant subject. Even more remarkable is how he went about it. He had a special feeling for the graphic weights and balances in a picture, and while he was often dealing with material that, especially in the 1920s and 1930s, was on the face of it unpromising, even dismal, his pictures are treats of linear inventiveness… He said that it came to him at a specific moment that his native North West was a subject for an artist and, perhaps even better, that no one else had done it. And while his feeling for loss and disfigurement is undeniably real and powerful, it is the intricate and oddly buoyant way he renders it that makes him an original figure."

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