announced that an exceptional work by one of Britains best-loved artists, L.S. Lowrys Station Approach, Manchester ( dated 1960, est. £2-3 million), will lead the Modern & Post War British Art Evening Auction on 10 th June 2014. Ranked among the most significant works created throughout the artists career, this painting of one of Manchesters historic landmarks, the London and North Western Railway Exchange Station, epitomises everything that Lowry has become known and loved for.
The subject was highly significant for the artist he chose to produce a smaller version of this painting in 1962 to present to the Royal Academy of Arts, London, on being made a Royal Academician (see left, Lowry with Station Approach, 1962, Royal Academy of Arts Collection). The painting was first exhibited in the artists sell-out 1961 exhibition at Lefevre Gallery, London and has not been seen in public for a generation.
Frances Christie, Sothebys Head of Modern & Post War British Art Department comments, Station Approach, Manchester is one of Lowrys most exciting works to emerge onto the market in recent years. Lowry was a master at portraying the energy and vitality of everyday life and in Station Approach, Manchester he captures the hustle and bustle of the crowds heading home after a hard days work it is a superb example of Lowry at his very best.
The crowds swell around the large sculpture of Oliver Cromwell, presented to the city in 1875, down Victoria Street, across the River Irwell and on to the station building beyond. The paintings position within the history of the development of Englands industrial heartland is paramount, and this year marks the 130th anniversary of the Exchange station, which when built had the longest platform in the UK.
Built in 1884 and closed in 1969, the Victorian front of Manchester Exchange was actually already torn down by the time Lowry painted this work. Station Approach, Manchester captures the view up Victoria Street and on to the Victorian façade beyond, editing it only very slightly with the addition of the viaduct and the line of buildings to the left-hand side of the composition, which he most probably drew from the nearby Greengate district.