Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887 – 1976)
L S Lowry was born in Old Trafford, Manchester. In 1903 he took a job in a Manchester office and his small income allowed him to take a private art lessons; he later attended evening classes at Manchester School of Art, where one of the tutors was the Impressionist painter, Adolphe Valette. Lowry gradually became aware of the industrial landscape and decided to use this as his inspiration; developing a style that was all his own. His earliest industrial scenes date from around 1912 and they continued to be his main subject matter until the 1940s. He portrayed them for over 30 years, recording the changes brought about by urban redevelopment and mill closures. His work then on focussed on figure groups, single figures and the sea. Lowry was a solitary man who lived all of his life in the North West of England, he never married, had few close friends and cared little for creature comforts (although he did amass a collection of works by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti). He did not teach or establish a school of painting but he was amongst the most notable artists of his time. The Lowry Centre in Salford has the largest holdings of works by Lowry.
Landscape is one of the principle genres of Western art. In early paintings the landscape was a backdrop for the composition, but in the late 17th Century the appreciation of nature for its own sake began with the French and Dutch painters (from whom the term derived). Their treatment of the landscape differed: the French tried to evoke the classical landscape of ancient Greece and Rome in a highly stylised and artificial manner; the Dutch tried to paint the surrounding fields, woods and plains in a more realistic way. As a genre, landscape grew increasing popular, and by the 19th Century had moved away from a classical rendition to a more realistic view of the natural world. Two of the greatest British landscape artists of that time were John Constable and JMW Turner, whose works can be seen in the Tate collection (www.tate.org.uk). There can be no doubt that the evolution of landscape painting played a decisive role in the development of Modernism, culminating in the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists . Since then its demise has often been predicted and with the rise of abstraction, landscape painting was thought to have degenerated into an amateur pursuit. However, landscape persisted in some form into high abstraction, and has been a recurrent a theme in most of the significant tendencies of the 20th Century. Now manifest in many media, landscape no longer addresses solely the depiction of topography, but encompasses issues of social, environmental and political concern.
Work of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is a tightly stretched piece of canvas, paper or a wooden panel. Painting involves a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's intellectual concerns effecting the content of a work.