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Lowry painting fetches record £5.6m

The Football Match by L.S. Lowry (Lawrence Stephen, 1887-1976) on display at Christie’s Auctioneers in St James’s central London. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The Football Match by L.S. Lowry (Lawrence Stephen, 1887-1976) on display at Christie’s Auctioneers in St James’s central London. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

A painting by L.S. Lowry (Lawrence Stephen, 1887-1976) which was not been seen in public for two decades has sold for £5.6 million.

The 1949 work, called The Football Match, was bought at an auction at Christie’s in London yesterday, setting a new world record for the artist.

It is not known who bought the painting, which is one of the most eye-catching depictions of the sport by the Manchester City-supporting painter, famed for his depictions of Salford life.

Experts had predicted it would go for between £3.5 million and £4.5 million. Its final price of £5,641,250 includes the buyer’s premium.

Hundreds of his signature stick figures can be seen gathered at a match on a washed-out looking pitch between terraced houses and factories with billowing chimneys.

Christie’s described the painting as “a modern masterpiece”.

Mr Lowry, who died in 1976 at the age of 88, was known for his simple depictions of working-class life.

He painted largely in his spare time while working for the Pall Mall Property Company in Manchester, but still achieved recognition during his life.

He was the royal artist at the Queen’s coronation in 1953 - the year after he retired - and nine years later became a Royal Academician. In 1967, his work featured on a stamp.

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