Hello! I’m Helen Little, Assistant Curator of Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life.  Since the exhibition opened there have been some great reviews in the press, but I would also like to hear what you think

L.S. Lowry, Early Morning, 1954

L.S. Lowry, Early Morning, 1954

The Cryne / Graham Collection
© The Estate of L.S. Lowry

 If you have visited the show, what was it like seeing these urban scenes and industrial landscapes in person? I’d love to hear what you think about Lowry’s apocalyptic visions of the landscape or his connections to French Impressionism

Have you been able to look afresh at his best known work or have you discovered Lowry for the first time?  Let me know your views, stories and comments below. 

I hope you enjoyed this exhibition of one of Britain’s pre-eminent painters of modern life. You can read more about it on my Lowry blog, where you can also share your views. 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts soon!

Comments

brian@bwcp.co.uk

Fascinating show greatly enhanced by the pre-preview lecture for which thanks!
Lowry was something of a social commentator with his world-weary people all needing some Alexander Technique and the skies all tinged with soot. Mind you images of agrarian poverty at that time would have been as bad!
A bit depressing, but stimulating and thought provoking about the Industrial Revolution. Just saw his reservoir painting of 1952 exhibited in Chelsea where he eliminates all the weekenders recreating and paints a scene of empty tranquility. Some contrast to the industrial carnage!

Brian Waters
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Graham Young

I thought that I was well acquainted with Lowry's work but the landscapes were certainly a revelation. I also found it particularly interesting to see how Lowry must have been so strongly influenced by his teacher Adolphe Valette.
I thought that the show was thoughtfully arranged and the other works complemented the Lowry paintings well. In particular, the film clips from the early part of the twentieth century enabled Lowry's paintings to be put in context.
I enjoyed the way the show demonstrated how Lowry depicted the progression from the days of fever, evictions and pollution to the optimism of the welfare state.

angelap

Unfortunately there are no large print catalogues. (I did ask the attendants for one before I entered but they said that none were available for the exhibition).

I was so impressed by the diversity and quality of his paintings in the second room. Commented on this to my friend - only to discover that they were produced by other artists!

Large print catalogues are vital for some of us.

Despite this I did enjoy the exhibition.

mgetgood

A thoroughly enjoyable and informative exhibition, a more rigorous examination of Lowry than the equally enjoyable but more celebratory Lowry at Salford.
Thought the first room was a really powerful start to the show, as was the last - The Industrial Landscapes - a real treat to see the five large panoramas together.
Thought room 4 - Ruined Landscape - an absolute revelation.
Clark and Wagner's involvement a bonus - excellent catalogue.
Did not like the radio accompaniment of old songs, felt we did not need further depression.
As with any large survey show there was some unevenness, but nothing to warrant the hostile attack by Richard Dorment in the Telegraph, which I read on my way up to London.

It's the type of exhibition that will reward regular visits, but will that be possible for non-members with the price of £16.50. National Gallery offers a season ticket for they big shows which seems a good idea.

norbertcohen

The exhibition was excellent very informative and I enjoyed it very much.

Felicity dyer

I was wrong about Lowry: he was not a working class man but a conservative: he was not a factory worker but an artist and debt collector. A man of paradox who didn't judge the people he painted but was rather an observer of life. I enjoyed his factory scenes but felt inspired by his post war landscapes, especially The Blitz. Step back from it and you see the tonal range of the wood and the hints of impressionist influence.
The audio guide was excellent and the exhibition structured with a useful visual timeline.

Julia Matcham

Very enjoyable exhibition. I was a bit disappointed that there were no portraits. His portraits are rather different in style from his industrial scenes. Equally good but were a surprise to me when I first saw them.
The more that one looks at the paintings in the exhibition the more one appreciates the painterly abstract qualities as well as the intriguing narrative content. I shall be back for a second helping!

Jinnie

I enjoyed seeing the variety of paintings. I have seen many before and been a fan of his work since the 60's. I hadn't seen some pieces like the fairground ones and found those very interesting. I find his paintings very evocative of the industrial area where I was born and was surprised by the Cumbria picture. As for the exhibition I found the intial entrance very difficult with large crowds around the picture. I think timed entrances need more management, fewer people or longer gaps.

jacquirat

I didn't come in as big fan but the exhibition won me over - so interesting to find out more about the man. Thought the radio song was a bit off the wall and made me cross as I thought it was someone's phone! Well curated show to give clear understanding of how his thoughts progressed and like others I was surprised to find he was a political conservative but he clearly held an affection for the people of the towns
there were a lot of children around drawing and whilst it was marginally irritating not to be able to get close to every painting, their enthusiasm and what they were producing was marvellous
I went to the Caulfield and Hume exhibitions whilst I was there and probably would not have done had I not gone to Lowry and I felt the architectural approach of Caulfield was an interesting similarity despite very different subject matter

ChrisPratt

First of all I must declare my hand and say I am not a fan of Lowry's paintings and this exhibition has not changed that view although I did go prepared to be swayed.

I understand the financial reasons for blockbuster exhibitions but you really must take account of the size of the rooms when determining the number of viewers to admit. The first three rooms were very crowded making it impossible to view many of the works for any length of time and this overcrowding was not graetly alleviated in the following rooms.

If Tate Britain's funding requirements necessitates these sort of visitor numbers would it be possible to hang the exhibits slightly higher and, at the very least, have the associated printed information higher on the wall and in a larger font so that space near the artworks isn't taken up by visitors craning to read.

You may argue that I chose to go during the opening days of the exhibition and should therefore expect crowds however my counter would be that if that date hadn't been available because the gallery's capacity had been met then I would have chosen another date.

I have come to expect what I consider to be over-selling of gallery space by institutions such as the Royal Academy and had hoped, misguidedly as it turns out, that Tate Britain would not fall into this trap.

Annastacia

I was disappointed with the Lowry exhibition but immensely enjoyed the Patrick Caulfield exhibition which I have to add was much quieter and for me had loads more of the wow factor!

After seeing 10 or so of Lowry's paintings they became just more of the same - quite formulaic with a sense of whimsy, bleakness - detached. It didn't stretch me beyond the initial interest and quirky humour. Largely an older audience.

Patrick Caulfield drew me in, drew me in some more and still left me thinking and admiring. A great show Tate Britain. Here the audience was younger. It beats Lowry hands down.

LederonUK

Enjoyed it, felt I've learned something about a relatively obscure artist (to me), and was moved by the depiction of Industrial Revolution consequences in Britain.

debbiehas

I enjoyed the paintings very much, the layout was very impressive, kept the best to view in the last room. The Industrial landscapes was brilliant. Thank you Tate Britian

maureen shaw

I thought I was fairly familiar with Lowry's work but seeing such a breadth of his work brought home how bleak and almost apocalyptic some of it is. very interesting. Thank you.

emma6

The exhibition was outstanding. I have never seen so many Lowrys in one place and the thematic linking of the rooms gave a completely new perspective to the works on display. It provoked us to look at and think about Lowry in new ways and enhanced our already passionate love for his work. It was fascinating and enjoyable.

However, the overall treatment we received in the gallery more generally was not satisfactory. The booking of the parking space and the chair were well-thought out procedures, although when someon books a space, it would be helpful to tell them where it is...! We came in the back/disabled/Clore? entrance. There are ABSOLUTELY NO SIGNPOSTS WHATSOEVER. We're just supposed to GUESS where to go for anything. We traipsed miles backwards and forwards through Moore, Turner and Constable following three sets of vague and unhelpful directions and I was almost in tears by the time we finally found the cafe. When I complained at the Information Desk, both the male and female on duty were quite rude. If we hadn't spent so much on our tickets, we would have walked out.

This thoughtless disregard for the needs of your disabled visitors let down what was otherwise a very pleasant exhibition and visit.

ERIC

The Tate Britain exhibition nicely complements the works on display at "The Lowry" in Salford (incidentally some of the paintings are on loan from there).
Although it was quite crowded on Saturday morning, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The influence of French painter and teacher Adolphe Valette is rather played down in favour of that of Maurice Utrillo and it was actually a revelation for me! It looks as if Lowry borrowed directly from him the idea of painting the ground white, giving an eerie impression of a thin layer of snow.
Especially interesting to me were the big industrial landscapes in room 6, a fitting conclusion to a rewarding exhibition...

bjskingle

I had seen one or two Lowry's before but came away from the exhibition very impressed - here was a real painter. His use of understated colour against the greys and whites was as good as any painter/colourist I can think of. And his people are not caricatures but more creatures of dreams and memory ...

Katie S

Was great to see so many Lowry's in one place and to learn about how Impressionism influenced him etc etc... Also interesting that the French fell for him before we did. What I hadn't bargained for was the overwhelming feeling of depression associated with seeing so many paintings of downtrodden people in bleak landscapes. I hadn't realised how clever his style was in getting across the mundane lives of the people he was painting (obviously a bit of an obsession for him) If he were alive now I would like to ask him to paint more optimistic paintings and see what he would have come up with.

Geoffrey

Walking round the exhibition the question that kept coming into my mind was whether it would have been better if Lowry had been a photographer. After all his aim - of `putting the industrial scene on the map' - is exactly that of the `photographer of record'. But as a painter he has changed things. My own childhood recall - though vague and of Midlands rather than Northern industry - suggests that the world that Lowry shows us is more ordered, more clean and tidy, and somehow more monumental than it really was. Perhaps it would have better if he had been a photographer ? I was a bit disappointed that the Tate booklet did not address this issue of realism. I get the impression from some of the other comments on the blog that some people were mistakenly assuming that the Lowry paintings can simply be taken as reality.

Have to add that for me too the exhibition was in parts too crowded to fully enjoy.

chris lessware

More important as a social historian than painter - those industrial landscapes are spot on (see film of the period). No-one else has caught them. Reminds me of Brueghel sometimes - little figures on white backgrounds - but B of course, far, far better. He repeats figures a lot - two drunks(?) manhugging in the fair paintings and the two dogs keep popping up. none of the figures seem to cast shadows and they seem separate from each other as if stuck on. Best painting is that first one of the little window in the little house - bricks are great. Also thought that last one in Wales was interesting; totlly different style somehow; more muscular.

dpark2903

Lowry doesn't belong in smart London galleries, that was the feeling I came away with. As a Northener and having a Mancunian past I love Lowry and regulalry visit The Lowry in Salford. Although the exhibition is magnificently staged, hanging these pieces in rooms painted as they were completely missed the point. Although Lowry's work is industrial the scenes were often daytime tales which need light to bring them to life. I remember Manchester's grimy buildings, many now cleaned and restored but even in their darkest days they had a power and majesty which Lowry understood, this exhibition doesn't seem to capture his understanding of time and place.

hc

I completely agree with your comments. I am a northerner and having strong connections with Manchester had grown up visiting the Lowry Room at the Manchester Art Museum, before it moved to Salford. I felt the exhibition lacked heart and understanding of what Lowry was all about.

Chris L

I was delighted to see an Exhibition of Lowry, it is long overdue.
It presented Lowry's work in such a way that you could see how he had developed techniques for creating dynamic movement by simplifying his characters. I appreciated for the first time how he had changed his perspective from being at street level to being elevated to a higher visual level, looking down onto his industrial landscapes.
I feel that the exhbition, though excellent, might have displayed more of his later less popular figure work. This would have shown how as an artist he had moved on, even though he knew that it was not what the public wanted from him. Perhaps the Tate will now have a larger collection of Lowry on permanent display.

Bridget Wilcken

I enjoyed the Lowry exhibition, having been lucky enough to catch it in our last couple of days in London. I have always liked Lowry. What surprised me, seeing these pictures all gathered together, was that some aspects of daily life seemed missing in an odd way. The date of most of the paintings was during my life-time. Yet almost no-where were there any motor vehicles of any kind. I realise these were not so common before the war, and probably not so common in the poorer parts of the Manchester region, but not absent. I'm not sure if there is a message there. The landscape section was bleak indeed and depressing, but very powerful.
It is strange that this man was in some ways so apparently unambitious, (for example his life-long work of rent collecting etc with the same company) and seemingly so conventional while being an artist well-recognised in his lifetime.
There was some sense of him being stuck in a groove. I did not enjoy seeing such a sizable retrospective exhibition as much I have enjoyed individual pictures come across in other settings. Bur it was very well curated and informative.

Bridget Wilcken

tmcrehan11

I ENJOYED THE EXHIBITION VERY MUCH. IT WAS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE SEEN LOWRY'S PAINTINGS. I MUCH PREFER HIS SMALLER WORKS TO THE LARGER ONEs. IT WAS ALSO INTERSETING TO SEE A FEW WORKS BY SUCH ARTISTs AS HIS TEACHER VALETTE AND ALSO PISSARRO INCLUDED WITH HIS OWN WORK SO YOU CAN SEE WHERE HE GOT SOME OF HIS INSPIRATION FROM. THE BLACK AND WHITE FILM FOOTAGE OF SALFORD IN THE EARLY 1900's WAS ALSO NICE. PEOPLE MAY NOT BE AWARE OF THE POVERTY OF THAT TIME. WELL DONE.

whatdoIknow

I came away with a very mixed reaction.

Having lived very near Lowry's home in Mottram for 30 years, having viewed his work many times at The Lowry Centre and before that at Salford City Art Gallery and, as a teacher, having tried over the years to familiarise and enthuse pupils with "their local great artist" I expected to be very positive.

However, what became apparent to me was that though many of his paintings are populated by numerous human figures they are almost entirely two dimensional - in strong contrast to the buildings - which illuminates the fact that the paintings are almost entirely devoid of human empathy or narrative. For a man whose job brought him into direct and quite intimate contact with a number of families on a daily basis that is a startling indication of Lowry's lack of interest in the human story of the industrial city he portrayed. The fact that the exhibition includes literature such as The Classic Slum and The Uses of Literacy, which explore the many small human triumphs of families living in the industrial urban settings, is very misleading and in fact highlights the fact that Lowry's work is devoid of ambition in that regard. He appeared to see the people either as merely part of the landscapes, or at best, as freaks and pitiably crushed victims; his perspective is that of a voyeur rather than observer, merely adding to perception that it's grim up north and the people are grim too.

The connection to Impressionism seems tenuous. Viewed entirely as landscapes - and being largely unrecognisable as representations of the stated locations - the pictures seemed to me to be nearer to Surrealism, with their huge areas of flooded rivers, derelict spaces and sunken boats.

I have to say I am disappointed to have come to this

mrmrgd

A generally enjoyable show but poorly curated. The hanging and mixture of works in the different rooms was unclear, seemingly arbitrary and indicated a lack of understanding. Care should be taken when abandoning chronological hanging unless the reasons for doing so are very clear.
However, it was good to see so much work together even though many portraits and seascapes were missing and which would have added some greater breadth to the show.

Calm0603

Overall, an excellent exhibition. Sometimes I do skim exhibitions of this size and spend time with those that strike me particularly. With 6 rooms, viewing can be daunting. With this exhibition, I viewed everything - even though I stayed with some more than others. Remarkable artist and I loved the irony and humour mixed with the darkness of his subject, which really brought out some of the steely character of the communities he portrays. It was given more depth and irony due to some of the comments of others - e.g., one middle class-sounding man commented on Just Standing Around, "What a boring title", perhaps summing up his lack of empathy for the humdrum life portrayed n the painting. I particularly liked some of more atypical work and especially those in Room 4. These moved me to tears whereas many of the others were more of a cerebral experience. The Impressionist connections were subtly made with occasional paintings by influences and teachers. I'm no expert on art or art history but one oblique and spontaneous connection I made, with regard to those few quite geometric paintings with sharp reds, etc Kandinski. Loved some of the vignettes in cases. Who was his teacher again? An exhibition of his work would be worthwhile viewing. Thought the film excerpts were a great idea, adding depth and dimension and particularly enjoyed the George Formby overplay.

ianlaw

We thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition. My wife is now a convert. Went to the Lowry in Salford a few years ago, but found this better.

Peter Fordham

As I naive young Londoner I journeyed up to Lancashire in the mid-seventies for my first job in helping to deal with the dereliction legacy of over 100 years of industrialisation. It was then I got to know the work of Lowry and today it is as vivid a commentary on the social, economic and industrial environment and its subsequent decline and the impact on working people as I remember. Whilst there is a harrowing beauty in his paintings there is no romanticism, it lays bare the trials and tribulations, but also the strong community, that came with living and working in the industrial north-west. Much of the industrial landscape that Lowry depicted has thankfully now passed into distant memories, what remains is often the sanitised heritage. Lowry is as important a commentator as George Orwell, lest we forget the burden our Lancashire brethren bore in creating the wealth of the nation. A timely reminder in this era of austerity.

Davel_isleofdogs

The exhibition was enjoyable, the landscapes of Northern Britian could fit many pre-war landscapes. The one theme that was there but not implicitly mentioned was the Northern adherence to parochialism. The paintings had the components, factories, methodism and town halls. These three things were part of everyday life. I think as with every artist there are stand out paintings, but this is a little bit subjective. I also noted other comments £60 a year hardly seems expensive, and added bonuses come from membership. So if you are likely to attend at least five times, it is worth the one off payment.

Des

I enjoyed the exhibition very much and it was the first time that I’ve seen a collection of Lowry’s works in one place.
A frustrating dynamic to his living subjects left me wanting to know more about the individuals depicted, but the artist permits only a detached and fleeting snapshot of a moment in their lives as they hurry across our field of view, preserving their anonymity. His dark landscapes reminded me a little of the works of John Martin.
Lowry was an extraordinarily gifted artist who appears to have been mightily misunderstood and misjudged until comparatively recently.

jennylewis

Loved the show especially the super simple line drawings. Amazing to see after the Caulfield, seemed like so many similarities getting the essence of a scene down to a few graphic lines.

barbara may

Absolutely loved the exhibition -it gave a real insight into the mind of Lowry and his observations of life in the Industrial Revolution. Although he mostly painted scenes of a less happy nature, he also had a sense of humour and we enjoyed the few happier scenes at the beach and the fair. It is amazing how the figures have such personalities and not a true face amongst them. Their postures said it all.

Mary-Ann Munford

Thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition, especially viewing Lowrie as a social commentator. Prompted me to ponder the sacrifices made for an industrial revolution and wonder about China's current plight. I enjoyed the commentary. Lowrie clearly observed human life very closely and had some important insights for example .. that all crowds look the same in the end regardless of location, situation, decade and that humans are so resilient, overcoming the hardships of life, battling through and taking time to love, share, laugh, cry, celebrate, no matter how rich or how poor.

Martin Willey

Very wide ranging giving an excellent insight into the man. However so much of what he painted was bleak. Havibg been on the periphery of a number of regeneration schemes located in his pictures there is life after the industrial revolution!

Martina Weitsch

The exhibition was fascinating. There were some paintings that were quite new to me and different from the more commonly known Lowry paintings. I was interested to see that he had much more of a standing in Paris than in London.
But what was most interesting to me was the parallels between his time and ours especially during his early years. I congratulate the Tate on putting this on and on putting it on now.
We had a great day!

dventers

I was surprised by some of the comments, I am always amazed at how much character Lowry manages to get into his sparse figures, their stooped shoulders and downlooking heads add to the feeling of despair in some of the earlier pictures, whilst the demeanour of the figures at the fair shows a much happier group. I also thought the contrast between the pre and post war pictures, in the use of colour and tone, showed a rise in optimism, and hope for a better future. I would love to have seen the two Fair pictures, pre and post war, side by side. The exhibition was a wonderful story of the development of our post industrial society, and for me showed the progress that society made in the early twentieth century.

Peter King

The show is very good, as far as it goes. The early black & white ciné clips, and the works by Valette are valuable additions. But why have you provided such a limited selection of Lowry's work? The industrial landscapes are clearly his most important work ... but where are his seascapes and where are his portraits, without which you cannot hope to give a rounded picture of his interests, talents and personality?

I went the other day with a French friend who had written her dissertation on Lowry many years ago. She was as disappointed as me with your limited vision. I will shortly be taking some Polish friends to your show but how, on the basis of your selection, can I persuade them that Lowry was so much more than a one-trick-pony?

I believe it's nearly 40 years since the last major public Lowry show in London, yet you manage to show only part of the story. It's good to see the many comments of visitors who have thoroughly enjoyed the show ... but how much greater their enjoyment would have been had you provided the broader picture .... a major opportunity missed.

HertfordHouse

This exhibition is a very enjoyable record of Lowry's observations of working class life in England in the 1920s and 30s,the political and cultural changes of the 1950s and the bleak industrial landscapes left behind.
Critics are often snotty about Lowry's work suggesting he could only draw matchstick men, the pencil drawings of groups of men at an auction tell the viewer otherwise. The inclusion of works by Valette are interesting in their own right.

It is true that Lowry had other interests ,portraits and his strange attachment to and drawings of a young girl. But this exhibition does not claim to show a total record of his work.
Enjoy it for what it does show and rejoice that this artist has a place in the Tate at last.

uwsscnyc

I was really taken by this exhibition, in terms of both substance and format. It opens subtly, bursts into life in the middle section and then spills from the canvas into the great open. Walking through the exhibition felt to me like being part of an interactive slide show in which both the viewer and the exhibits play active roles and where one takes the other on their own personal journey.
Artist's quiet determination and conviction palpable throughout. Landscapes were a revelation to me and I loved the way he painted sky.
A large show that kept me engaged from start to finish.
Going back soon.

tysonsusan

My son and I really enjoyed the exhibition but I feel it would have benefited greatly if more contextual information had been provided. I was born in Lancashire and much of the exhibition was walk down memory lane from me but I could tell from comments of other visitors that most people had no idea of what the northern landscape looked like in Lowry's time. Even your use of the word "apocalyptic" is misleading as its use suggests you believe that is the view Lowry is representing. People around me commented on how dark the skies and the clothes were but, of course they were as this was before the clean air act when every house, mill and train was fuelled by coal. I remember when out town hall was cleaned up and everyone marveled that the stone was sand-coloured rather than the sooty black we were used to. I noticed that Lowry's paintings themselves became brighter through the years but I don't think this was just because of post-war optimism but also a reflection of the fact that many of the soot-belching chimneys had started to disappear and life was indeed cleaner. I don't know whether the crators visited the scenes that Lowry painted or took the trouble to seek out photos taken at the time. They would have seen that Lowry's paintings were very accurate IMPRESSIONS of northern industrial towns whose skylines were indeed dominated by the mill and factory chimneys and where the mills really were at the centre of communal life. My favourite painting was the Procession which, to me anyway, showed the people enjoying a day out, dressed in their Sunday best. I suspect this was a depiction of the Whit Walks but, as with so many other exhibits, I would have liked to know more about the location and context. I don't really care whether Lowry was a "good painter" or not, all I know is that his paintings remind me of the home I grew up in. Thank you, Lowry and thank you Tate Britain for finally giving him some space.

calimbri

I have not seen the exhibiton yet, but I was wondering if there is any of Lowrys formal drawings and early work from Art School. In the sixties my friend and fellow art student visited Lowry because he wrote his thesis for his diploma on the artist.

We were also being influence by our Victor Passmore, who was a close friend of William Coldstream, who was heavliy in the industrial landscape of the North.

Coldstream is a contemporary to Lowry as with several other artists who depicted the industrial landscapes, which would have put the artist in context.

ruthhall2000

I thought this was a fantastic exhibition. I didn't know that Lowry had been a rent collector and that knowledge enabled me to see his work through a different pair of eyes. I thought the information provided about Lowry and the paintings was spot-on. It was also interesting to see works by other artists on the same themes or painted at the same time - but Lowry always has the edge!

Jane Clare

Having overcome decades of snobbishness (what else?) and exhibited Lowry, Tate could at least have included examples of his portraits, seascapes, and even (if available) his odd, and arguably disturbing, later work of women's underwear. Here was an opportunity to dispel the popular image of matchstick men and belching factory chimneys, yet I think it was only partly achieved. I'd always put him in the same category as Rousseau, yet Tate Mod was happy to give Le Douanier a good airing a few years ago. Having seen an excellent exhibition of naïve art last year in Devon, I'll never be snooty about that again. If such as Rose Wylie can win awards, how can Lowry be criticised? Yes, he's repetitive, yes, he summarises his figures (no worse than Monet's or Pissarro's), but 'Flowers in a Window' hints at his eye for detail: the uneven paving slabs are emphasised by a few simple black lines of differing size. Yes, his cityscapes are montages rather than actual, yet in one of his drawings from the Royal Technical College, he leaves in a dirty great chimney blocking much of the view. The faces in the auction house drawings show he could differentiate, so why no painted portraits here? As a rent-collector, Lowry would hardly have been the most popular inhabitant in the neighbourhood, so he may have deliberately not painted 'real' people. His comments on crowds were interesting: there are little touches of humour or sympathy in some of his figure depictions, but I found little differentiation in the crowd as a mass, whether round the fever van, the auction, football match, funeral or wedding. My favourite rooms were the last three. 'Blitzed Site' for me was as fine as some of Nevinson, Paul Nash, Piper, and many others I've seen in the Imperial War Museum (an institution surely due a rename). Lowry's colour came to life in the ruined landscapes. 'The Lake', of 1939, with its green and sulphurous smoke, lurid detritus in the steely , putrid water, implied a circle of hell. Was he being prophetic? His many gate posts, leading us inevitably to the Necropolis, or as ruined evidence of a different, more elegant past before the industrial mess all around, could be a regret for a redundant old order. Some of Lowry's churches loom as malevolently as his chimneys. Appropriate, since church or chapel figured largely in the lives of many of his subjects. The large works in the last room formed an exclamation mark at the end of this exhibition. There was personal resonance for me in some of his work. Ancoats Hospital Outpatients took me straight back to long waiting in Mayday Eye Hospital as a child. My cousins lived in Stalybridge in the 1950s, next to the canal. I still remember the black-caked buildings and the stifling, sun-denying smogs. The dull clothes of the people were just so in that post-war era. Lowry's hemlines go up or down according to fashions of the decade. The fairs contain old images: men wore hats and all smoked, children were happy with simple amusements like windmills on sticks, balloons and flags. Not a mobile in sight! People found amusement and distraction despite their hard lives. In 'A Protest March' the figures stride purposefully en bloc down the middle of the street. Strength in unity. God knows, they needed it, even in 1959, yet this wasn't the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, and there aren't any banners to help, so what was the march for? Some suggestions in the blurb might have helped those who have no experience of past and present protests. Some mischievous person who seems to share my politics has included quotes on the wall or in the guide, which had me muttering 'Plus ca change.....' The Richard Hoggart and John Berger extracts were particularly prescient in our current age of vilification of the poor, unfortunate and vulnerable, and politicians' self-interested inability to look ahead. The terraces are gone (not, arguably, the best solution), the factories and filth are cleaned up, but the discrimination and social inequality remain. What would Lowry have thought and painted if he were still here in our insular, profligate, cruel age?
Thank you, Tate, for offering an exhibition that makes me see the wider view, and that is most enjoyable, and for this forum giving me the opportunity to share my opinions.
PS: Seeing Caulfield and Hume (and the atmospheric Starling film) on the same day was a good breather after the crowded Lowry. Hume is very glossy and beautiful in a minimalist way at first sight, but not a patch on Caulfield whom I've always admired for his wit, craft and wow factor. For years I stupidly thought the lake scene in 'After Lunch' was a photo collaged on. How this man could paint! And include so many different types of surface and texture in one work, whilst playing with our concept of light, human presence or absence and spatial awareness at the same time. Superb!
Next, please: An exploration of Vallette, Denis, Serusier, Bazille and other lesser-knowns in the shadow of the stars of Impressionism who've had more than enough exposure!

Trevor Robertson

The gallery rooms were well laid out, but unfortunately it was a bit crowded for me so getting close to the smaller works was difficult. It struck me that perhaps Tate were trying to replicate the paintings with an ironic twist, by filling the space with leaning Lowry-esque figures. I shall return however.

alpayne

It is a very well presented exhibition and a real joy to to journey through the rooms. There cannot be that many artists who have so successfully represented an age, detached, yet immersed.
I agree with those that would have liked to see more written about the works and I did spot one work that was attributed 'oil on canvas' when it was in fact 'oil on board'

Andi Edan

Have to agree with you on the representation of an age. Even though his "political" leanings are obvious, the paintings are still wonderful and can stand alone as works of art.

Beth Hardman

I have known Lowry's work since 1950s ,but still found much new and interesting in this show. The link to the French artists, for instance, and the wonderful Lowry drawings in the same room. I thought the opening room was strong, very well chosen, and that the quotes on the walls throughout were illuminating. What really stunned me was the Blitz picture, partly because the Lowry man became Everyman, and perhaps Lowry himself. It summed up the feeling of that time. I found a lot of emotion in the pictures, fantastic composition,(Going to the Match) and the idea of the visionary landscape strong and interesting.
I noticed someone else had written about Richard Dorment's meanminded comments in the Telegraph. What is really annoying is that a damning quote is reprinted in the What to see section each week. I would have thought this show, if he has indeed bothered to go and see it, showed there was a lot more to Lowry as a painter than any of the matchstick man nonsense.
Also agreed with the writer who said we needed bigger labels higher up. This is true of all busy exhibitions, not just Tate's.
Altogether I want to congratulate you and the other curators for a very thought-provoking exhibition, very well-chosen. Shall be back!

Graham Avison

An impressive collection showing a wide range of Lowry’s capability beyond his stick men! - and the portrayal of the war as well as industrial, every day life and pastimes taken up by people. In contrast to other comments said – I would say that Lowry lightened our viewing – the streets are wide and pale in colour (to show up the figures I have to assume) compared to the reality of the grime that must have been everywhere. As already said – it is very interesting to see the impact that his tutor Adolphe Valette made on his style and the hints of Impressionism. It makes it more tantalising to see the Salford Collection at some point to see some more of his work, including the later work so as to see more of the darker side to Lowry.

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