Lowry's distinctive style, featuring his signature 'matchstick men' set against industrial landscapes, is both instantly recognizable as a staple of British art and highly sought after by art collectors around the world. While Lowry is best known for his quintessential paintings of industrial North West of England, it is less well known that he was also a talented portraitist and painter of seascapes.
In recent years, interest in Lowry's work has surged, driven in part by a growing recognition in the art world. The major 2013 Tate Britain exhibition, "Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life," played a significant role in establishing Lowry as a blue-chip artist, which led to a corresponding increase in the value of his work on the secondary market.
In 2019, the release of the biopic film Mrs Lowry & Son, starring Timothy Spall and Vanessa Redgrave, further renewed public interest in Lowry's life and art. The film explored Lowry's complex relationship with his mother and the challenges he faced as a self-taught artist in a world dominated by traditional art forms. It also showcased his unique approach to capturing the everyday lives of working-class people in his paintings.
Although Lowry had been painting since the late 1910s, the majority of his limited-edition prints date from the 1960s and 1970s, by which time he was a recognised artist. Some of his prints were reproductions of his most popular paintings, while others were created specifically as print editions.
Navigating the Lowry market, knowing whether to make a purchase privately or at auction, buying a specific print, or building a collection can be tricky. But to get you started, we have put together the most essential factors to look out for when you’re landing a Lowry.
Between 1999–2019, the average price for a Lowry print jumped from £500 to £4,000. Examining the market data using our unique value index, we have seen phenomenal returns for Lowry collectors and investors over the past five years, too. With a 9% growth rate in the average annual growth rate (AAGR) over the past five years, there is clear evidence that the value of these prints has been on the rise.
The appreciation and demand for Lowry's prints show no signs of slowing down; in the last 12 months, 207 sales have been made, totalling a sales value of £679,936. This means that the average price paid for a Lowry print in the past year was £3,284, underscoring the strong demand for Lowry's artwork and suggesting that investing in a Lowry print could be a lucrative long-term investment strategy.
The value of a Lowry print can vary significantly, with prices ranging from £1,000-2,000 to £10,000-15,000 and beyond. In 2022, signed limited edition prints by L.S. Lowry sold at auction for prices anywhere between roughly £500 to an astonishing £39,360.
At the top end of this range is the iconic print, Going To The Match (1972), which was offered by Bonhams, London in April 2022 and sold for a staggering £39,360 (including fees). This surpassed the previous record of the highest price ever paid at auction for a Lowry print: £ 37,750 (including fees), also set by Going To The Match, during another Bonhams sale in December 2021. Despite being estimated at £15,000-20,000, it was not surprising to see the piece fetch such a high price, given its popularity among Lowry's works. Moreover, the painting on which the print is based, Going to the Match (1953), is the current record-holder for the most expensive Lowry painting at auction: having sold for £ 7,846,500 (including fees) at auction with Christie's in October 2022.
The previous highest selling Lowry painting at auction–The Football Match t(1949)– speaks to the popularity of Lowry's works featuring football. The painting was sold to its first owner in 1951 for just £250; in 2011, The Football Match was auctioned at Christie’s, where it achieved a record-breaking £5,641,250.
The cost of a Lowry print depends on many factors: whether it is after a popular painting or subject matter, its physical size, when the series was made, its rarity and edition size, as well as its condition and provenance (such notable previous ownership or if it was exhibited in a notable exhibition).
Industrial landscapes, sports and fairgrounds are among Lowry’s most popular subjects on the secondary market. Of these, football pictures are consistently the most sought-after–both the most expensive Lowry painting and print are, after all, about the beautiful game.
Beyond the subject matter, the dating of the print is also an important consideration. Signed prints by Lowry produced in the 1960s and 70s are particularly in demand. It is also worth noting the print’s provenance. Artworks previously owned by a respected or famous collector will have a higher resell value. Works that have been held by the same owner for many years, and are considered fresh to the market again, are often priced higher.
After extensive data analysis, which looks at Lowry’s prints' recent auction performance, these are some of the prints that we think are worth looking out for in 2023:
Of course, when looking for an L.S. Lowry print for sale, the primary guiding factor should always be which artworks appeal to you, and which you will take most pride in owning.
Make sure any Lowry print you want to buy has clear records of its provenance, tracing all its previous owners since it was first sold. This is essential evidence that the work is real.
Most, but not all, of Lowry’s prints are signed. If there is a signature, it should be handwritten in pencil, in the paper margin underneath the printed image. This pencil signature is a more important sign of authenticity than a signature in the print itself, which is copied from the original painting.
The majority of Lowry’s prints also feature a Fine Art Trade Guild ‘blind stamp’ – a logo that creates a depression into the paper. The Fine Art Trade Guild’s stamp design shows a man and three letters to his right.
Finally, Lowry’s prints often have their edition numbers marked in pencil. These edition numbers can range from 75 to 850. Together, the signature, ‘blind stamp’ and edition number can be the first step in distinguishing a genuine Lowry from a fake.
Lowry famously claimed that he painted in only five colours: flake white, ivory black, Prussian blue, yellow ochre and vermilion red. His prints should reflect these recognisable colours. If a Lowry print has pale, faded colours, it could be a sign of poor-quality ink or that the work has been overexposed to sunlight, and therefore not properly looked after.
Other common signs of damage for prints include tearing; mould stains (such as foxing, a brown mould in a snowflake-like pattern); yellowed paper; water stains; and ripples or warping in the paper caused by changes in humidity.
If you have questions about the conditions of a Lowry print, contact MyArtBroker here, and we can put you in touch with a professional restorer for their recommendations.
A Lowry in perfect condition is worth more than a Lowry with wear, so look after your print and it will look after you. To protect your print, get it professionally framed with UV-protected glass. Hang your print away from direct sunlight, in a spot with a stable temperature and humidity. Keep the print’s paperwork safe too – you will need it again if you decide to resell.
Find out more in our guide to restoring and caring for modern and contemporary prints.
The quickest way to buy a Lowry print is on the secondary market, for example through private collectors, or via an auction house or a private broker like MyArtBroker. Lowry is considered one of the most forged artists on the market so it’s advisable to buy your new Lowry print from a credible source. Galleries and auction houses are reputable options – but their premiums are very high.
Online platforms, such as eBay, allows you to buy directly from a private collector at a low fee. But these marketplaces also run the risk of fake prints and scammers, so buying through them should depend on your level of confidence and knowledge of the market.
Auction houses have an established reputation for trust and expertise. Their specialists can advise you on the authenticity, condition and history of the Lowry print you want to buy. But on the day of the auction, you may lose your print to someone willing to pay higher or end up going far above the estimated price range in the excitement of the bidding battle. Auction houses also charge a buyer’s fee – around 25% of the hammer price – and require you to pay for your own shipping. As a buyer, you are also restricted to the auction house’s set calendar, which prevents you from buying when you want.
If you’d like to find out more about sales formats, read our Guide to Auction versus Private Sale.
At MyArtBroker we offer a safe and simple solution to buyers, connecting you directly with our expert brokers, who — if you are wishing to purchase a particular piece of L.S. Lowry art to either start or grow your collection — can assist you in this search with our large network of collectors looking to buy and sell daily. Our brokers will also condition check and authenticate artworks, so you can have confidence before you buy.
MyArtBroker offers a secure space to connect you as a buyer with an expert broker— you can get to know our friendly specialists here.
Your personal broker will work with you to find the L.S. Lowry you’re looking for at the price you’re willing to pay. Our experts will also condition check and authenticate artworks, so you can have confidence before you buy, as well as help arrange delivery.
We offer both the sense of trust and comfort that comes with meeting with a specialist personally, as well as the efficiency, transparency and ease of an online process.
Our global network consists of over 30,000 collectors buying and selling works daily, as well as dealers, collectors, galleries and independent experts globally that work with us to ensure we can offer the most covetable and authentic L.S. Lowry works. Our website has 75,000 visitors every month, and we regularly publish pieces tracking the artist’s market performance, keep up to date with new works, auction results and news, as well as offer his updated biography and informative essays on all L.S. Lowry editions.
MyArtBroker has access to a worldwide network of art collectors selling L.S. Lowry artwork, so get in touch with us if you’re interested in buying a L.S. Lowry print and we’ll talk you through the process.
Browse our L.S. Lowry prints for sale.