He said it was “a shame verging on the iniquitous” that foreign visitors to the capital should not see them.
Tate owns seven Lowry paintings. It also owns 16 drawings and prints that can be viewed, by appointment, at London’s Tate Britain. It said it planned to include Lowry paintings as part of Tate Britain’s revamp, due to finish in 2013.
The artist, who died in 1976, is known for his crowd scenes depicting industrial life in the towns of north-west England.
Sir Ian, on his website, asked,
Why should it matter that the Tate Gallery in London (with its 23 Lowry’s) has chosen not to display any of them for many years? His popularity needs no official endorsement from the Tate but it is a shame verging on the iniquitous that foreign visitors to London shouldn’t have access to the painter English people like more than most others.
Over the years, silly lies have been thrown around – that Lowry was only a Sunday painter, an amateur, untrained, naïve. The Tate’s current apologist tries a new attack in the film: Lowry’s popularity is why the gallery doesn’t show his work! His fans are his problem.
If the Tate feels no responsibility to give the art-viewing public their favourite painters to view, perhaps they could let their stash go elsewhere, pass them on to a gallery like the Lowry, who share their visitors’ tastes. Lowry’s home in Pendlebury, where he lived and painted over 40 years, is still standing, empty, boarded-up and unmarked by a long-overdue blue plaque. Many of the Tate’s pictures were painted in the front upper room. It could make a unique addition to the Tate brand of museums.
Market Scene, Northern Town by L.S.Lowry, 1939, Lowry Centre, Salford Quays