The fight to keep Lowry’s Going to the Match in the open | football


Known for his paintings of matchstick men and matchstick animals inhabiting his industrial landscapes inspired by northwest England, Lowry did not like being called an artist, preferring instead to describe himself as a “man who paints”. When described as a “naive Sunday painter” by one particularly condescending critic, he responded by noting that he is a “Sunday painter who paints every day of the week.” Since his death in 1976, Lowry’s paintings and drawings have sold into the millions and arguably the best known, Going to the Match, is owned by the PFA and will go up for sale at Christie’s next month. It is expected to fetch £8m, which at the time of writing is still a lot of money despite the best attempts by the Conservative Party to steady our economy.

Currently on display at the magnificent Lowry Museum in Salford, Going to the Match depicts a scene outside and inside Burnden Park, the former land of Bolton Wanderers, near his home in Pendlebury. But with the gallery and local council unable to afford it, and the NFL forced to sell the painting for which they paid £1.9 million in 1999 in order to raise money for their charitable arm, the mayor of Salford appealed to wealthy footballers and clubs in the area to consider Buy it to prevent “huge tragedy and scandal” from becoming part of a private collection and disappearing from view.

“My fear is the work that has been publicly available at Lowry for 22 years, that is likely to be lost from public viewing and public access, and which supports the work of one of our great artists,” Paul Dennett sighed. “I would like to make a personal plea to the football community here to consider keeping this painting for the people of Greater Manchester. There is a lot of money in this community so finding over £8m wouldn’t be too difficult.” While there is no indication that Dennett had any particular members of the said community in mind, The Fiver notes with interest that in 2016, the Manchester City owner, who is never averse to PR, purchased the original Lowry of coach Manuel Pellegrini. parting gift. Meanwhile at Old Trafford, the Glazers may be tempted to do the decent thing, seeing as keeping the match going in the public spotlight would cost them less than a third of what they paid to knock Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralph Rangnick out of the match.

“We would like to have a chat with the buyer [of Going To The Match] About the responsibility that comes with owning such a work,” said Julia Fawcett, lead suit for the Lowry Museum and Gallery. “This isn’t just a painting. We have school trips, kids come to study work. It is clearly related to the social history of our city. Not only did traditional art lovers see it; The painting attracts the ordinary people it represents. We have a lot of football fans coming in before the game.” The sight of fans stopping to see the board as they literally go to the match is a sight that sure would have surprised Laurie.

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