The mayor of Salford has urged wealthy footballers and clubs to consider buying an LS Lowry ‘Going to the Match’ painting when it is auctioned next month to prevent its ‘massive tragedy and scandal’ from disappearing.
A 1953 painting by one of Britain’s most famous and well-known painters is expected to break records when it is sold by the Professional Footballers’ Association next month. Christie’s, the auction house that handles the sale, It is estimated that it will fetch up to 8 million pounds sterling.
Paul Dennett, the city’s mayor, said the new owner should keep it freely accessible to the public Salfordand Julia Fawcett, executive director of the Lowry Museum and Gallery, where the painting is on display.
Dennett said he was “exceptionally concerned” about the painting’s disappearance in a private collection. “My fear is that work that has been publicly available at Lowry for 22 years, championing the work of one of our great artists, will likely be lost from public view and public access.”
He said it was impossible for Salford City Council to buy the business with so much pressure on local authority resources at a time of mounting economic crisis.
But he added: “I would like to make a personal appeal to the football community here Greater Manchester To consider keeping this painting for the people of Greater Manchester. There is a lot of money in this community, so finding over £8m wouldn’t be too difficult.”
Fawcett said there is a precedent for Lowry’s being bought by individuals but “right out of the auction house into our showroom. We’d like to have a conversation with the buyer.” [of Going To The Match] About the responsibility that comes with owning such a business.”
She said the gallery was in no position to buy it and it wasn’t long before the October 19 sale to try to raise money.
“This is not just a painting. We have school trips, children come to study work. It is obviously related to the social history of our city. Not only traditional art lovers have seen it; the painting attracts the ordinary people it represents. We have a lot of football fans come before the game.”
Lowry, best known for his stick-like figures and industrial scenes in mid-20th century northwest England, produced a number of football paintings, most famously Going to the Match.
The playing field in the painting was Brenden Park, the former home of Bolton Wanderers, near Lowry’s home in Pendlebury. It was demolished in 1999 and the site is now a retail park.
In addition to crowds flocking to the turnstiles, the painting shows crowded terraces inside the stadium, surrounding homes and factories in the background.
Dennett said: “Lowry has captured working class life and celebrated the football community. It is not about the salaries of the stars, it is about the institutional role of football in our societies. To lose this from Lowry’s artistic ecosystem, which is maintained by the City of Salford, would be a tragedy and a huge scandal” .
In 1999, The PFA paid £1.9m, more than four times the estimate, to go to the game. Gordon Taylor, then CEO, said it was “simply the best football board ever”.
It is being sold to raise money for the Players Foundation, the charitable arm of the PFA, which became a separate body earlier this year under a reorganization motivated by Warning from the Commission for Charitable Institutions. He assists players and former players with matters including education, pensions, health and legal issues.
The PFA Fawcett said they have been “responsible owners” for 22 years. She had been aware of plans to sell the painting for several months.