Northern Art Lounge Now OpenLast updated on
We were thrilled to welcome octogenarian Salford artist Geoffrey Key to the gallery in early June 2023 for the official opening of our Northern Art Lounge. It was a wonderful hot day and many of our lovely Northern Art collectors came along to see Geoffrey and enjoy the new collection of original northern art that we had on show. We are so grateful to everybody who came along and look forward to seeing you all in the Northern Art Lounge again soon.
To have such an legendary artist at the gallery was a great privilege and the works on show included rare bronze sculptures from Geoffrey dating back many decades along with an early Nab painting which formed the foundations for the work that we know him for today. We continue to show these rare and collectible works along with new arrivals which we have acquired subsequently.
Along with the works of Geoffrey Key, we showcased a vast collection of works by another iconic Salford artist, L S Lowry. The collection included widely sought after limited edition prints including an incredibly rare lithograph of only 75 signed examples titled ‘A Northern Town’ along with two original drawings.
Seaham Harbour above is a stunning original drawing executed by Lowry in 1964 whilst visiting the North East with the gallery director of the Stone Gallery where he exhibited in the same year. With exquisite provenance and wonderfully framed, this piece is available to view at the gallery at the time of writing.
Other Northern artists on show included a contemporary of Lowry and the artist who Lowry praised as being technically better than himself, Appley Bridge’s late artist Theodore Major. Famous for wanting his work to be exhibited in public galleries for the people to see and appreciate rather have them tucked in away in wealthy collectors private collections, it was a thrill to be able to show them so close to his home near Wigan.
The works included two oil on canvas paintings dating from pre 1950 and intriguingly also feature paintings on the reverse where Theo utilised all the surfaces he could to produce his masterpieces. Having not wanted to sell his works and store them at his home in Appley Bridge, space was of a premium hence the imaginative use of canvas and board.
In addition to the these early Major paintings, we are also very fortunate to currently have one of his monumental skeleton paintings from this atom bomb series. Later in life and following his wife Kathleen’s stroke and subsequent loss, Major embarked upon a thought provoking series of ‘Atom Bomb’ paintings featuring the skeletons. In discussing the paintings, Major explained that the first skeleton painting featured a skeleton running but he had no idea what it was running. Only by painting the next painting from the series was he able to ascertain what it was running from. The series of paintings took shape with fighting skeletons being subsequently replaced by the skeletons helping each other. The final painting in the series was a beautiful sunset marking the conclusion of the atom bomb series which was an examination of human nature in the extreme times of adversity.
This magnificent and large example includes many facets of Major’s various subject matters including the smoking industrial chimneys, trudging working class figures and the church on the Wigan skyline. One of the most thought provoking and striking images from Major’s catalogues of works and a truly incredible piece for any northern art collection.
The reminder of the works on show also included important works other well known northern artists such as William Turner and Lawrence Isherwood. The Turner’s included works published in various books and newspaper obituaries making them some of his most well known and rare originals. The Isherwood paintings were also splendid and varied including pieces totally new to market having been unframed and unhung since the early 1960s.
With new works arriving every week and some amazing pieces available, we hope that you can call into the gallery soon and choose your favourite piece to enhance your home and life.