painting by LS Lowry Loved by football fans and art enthusiasts, it was purchased by the Lowry Center for the Arts in Salford, keeping it from disappearing into a private collection.
The arts center paid £7.8 million including the go-to fee for the match, which was painted in 1953, at an auction on Wednesday night. The purchase was made possible by a gift from the Law Family charity, which was set up by hedge fund manager and Tory donor Andrew Law and his wife Zoë. The painting was valued at between 5 and 8 million pounds sterling.
Julie Fawcett, CEO of Lowry, said: “We firmly believe that this iconic work of art must remain on public display, so that it can continue to be shown to the widest possible audience, free of charge.
“This evening, thanks to an incredibly generous gift from the Law Family Charity, we are pleased to purchase Going to the Match 1953 for the city’s collection of L.S. Lowry’s work. We look forward to bringing it home. Salfordwhere he can continue to delight visitors and draw them to the Andrew and Zoë Law galleries at Lowry.”
Andrew Lowe said: “This LS Lowry painting belongs to Salford in public view, near his hometown, where he was educated and where he lived. The place is important. L.S. Lowry’s depiction of people attending a football match is just one of the many types of his amazing work, but it is without a doubt his most famous work.”
The painting has been shown to the public at the Lowry Center for the Arts for 22 years, having been purchased in 1999 by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), current and former players’ association, for £1.9 million.
At the time, Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the FA at the time, said it was “simply the best football board ever”.
This year the league decided to sell the board after its charitable arm became a separate body, the Players Foundation, under a reorganization motivated by Warning from the Commission for Charitable Institutions.
Auctions for the painting opened at £5 million upon Christie’s sale of British and Irish Modern Art. The auctioneer told in-person and telephone bidders that she was “selling out for a good cause”. The Players Foundation assists current and former players with matters including education, pensions, health and legal issues.
After the auction, Dennett said: “We categorically believe that going to the match should remain on public display, free to access where everyone can see it. I am delighted that our campaign to save this important and important painting has successfully resulted in Lowry securing it tonight, for the city of Salford forever for generations.” Coming, to residents and visitors to our great city.”
Lowry, best known for his stick-like figures and industrial scenes in mid-20th century northwest England, produced a number of football paintings, most famously Going to the Match.
The playing field in the painting was Brenden Park, the former home of Bolton Wanderers, near Lowry’s home in Pendlebury. It was demolished in 1999 and the site is now a retail park.
In addition to crowds flocking to the turnstiles, the painting shows crowded terraces inside the stadium, surrounding homes and factories in the background.
“Going to the match is about the emotion, the excitement, the crowd and the experience of the group,” said Nicholas Orchard, head of British and Irish modern art at Christie’s before the sale.
“Lowry was a great observer of people, especially in the industrial scene, and these football matches captured the essence of what Lowry was trying to get at in his paintings.”