Industrial scene with figures signed and dated 'L.S.Lowry 1958' (lower left) oil on panel 15.2 x 11 cm. (6 x 4 3/8 in.)
PROVENANCE: Gifted by Laurence S. Lowry to the present owner in the 1960s
Painted on a very small scale, Industrial scene with figures (1958) illustrates that L.S. Lowry was just as accomplished working on diminutive pictures as he was on expansive canvases. Like A Mill Scene, Wigan executed in 1964 (see Bonhams sale 19 November 2008, lot 61) and Mill Scene painted in 1972 and exhibited in Tate Britain's recent Lowry exhibition (see colour plate number 118 in the accompanying exhibition catalogue) the present lot, through the incorporation of figures travelling to their workplace, shows a thriving industrial environment within an unusually confined space. Despite being petite these oil sketches exude character; they take on a truly impressionistic air and the influence of Lowry's teacher Adolphe Valette (1876-1942) at the Manchester Municipal School of Art during 1905-07 is perhaps most evident whilst looking at these bijou pictures. One only needs to compare Industrial scene with figures with Valette's equally small St. Peter's Square (reproduced in colour in Cécilia Lyon's 2006 monograph on Valette, pl.11) to understand just how influential this French born artist was in determining Lowry's future style of painting. Indeed, Lyon notes, 'Lowry did in fact express his gratitude for Valette's contribution. I cannot over-estimate the effect on me at that time of the coming into this drab city of Adolphe Valette, full of the French Impressionists, aware of everything that was going on in Paris. He had freshness and a breadth of experience that was a very wonderful thing, as I saw it done by himself and his friends.' (Cécilia Lyon, Adolphe Valette, Phillimore & Co., Chichester, 2006, p.116).