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Art And Football: A L.S. Lowry Masterpiece Goes On Auction


This Friday, Christies will auction an original painting from one of the most revered artists in England – L.S. Lowry (1887-1976). The masterpiece is entitled “Manchester City v Sheffield United.”

While his compatriots in England were painting idyllic flowers and landscapes, Lowry was capturing what it was like to live in the north (northern England, that is). The smokestacks, pollution, people, factories and grim conditions that northerners faced. And, most importantly in this instance, the working class going to a football match.

He was famous for painting human figures, which were commonly referred to as “matchstick men.”

Lowry would look on with disdain at the state of football nowadays with the corporate suites, prawn sandwich brigade and expensive seats that are far too expensive for the working class to afford.

Looking at the painting, you can see the line of people walking outside the ground past a man selling, presumably, bets on the match. In the background are the football fans standing on the terraces.

The colors Lowry used in the painting are drab and personify the reality of what the working class wore as well as the hardship of life at the time. The cloth capped men are frozen in time as some of them puff on pipes or smoke a cigarette. Smiles are extinct from the faces of these anonymous people.

In addition to this painting, Lowry also created another football-related painting originally entitled “Football Ground” in 1953. That painting featured fans outside Bolton’s previous ground, Burnden Park.

“Manchester City v Sheffield United” by L.S. Lowry goes on auction at Christies on Friday, June 6.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. tyduffy

    June 4, 2008 at 11:10 am

    There were a couple of futurist and vorticist football posters from the interwar period that were on display in a British Prints exhibition at the MFA in Boston.

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