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13 December 2011
Rarely seen Lowry works draw record numbers to University

A series of rarely seen works of art have attracted a record-breaking 10,663 visitors to a prestigious Lowry exhibition at The University of Nottingham.

Sir Ian McKellen presents an ITV documentary on Lowry

In just four weeks, the exclusive exhibition — featuring works from private collections on public display together for the first time  — has broken Lakeside Arts Centre’s box office records.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Greenaway, said: “The number of visitors to Lakeside is a demonstration of the national importance of this unique retrospective of Lowry’s work. We are honoured to be able to host such a landmark exhibition at the University.”

The free exhibition focuses on Lowry’s work from the 1920s to the mid 1950s, and features a large number of drawings, many of which have never been exhibited as a collection before.

Lowry famously sketched on whatever paper was at hand, smudging and rubbing at his pencil lines to add depth. This exhibition features a collection of his drawings, ranging from the most cursory of sketches on the back of an envelope to fully realised studies for later paintings. Towards the end of his life, Lowry largely stopped painting, but continued drawing. He is considered to be one of the finest British draughtsmen of the 20th century.

His work has enjoyed renewed interest after the Perspectives: Looking for Lowry documentary — aired earlier this year and presented by Sir Ian McKellen.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with the response to this unique Lowry exhibition which includes over 90 beautiful drawings and paintings which have never before been seen in one exhibition,” said Shona Powell, Lakeside Director.

“Many visitors have said they’ll come more than once, and since we’re open 27–31 December, noon to 4pm, there’s a terrific opportunity for people who have already enjoyed the show to return with family or friends who are in Nottingham for Christmas celebrations.”

The previous best-attended exhibition was The American Scene Prints: From Hopper to Pollock in 2010, which attracted 9,807 visitors during its seven-week run.

Exhibition curator Neil Walker added: “The Lowry exhibition has been incredibly popular so far and we’re sure that this will continue until February. The success so far is testament to the quality of this exhibition, which we are so privileged to have here in Nottingham.”

The exhibition has also attracted school parties from across the county. Lakeside’s teams of associate artists offer workshops, where children look at the exhibition and then take part in a related activity. Other schools have had guided tours or self-led tours using Lakeside’s Art Investigator packs.

Learning Officer (Galleries) Ruth Lewis-Jones said: “We are getting really booked up — the Lowry exhibition is just really popular.”

Ruth is also working with some creative writing MA students on a pilot Lowry Literacy project involving primary school children and exploring the use of Lowry’s paintings for inspiration for creative writing.

The Lowry exhibition has been organised in association with London’s Crane Kalman Gallery, and includes a large loan of important works from The Lowry in Salford. It is generously supported by Sir Harry and Lady Djanogly and The Lowry Estate and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

It is at the Djanogly Art Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre, The University of Nottingham, and runs until Sunday 5 February 2012. Gallery opening hours: Monday – Saturday 11am – 5pm, Sun/Bank Holidays 12pm – 4pm.

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