Laurence Stephen Lowry R.A. (British, 1887-1976) Sudden Illness 25.4 x 45.1 cm. (10 x 17 3/4 in.)
Lot 30AR
Laurence Stephen Lowry R.A.
(British, 1887-1976)
Sudden Illness 25.4 x 45.1 cm. (10 x 17 3/4 in.)
Sold for £176,500 (US$ 276,187) inc. premium

Lot Details
Laurence Stephen Lowry R.A. (British, 1887-1976)
Sudden Illness
signed and dated 'L.S. Lowry 1920' (lower left); further signed twice, inscribed and dated again 'Sudden Illness 1920/L S Lowry/£15-15-0/Laurence Stephen Lowry/117 Station Road/Pendlebury/(no.12)' (on a label attached verso)
oil on panel
25.4 x 45.1 cm. (10 x 17 3/4 in.)

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Acquired directly from the artist by Monty Bloom during the 1950s, thence by descent to
    Martin D.H. Bloom
    Sale; Christie's, London, 4 June 2004, lot 75

    EXHIBITED:
    Probably Manchester, Rowland Thomasson Architects, 1921, cat.no.2 (as A Man Taken Ill)
    London, Hamet Gallery, L.S. Lowry, 21 September-21 October 1972, cat.no.2 (ill.b&w)
    London, Royal Academy of Arts, L.S. Lowry R.A., 1887-1976, 4 September-14 November 1976, cat.no.30, p.6 (col.ill)
    Salford, Art Gallery, L.S. Lowry Centenary Exhibition, 16 October-29 November 1987, cat.no.130
    Middlesbrough, Cleveland Art Gallery, The Art of L.S. Lowry, organised by Arts Council of Great Britain, December 1987-January 1988, cat.no.16, pl.53 (ill. and back cover of catalogue); this exhibition later travelled to Coventry, Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, January-February 1988, Stoke-on-Trent, Art Gallery, March-April 1988, Exeter, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, April-May 1988 and London, Barbican Art Gallery, August-October 1988

    LITERATURE:
    Frances Spalding, Lowry, in The Cambridge Quarterly, Vol.X No.1, 1981, London, pp.5-7 & 10-11, pl.17
    Shelley Rohde, L.S. Lowry, A Biography, The Lowry Press, Salford, 1999, p.152
    Michael Howard, Lowry, A Visonary Artist, The Lowry Press, Salford, 2000, p.87 (col.ill)
    Shelley Rohde, L.S. Lowry, A Life, Haus Publishing, London, 2007, pp.50-53 (col.ill)
    T.G Rosenthal, L.S. Lowry, The Art and the Artist, Unicorn Press, London, 2010, p.73 (col.ill) and p.60 (col.ill detail)

    Lowry once remarked, 'Accidents interest me - I've a very queer mind you know. What fascinates me is the people they attract, the patterns those people form, and the atmosphere of tension when something has happened ... where there's a quarrel there's always a crowd ... It's a great draw. A quarrel or a body' (L.S. Lowry exhibition catalogue, Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1988, p. 53). Nowhere is this preoccupation with the behaviour of crowds when confronted with an accident or sudden illness better illustrated than in the present work.

    This early oil was probably included in one of the artists very first exhibitions in 1921. At the time it remained unsold and Shelley Rohde, the artist's biographer, comments 'Today many - if not all - of those unsold Lowrys of 1921 form a valued part of collections all over the world. Item No One in the catalogue was bequeathed to Salford City Art Gallery. Item No Two was a poetic oil which demonstrates some early experimentation with flake-white and is now called Sudden Illness. Priced originally at 15 guineas, it was sold by the artist to the collector Monty Bloom in the '50s; by 1960 its price had risen to £100 and in 1972 Bloom sold it a London Gallery for £4,000. Two days later, finding he 'missed it too much', he bought it back for £6,000.(Shelley Rohde, L.S. Lowry, A Biography, The Lowry Press, Salford, 1999, pp.149 & 152).

    Accompanied with distinguished provenance, Sudden Illness is an early exploration into both the techical workings of flake white and the possibilities of a populated composition; artistic concerns that would last Lowry a lifetime.
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