This is a man who became an artist because he missed a train. He was walking in a Manchester suburb, and as he took in the scene he was overcome by an urge to paint it. He then decided to become an artist.
“I don’t know why I paint these scenes, I just paint them.”
What a matter-of-fact sort of fellow Lowry is.
Born in 1887, Lawrence Stephen Lowry lived and worked in Manchester. In 1905 he attended Manchester School of Art and was inspired and influenced by the work of his teacher, the French Impressionist Pierre Adolphe Valette.
Lowry’s scenes are about people in an industrialized world. Look at the figures, how they push through their commute, void of personal identity. They are physically confined by buildings, suppressed by dirty air, in the paintings there are no trees.
“My ambition was to put the industrial scene on the map, because nobody had done it – nobody had done it seriously.”
His palette was very restricted and he used only five colors – flake white, ivory black, vermilion (red), Prussian blue and yellow ochre.
“People often tell me that they can’t sell their pictures. I say well you’re rather unreasoned, because after all, why should you expect them to buy them, they didn’t ask you to paint them, so why should you complain? It’s rather unreasonable I think.”