I am a simple man and I use simple materials: ivory black, vermilion, Prussian blue, yellow ochre, flake white - and no medium (The paintings of L.S. Lowry, notes by Mervyn Levy). Infact, Lowry did use other colours from the Windsor and Newton range of oils including Zine White and Titanium white.
Through the industrial scenes, landscape, seascapes and single figures, Lowry uses his canvas as a response to his observation of life. Each painting became an intense personal symbol reflecting the painters emotions.
Laurence Stephen Lowry was born in Manchester in 1887. After receiving private painting lessons, he spent ten years at the College of Art in Manchester. The Impressionist style that his college taught was not favoured by Lowry, although he did build on his very accomplished drawing ability by painting in what he saw as this superficial style from time to time.
Lowry lived at home until the age of 52. His mother was never to share the success and acclaim that he received, as she died in 1939, the year he was to have his first major exhibition (Ried and Lefevre, London). He spent his remaining years living in seclusion, devoid of affection and with few friends. It is from this that we can draw upon his sense of loneliness and solitude. His inner vision of man is clearly depicted in two forms, the crowd and the single figure. Lowry was not so interested in the personalities of the individual, but rather the beauty of the shapes and patterns his crowds created against the factories and chimneys, in his industrial landscapes. The single figures or small group, often seen against a white background, provide reference to the vulnerability of man while acting as a metaphor for his own feelings.
Lowry is regarded as a genius, his contribution to twentieth century art was honoured by many institutions throughout his life,(including being elected a Royal Academician in 1962 and received the freedom of the City of Salford in 1965) and his works in the auction rooms have sold for in excess of £1 million. He died in 1976.