Lowry painting record set at Christie's

Thu May 26, 2011 2:28pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - An auction record for British painter Laurence Stephen Lowry was set on Thursday when his "The Football Match" from 1949 fetched 5.6 million pounds ($9.2 million) at Christie's in London.

The previous record for the artist best known for his industrial landscapes and tiny dark human figures was 3.8 million pounds set at Christie's in 2007 for "Good Friday, Daisy Nook" dated 1946.

Thursday's price is also a new high for the entire 20th century British art sector.

"The Football Match," which combines an industrial setting of rooftops, billowing chimney stacks, spires and houses with incidental scenes of domestic life, had been expected to fetch 3.5-4.5 million pounds.

According to Christie's, Lowry, who died in 1976, painted only in his spare time during his working life, yet enjoyed huge success.

He was appointed official artist at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 and went on to turn down several investitures, including a knighthood, on the grounds that he saw little point in receiving awards after the death of his mother.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; editing by Patricia Reaney)