From Chagall to Lowry... two painters, worlds apart

There are two rival exhibitions happening in the North West at the moment between Manchester and Liverpool... in the left hand corner is L.S. Lowry - a look into previously hidden drawings by this brilliant Manchester artist, and in the right hand corner is the mighty Marc Chagall. A Russian seemingly possessing magical painterly qualities.

The Tate Liverpool’s ‘Chagall: Modern Master’ is currently housing over sixty paintings that date from his time in Paris in the early 1920’s through to his work throughout and after the war... so quite a diverse selection. It is clear to see that Chagall’s immense use of colour was quite visionary. It is truly immense in its scale. Add to this the poetic use of narrative in his paintings, of folklore tales, childlike storytelling, mystic imagery of far away lands and reminiscing of the people he once knew back at home.

Copyright: Tate Liverpool
A far cry from the work by L.S. Lowry, a true Northern boy, who for over forty years painted the streets of Manchester where he lived and worked. In contrast to Chagall, a grittier account of the lives of the real folk in his hometown of Pendelbury. From views of local mills, crowds at football matches, group scenes of people chatting in the streets. The new exhibition at The Lowry ‘Unseen Lowry: Paintings and Drawings from LS Lowry’s Home’  gives us an extraordinary insight into some of his earliest sketches including brilliant life model portrait drawings and his legendary mill scenes.
Copyright: The Lowry

So different in style and visual approach. Both lived for a majority of the duration of the twentieth century, yet Chagall’s more worldly approach takes on huge homeland symbolism versus Lowry’s insightful, bare knuckle depictions of local living.

Both at opposite ends of the scale, yet I note that they each instilled a humorous side to their work. Chagall in his crazy characters and imaginary, poetic scenes (eg, a man’s offering of a ring to the goat - see the main Tate image, through to him and his wife Bella floating in the sky). Then we’re off into Lowry’s nest of kooky caricatures of the people on the streets, and his own self-portraits.

Seeing their distinctively different painting styles is refreshing and mind blowing. So if you wish to be kept on your toes, then the hard decision to make is whether its the left corner or the right!

Tate Liverpool: ‘Chagall: Modern Master’ (until 6th October) 

Lowry, Salford Quays, Manchester: ‘Unseen Lowry: Paintings and Drawings from LS Lowry’s Home’ (until 26th September)


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