It is clear from even cursory study of his oeuvre that Lowry was intensely interested in people, although from his art, interviews with the artist and the recollections of friends, this was perhaps more as an observer than as a participant. From his earliest work both paintings and drawings are packed with incident, and his ability to be able to imbue his figures with life and character without having to ever resort to unnecessary detail has never been in doubt.
During the 1920s and 1930s, the figures that populate the streets and courtyards of his paintings are very definitely part of their setting. Although it is well established that during the 1950s Lowry began to produce small panels with either single figures or very small groups of figures with little or no architectural setting, the present painting is an unusually early example of this. Giving just the slightest hint of a building on the left hand edge of the painting, Lowry nevertheless creates a completely convincing pictorial space in which his three characters function. The two figures on the right appear to be observing something away to our right, and their attention to this unknown off-stage event itself catches to interest of the male figure who strides across the foreground. Suggesting the turn of his head with just the slightest nuance, Lowry once more demonstrates his ability to take a stock character (this striding figure with head turned away can be found in the foreground of many of Lowry’s street paintings) and to present them in a way that is fresh and remarkably human.
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