Tate recognises 'need' to address LS Lowry oversight with major new exhibition

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

The Tate yesterday admitted that the major new exhibition of LS Lowry “needed to be done” after facing criticism for ignoring the artist’s work and legacy.

Penelope Curtis, director of Tate Britain, said: “Lowry has been an issue for the Tate, on and off, over the years. Many people who love his work would like to see it dealt with more seriously.”

The institution had come under fire for its failure to seriously cover Lowry since his death, and only rarely displaying any of its seven paintings in London.

A documentary screened in 2011 was particularly critical of the gallery. Sir Ian McKellen suggested there was an anti-northern and anti-working class conspiracy in the failure to show Lowry’s work.

He called it a “shame, verging on the iniquitous” that visitors to London could not see the work the painter. Another fan, Noel Gallagher asked: “Is it because he is a northerner?”

Dr Curtis said: “I believe Lowry did have to be dealt with but he had to be dealt with in the right way. What we couldn’t have done was a kneejerk response to the documentary would have been wrong.” The Tate said it would invite those who had criticised the gallery to the show’s opening night.

Dr Curtis invited art historians TJ Clark and Anne Wagner “to reappraise Lowry for a new and extended audience”. Over the past 18 months, the pair has worked to establish “what Lowry meant and how serious he really was”.

Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life will be the first major exhibition of the artist’s work in London since his death in 1976.

It hopes to re-assess Lowry’s contribution to art history and argue that he was Britain’s “pre-eminent painter of the industrial city”.

Mr Clark said: “He is an artist who is taken for granted and very much condescended to,” before adding: “It is absolutely extraordinary that the image of him as an amateur, as someone who could barely paint, just won’t die. It’s absolutely astonishing.”

The distinguished art historian added that behind the sentiment was “a deep conviction from the Metropolitan elite that someone who spends their life painting this subject matter can’t be taken seriously”.

The exhibition will bring together about 80 works by the prolific artist, with several coming from the Tate’s collection. Dr Curtis

The Lancashire-born Lowry was a rent collector and new the streets well. He would take sketches but would not work from life, preferring to paint in the studio.

It was not until his 40s that Lowry began to receive recognition for his work. He was later invited to become an official war artist and then invited to be a Royal Academician in 1962.

The guest curators aim to highlight the influence from France, learning from impressionist painter Adolphe Valette, at the Manchester School of Art.

His paintings showed the rituals of public life from going to the football to the local pond, always populated by crowds of people mingling, jostling and fighting.

The works often depict Salford and its surrounding areas including Pendlebury. The exhibition will bring together eight late, large paintings by Lowry for the first time.

Mr Clark said: “He was very well aware of the metropolitan resistance for taking the north seriously as a subject for painting.”

Dr Curtis said: “It’s not just reconciling him with London, it’s reconciling him with art history. He’s always been set apart as if he can’t be dealt with in wider history. I think that’s one of the aims of this exhibition is to think about someone who has to be dealt with.”

 

 

Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
Arts and Entertainment
Crowd control: institutions like New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art are packed

Art
Arts and Entertainment
Cillian Murphy stars as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices