May 8, 2010 1:40 am

Sale of the week: LS Lowry paintings

Sale: Lowry’s Travels

Location: Halcyon Gallery, 29 New Bond Street, London W1, tel: +44 (0)20-7499 4508

Date: Until May 29, 10am-6pm (8pm Thursdays), closed Sundays, www.halcyongallery.com

Need to know: LS Lowry is best known for his depictions of the industrial landscape of Greater Manchester, where he worked as a rent collector by day and painted by night. However, his extensive travels around Britain contributed to a large body of work estimated to number at least 1,000 paintings and more than 8,000 drawings. Indeed, by the time he retired from his job with the Pall Mall Property Company in 1952, Lowry’s interest in depicting the factory gates of Manchester and the “matchstick men” that teemed from them was declining as rapidly as the traditional industries themselves. He sought inspiration from further afield, and this exhibition of 19 works includes pencil drawings, oils, lithographs, prints and two pastels (a rare medium for Lowry) that depict scenes and people observed across the country between 1924 and the 1960s.

Highlights: The value of Lowry’s works has soared in the past 15 years but the fact that he was so prolific means that pencil sketches and smaller works turn up relatively frequently at auction and are sometimes quite affordable. Christie’s 20th-century British art sale last November, for example, featured 16 Lowrys, with estimates from £8,000 for a pen and ink drawing to £600,000 for an oil view of the River Thames. Prices at the Halcyon show range from £2,000 for signed, limited edition prints to £200,000 for an oil. Among the best offerings are a 1950 pastel of Piccadilly Circus (£195,000) and “Figures in a Street”, a pastel from 1924, the year before Lowry left art school. His interest in the dockyards around Newcastle is seen in a pencil drawing of a tanker entering the River Tyne, while “Figures by Railings” (1956) and “Man at South Shields” (1964) show his ability to draw people of the non-matchstick variety. Such an image could be on your wall for £2,000 in the form of a signed limited edition print of “Woman with Beard”, a drawing of a hirsute female passenger encountered during a train journey from Cardiff to Paddington.

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