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War of the roses: David Hockney and L. S. Lowry go head to head at Bonhams in London
Laurence Stephen Lowry R.A. (British, 1887-1976), Agecroft Regatta, signed and dated 'L S Lowry 1942' (lower right) pencil, 26.6 x 37 cm. (10 1/5 x 14 1/2 in.). Est: £70,000-100,000. Photo: Bonhams.
LONDON.- The paintings of Lancashire born L.S. Lowry and Yorkshire based David Hockney will go under the hammer on May 29th as part of the Bonhams Modern British and Irish Sale in New Bond Street. The collection of L.S. Lowry paintings is expected to fetch up to £500,000, the highest estimated work valued at £100,000, while Hockney’s ‘Love Painting’ is estimated to make between £80,000 and £120,000.

The painters are united by their anti-establishment sentiment as both artists have refused knighthoods. Indeed, Lowry holds the record for rejecting the most state honours.

Lowry had an isolated upbringing in northern England. He spent many solitary early years in the leafy Manchester suburb of Victoria Park, Rusholm, later moving to the town of Pendlebury which was the inspiration for his industrial scenes. He is particularly recognised for his trademark ‘matchstick men’ represented in desolate industrial and urban landscapes.

In 1948 Lowry attended the annual fours race at the Agecroft Regatta between the Manchester University Boat Club and the Agecroft Rowing Club. Held on the River Irwell at Kersal Cell, the event drew large crowds and is represented in the present drawing to be auctioned at Bonhams, estimated to make between £70,000 and £100,000. Another Lowry work to be auctioned is his ‘Organ Grinder’, which was acquired directly from the artist by the father of the present owner in the 1930s. It is one of Lowry’s most well-known images, as the oil resides in Manchester City Art Gallery and depicts an organ grinder as he parades around a bustling street scene, playing to a large crowd of people. The drawing is estimated at £70,000 to £90,000.

Hockney is a Yorkshire based artist, who was born with synaesthesia which makes him see colours in response to musical stimuli. His paintings therefore are famed for their striking and exuberant use of colour. He was also inspired by the Yorkshire landscape and openly referenced his sexuality in his work, as seen in the work to be auctioned at Bonhams.

Hockney produced a series of four ‘Love Paintings’, one of which is in the collection of Tate. Hockney made these between 1960 and 1961, while a student at the Royal College of Art. Following a period of explosive commercial success, Hockney was offered a knighthood in 1990 but declined on the grounds that he doesn’t ‘rate’ awards, as he believes ‘life is about much more than prizes’.

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