Lancastrian artist L.S Lowry’s hallowed works, Going To The Match, has been won at auction by the Lowry Art Gallery, with help from the Law Family Charitable Foundation. The work, which was housed at the gallery but never owned by it, sold for £7.8 million at the Modern British and Irish Art Sale at Christie’s in London.
Lowry’s piece depicts football fans going to Burnden Park, the former home of football club Bolton Wanderers, and was created in 1953 for a competition run by the Football Association. Originally titled Football Ground, the work was bought in 1999 by the Football Association for £1.9 million.
Julia Fawcett OBE, Chief executive of the Lowry, acknowledged the Law Family Charitable Foundation for helping the gallery buy the work, saying “thanks to an incredibly generous gift from The Law Family Charitable Foundation, we are delighted to have purchased the painting for the city’s collection of LS Lowry works.”
“We look forward to bringing it home to Salford, where it can continue to delight and attract visitors to the Andrew and Zoë Law galleries at The Lowry. We firmly believe that this iconic artwork must remain on public view, so it can continue to be seen by the broadest possible audiences, for free," she added.
Upon the Lowry Art Gallery winning the auction Salford Mayor Paul Dennet, who launched a campaign to ensure Going To The Match remained in the Salford based gallery, was ecstatic with the result. He said that “LS Lowry, Salford’s greatest and most iconic artist, made his name depicting working-class life – as such we emphatically believed Going to the Match should remain on public view free to access where everyone can see it.”
“I am delighted our campaign to save this critical and important painting has successfully resulted in The Lowry securing it tonight, for the city of Salford in perpetuity for generations to come, for residents and visitors to our great City" he continued.
Going To The Match will still be able to be viewed at The Lowry, Pier, 8 The Quays, Salford, Manchester.
Who is L.S Lowry?
Born in Stretford, Lancashire in 1887, Laurence Stephen Lowry is famous for painting scenes of life in the industrial districts of North West England in the mid-20th century. He developed a distinctive style of painting and is best known for his urban landscapes populated with human figures, often referred to as "matchstick men".
Lowry holds the record for rejecting British honours—five, including a knighthood (1968). A collection of his work is on display in The Lowry, a purpose-built art gallery on Salford Quays. On June 26, 2013, a major retrospective opened at the Tate Britain in London, his first at the gallery; in 2014 his first solo exhibition outside the UK was held in Nanjing, China.