The Investment Guide To LS Lowry

LS Lowry Print Market Investments - MyArtBroker LS Lowry Print Market Investments © MyArtBroker 2024
Jasper Tordoff

Jasper Tordoff, Specialist[email protected]

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Laurence Stephen Lowry, celebrated for his quintessential style capturing the industrial landscape of Northern England with matchstick figures, remains a highly influential figure in British and Contemporary art. Despite his passing in 1976, his paintings still command millions at auction, and the Lowry print market offers lucrative opportunities for investors seeking Modern British prints by a blue chip artist to enrich their portfolios. Explore our investment guide to discover the potential of Lowry's print market.

In this investment report, we examine Lowry's print market performance spanning the past seven years. Leveraging auction and sales data from our dedicated database focused on prints and editions, our objective is to provide valuable insights to help you determine whether investing in Lowry is a wise decision for 2024.

LS Lowry Seven Year Print Market Performance 2017 - 2023

Double bar graph illustrating the sales value and lots sold of Lowry's print market over a seven year period. Lowry Sales Value And Lots Sold 2017 - 2023 © MyArtBroker 2024

Is Buying A Lowry Print A Good Investment?

Recognised for depicting the industrial landscape and working-class life in Northern England, LS Lowry prints are highly sought-after in the print market, offering accessible entry points for investors. Over the past seven years, Lowry's print market has shown consistent growth. From 2017 to 2019, sales demonstrated stable performance with occasional fluctuations. In 2019, there was a significant spike with a 61% increase in sales value. The most substantial surge occurred in 2021, with sales value soaring by an impressive 3.25 times compared to the previous year. This momentum continued into 2022, marking the peak of Lowry's print market performance. In that year, sales turnover reached £464,403 (hammer), representing a 7% increase from the previous high in 2021 and setting a record number of lots sold at 151.

Lowry 2023 Print Market Performance

An illustrative design text showing LS Lowry's 2023 print market sales value, lots sold and average selling price. Lowry Print Market Values 2023 © MyArtBroker 2024

What Happened In Lowry’s Print Market In 2023?

In 2023, Lowry's print market appeared to defy economic turbulence, achieving a new record-breaking year. The yearly sales value for Lowry prints reached £578,043, marking a 24% increase compared to the previous peak year in 2022, with 202 lots sold—an impressive 34% increase on the previous high. This surge resulted in an average selling price (ASP) of £2,862.

Lowry Average Selling Price

A single line graph illustrating the average selling price of Lowry's print market performance over a seven year period. Lowry Average Selling Price 2017 - 2023 © MyArtBroker 2024

In 2017, the average selling price (ASP) of Lowry's prints stood at £2,888, experiencing a slight correction to £2,612 in 2018. The ASP surged by 20% in 2019 and further spiked by 48% in 2020, reaching £4,644. With two consecutive years of growth and minimal corrections, Lowry prints exhibited significant value appreciation.

Following 2020, the ASP of Lowry's prints showed fluctuations. Despite an increase in sales value in 2021, the ASP slightly decreased to £3,264. In 2022, while there was a slight decrease in sales value, the ASP remained relatively stable at £3,076. 2023 was an exceptional year for Lowry in terms of overall sales value and lots sold, his best performance over the seven year period. However, with more works entering the market, the ASP decreased to £2,862, nearly matching the level of 2017.

Lowry's Most Popular Print Series

Two horizontal bar graphs illustrating the market dynamics of Lowry's print series by sales value and lots sold in 2023. Lowry Trending Print Series: Sales Value x Lots Sold In 2023 © MyArtBroker 2024

Top Performing Print Series In Lowry’s 2023 Print Market

Lowry's extensive collection of prints is diverse, spanning various themes such as Town And Street Scenes, Industrial Scenes, Figures, Lakeside, Sea Views and Seascapes and Drawings. Despite these distinctions, there's little variation in sales value or lots sold among them. Industrial Scenes emerged as the top-performing series in 2023, generating £240,000 (hammer) and selling 51 lots. Although leading in sales value, this series ranked second in terms of lots sold, closely trailing Town and Street Scenes. Despite this minor difference, the consistent performance across Lowry's print series indicates a strong alignment between demand and value.

Buying With MyArtBroker's Live Trading Floor

LS Lowry live trading floor  - myartbrokerLS Lowry Live Trading Floor © MyArtBroker 2024

The Most In-Demand Lowry Prints Within Our Network

On our live trading floor, Industrial Panorama is highly sought after. Belonging to the Industrial Scenes collection. Notable for its depiction of a northern industrial town in winter, this semi-rare artwork has steadily increased in value since entering the market in 2015.

One of Lowry's most renowned works, Going to the Match, is also in demand on our trading floor. This painting depicts matchstick figures rushing to a football game's opening gates. While this print began circulating in the market in 2016, its value appreciated significantly in 2022, boosted by a record-breaking sale at Christie's. This iconic piece, valued by MyArtBroker's AI value indicator at £30,000 - £45,000, holds special significance as it was brought back to Salford through a charitable donation to remain on public view.

An Industrial Town offers a more affordable option, valued at £1,500 - £2,000. This piece, reminiscent of Lowry's landscapes and matchstick men, presents collectors with an entry point into the market for a blue chip print.

Other affordable Lowry pieces available on our trading floor include Sailing Boats, St Luke's Church, and Old Town Hall, Middlesbrough. When considering which Lowry piece to invest in, it's crucial to explore various options with price points and styles in mind. While these pieces may differ from Lowry's popular industrial Scenes series, they embody his quintessential style and offer diverse entry points for collectors.

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Comparative Blue Chip Market Performance

L S Lowry
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Harland Miller
Bridget Riley
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British Blue Chip Artists Markets To Know

When analysing Lowry's market trajectory alongside other Modern and Contemporary British artists, Lowry's market outperformed his contemporaries in May 2020, as indicated by our live index. Although Lowry's market has since experienced a correction, there are indications of a positive outlook in 2024. The most significant distinction in Lowry's market compared to others lies in the ASP, which has consistently remained in the single thousands over the past seven years, contrasting with the tens of thousands seen in other artists' markets.

Lowry Print Market Price Distribution

Pie chart showing the price distribution of LS Lowry's print market in 2023. Lowry Price Distribution By Lots Sold © MyArtBroker 2024

Where To Start When Looking To Buy A Lowry Print?

A small fraction of Lowry's market comprises print works priced above £10,000. In 2023, the only entry in this category was Going to the Match, selling four times, one of which set a new auction record in June, fetching £43,250 (with fees).

Works priced from £5,001 to £10,000 form a slightly larger segment in Lowry's 2023 print market. Among the top performers was The Cart from the Figures series, achieving £10,000 (with fees) and setting an auction record in October 2023. Man Lying on a Wall, also from the Figures series, sold for £9,375 (with fees) in February, indicating a growing interest with Lowry prints beyond his iconic Industrial and Landscape Scenes.

A substantial 44% of Lowry's 2023 print market comprised works priced between £2,000 and £5,000 offering accessibility to new entry's into the market. For example, The Football Match sold for £4,800 (hammer) and £6,144 with fees in 2023, providing football enthusiasts with an alternative subject matter at a more affordable price point than Going to the Match. Similarly, Britain at Play captures the quintessential northern vibe with matchstick figures and landscapes, selling for £3,800 (hammer) and £4,750 with fees.

Lowry's Most Affordable Prints: Below £2,000

Some of Lowry's most budget-friendly prints belong to the Drawings and Figures series. For instance, Three Men And A Cat, His Family, and The Meeting Point all sold for £1,000 (hammer) in 2023. Crime Lake from the Lakeside, Sea Views, and Seascapes series offers an alternative interpretation of matchstick figures and landscapes at more accessible price points. Woman With Beard showcases Lowry's diverse aesthetic, depicting a close-up portrait and selling for £700 (hammer) in 2023.
Even sought-after pieces like Britain at Play, whose value is bolstered by high demand, are available at reasonable price levels.

Condition of Lowry Prints

Lowry's prints, having been published before the 1970s, may not all be in pristine condition despite their frequent appearance on the market. As with any print acquisition, condition is paramount, with those in flawless state commanding higher prices. However, individual collecting preferences also influence decisions, with collectors open to prints in moderate condition often finding greater budget flexibility to pursue their desired artworks.

A panoramic view of a Norther England industrial town with hundreds of matchstick figures gatering in the town square painted with a muted colour palette. Image © Christie's / Sunday Afternoon © LS Lowry 1957

Liquidity of Lowry's Print Market

The liquidity of Lowry's print market stems from both the influx of prints and their accessibility. While Lowry prints are traded across international auction houses, notable branded houses like Christie's and Sotheby's primarily handle his paintings resulting in high value sales and auction records for Lowry's market. Most recently, at Christie's Modern British and Irish evening sale in March 2024, Sunday Afternoon fetched £6.3 million, further enhancing the prints' market reputation and appeal.

Beyond the branded houses, numerous other international auction venues offer a diverse range of selling platforms for Lowry prints. Moreover, Lowry enjoys a robust private market, with MyArtBroker connecting a broad network of buyers and sellers, through our live trading floor, interested in his prints. Together, these factors—rare paintings, multiple selling avenues, and accessible prices—contribute to the liquidity of Lowry's print market.

Pie chart illustrating the volume of Lowry prints sold by location in 2023. Lowry Lots Sold By Location In 2023 © MyArtBroker 2024

Recent Market Performance And Current Opportunities

Lowry's market performance analysis by location indicates that the vast majority of his print market in 2023, totalling 93.1%, is concentrated within the United Kingdom, a reflection of his widespread appeal and recognition to his heritage. Surprisingly, sales did not extend to the United States, the central art market hub. The remainder of Lowry's 2023 print market reached various European countries, including Italy and France, with 3% in Ireland. Additionally, his prints found buyers in South Africa and the Philippines, showcasing the breadth of his influence. This diversity may also present favourable buying opportunities due to more advantageous tax laws. Effectively manoeuvring through the complexities of the art market necessitates partnering with trustworthy dealers and leveraging available technological valuation tools. This ensures not only a seamless transaction process but also guarantees that you acquire the print at a fair market value.

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What Makes A Lowry Print Desirable?

Lowry prints capture the quintessence of Northern England's industrial landscape and working-class life, appealing to collectors drawn to authenticity and historical depth. Their charming portrayal of English life resonates widely, bolstering a robust secondary market and extensive museum holdings. Moreover, Lowry's prints offer accessibility across price ranges, catering to diverse collectors, from seasoned experts to newcomers to the market. The rarity of certain prints, particularly those in pristine condition, further enhances their value, making them coveted additions to both art market and private collections.

LS Lowry Top Selling prints

Lowry Most Investable Print Works


Going To The Match

Going To The Match stands out as one of Lowry's most iconic prints for several reasons. Firstly, it embodies the quintessential Lowry style with its depiction of bustling matchstick figures heading to a football game, capturing the essence of English culture. Secondly, its popularity received a significant boost following the sale of the original painting at Christie's in 2022. The story behind the sale, involving the Professional Footballers Association and The Lowry, added to its appeal. Despite concerns about the painting potentially entering a private collection, a generous donation ensured it remained in public view. This sale elevated the print's value, making it Lowry's top-selling print in 2023, fetching £43,520 (with fees) at Bonhams in June 2023.


Berwick Upon Tweed

Berwick Upon Tweed reappeared in the market twice in 2023, following several appearances in 2021-2022. The piece reflects Lowry's dedication to his signature matchstick figure style, combined with his ambition to portray close-up views of inner streets within the English towns. Achieving £10,240 at Bonhams in June 2023, it stands as Lowry's second highest-selling print of that year.


The Cart

The Cart showcases Lowry's characteristic muted landscape, featuring a lone cart pulled by a brown mule, carrying passengers across serene green pastures. Unlike his bustling urban scenes, this artwork offers a tranquil depiction of the English countryside. In 2023, it ranked as Lowry's third most sought-after print, selling for £10,000 with fees at Chiswick Auctions in October.


Man Lying On Wall

In 2023, Lowry's Figures series gained prominence, showcasing the refreshing interest in solitary figures within his repertoire. Man Lying On Wall exemplifies this trend, blending quintessential English elements like the man's attire, muted colours, and the backdrop of Big Ben. This print was among Lowry's top sellers in 2023, fetching £9,375 at Chiswick Auctions in February.


The Fever Van

The Fever Van portrays a cropped perspective of a pedestrian street in an industrial town, possibly named after the ambulance featured in the background, amidst the prevalence of dysentery and scarlet fever in England. With its historical significance and authentic depiction, this artwork made multiple appearances in 2023, with its highest sale reaching £7,680 in December at Bonhams, setting a new auction record for this print.

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