To Manchester, and the Lowry. We were there for the ballet, Matthew Bourne’s Blitz-based Cinderella, but if you go to the Lowry you pretty much have to have a look at the Lowries while you’re there.
I’m not sure what I make of old Lowry. I wish I could be persuaded that those off-kilter bodies and alien faces were really what he intended – that they reflected his vision, rather than his limitations.
More than anything, I found myself irritated by the way in which the post-war deregulation (so to speak) of the arts allowed, and indeed encouraged, Lowry to indulge his melancholy. His art – like most celebrated post-war art – was to be considered important not because of what the artist could do but because of what he felt.
So, from this (which I can see is genuinely valuable – I love the patterns of the crowd and queues):
To this (which I can see is not):
He did a lot of rubbish in Sunderland. Cholera originated in Sunderland, you know.
I’ll finish with Market Scene, Northern Town (1939), because I’m pretty sure it’s the one we used to have a print of on the wall at home.
All homes had to have a Lowry print on the wall in those days.