© Rothschild Trust Company Inc; on loan to the National Portrait Gallery, London
by L.S. Lowry
oil on canvas, 1938
21 in. x 17 1/8 in. (535 mm x 435 mm)
Lent by Schorr Collection, 2002
Sitterback to top
- Laurence Stephen ('L.S.') Lowry (1887-1976), Painter. Sitter in 21 portraits, Artist of 2 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Laurence Stephen ('L.S.') Lowry (1887-1976), Painter. Artist of 2 portraits, Sitter in 21 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Lowry did not identify his portraits, giving them general titles such as here, The Man with Red Eyes. Later he inscribed the back of the canvas: 'The Artist aged 51'. Painted in 1938, the year that his mother was dying, the evident grief and anger are a rare expression of emotion in the artist's work.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Rideal, Liz, Insights: Self-portraits, 2005, p. 4 Read entry
Lowry attended Manchester and Salford Schools of Art. He spent his whole life in England, working for a rent-collecting company for forty-two years. This self-portrait is similar to several other portraits from the late 1930s, each with a full-frontal pose, staring red-rimmed eyes and plain backdrop. Lowry commented ‘All the paintings of that period were done under stress and tension and they were all based on myself.’
Events of 1938back to top
Current affairsBritain pursues its policy of appeasement. At the Munich Agreement, Britain, France and Italy agreed to allow Hitler to seize the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia. The agreement was seen at the time as a triumph for peace, with Neville Chamberlain returning home brandishing the paper agreement and saying 'peace for our time.' Within six months Germany had occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia.
Art and scienceGraham Greene publishes Brighton Rock. The novel follows the descent of Pinky, a teenage gang leader in Brighton's criminal underworld. The book examines the criminal mind and explores the themes of morality and sin - recurrent concerns for the Roman Catholic Author.
Glasgow hosts the Empire Exhibition; an £11 million celebration of the British Empire visited by 13 million people.
InternationalIn its pursuit of 'Lebensraum' (living space), Germany annexes Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia with little opposition from the League of Nations. At home, the Nazis continued their escalating persecution of the Jews with 'Kristallnach' (the Night of Broken Glass), attacking Jewish homes, shops, businesses and synagogues, and taking Jewish men to concentration camps.
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