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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 ...

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...

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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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