Alan Lowndes was born in Stockport, Cheshire, and left school at 14 to become an apprentice to a decorator. After several years in the army in World War II, Lowndes studied painting in the evenings at Stockport College, he then started painting full-time in the late-1940’s.
Alan is known mainly as painter in oils of the industrial north
of England in a bright palette and with a distinct style. Although of his time was spent in St Ives, and he was a close friend of many of the St Ives School artists. His early work from up to the 1950's is arguably the most sought after and valued. Work from this period depicts the streets and buildings of the mill and railway town of Stockport. He was taken up by The Crane Kalman Gallery in Manchester, where he had a number of one man shows, later showing at Crane Kalman, London. He also showed solo at the Osborn Gallery in New York, Curlew Gallery, Southport and had retrospectives at The Stockport Art Gallery and tour in 1972 and at Crane Kalman in 1995.
He painted pub interiors and street scenes in and around his native Stockport and later became a part of the St Ives group. He was influenced by Ben Nicholson and most notably Sir Terry Frost RA. Indeed, Frost was always of the opinion that Lowndes was a far better artist than Lowry and went out of his way to say so.
Although he moved away from Stockport and lived elsewhere in the UK, Lowndes youth never left him and images of industrial Stockport recurred in his paintings throughout his career. Lowndes style has been compared to the more famous Lowry, in choosing unassuming local subjects direct from his surrounding area. Like his peer Lowry, Lowndes was a painter of the working classes. They both shared a simplistic style of painting and their artworks painted a nostalgic vision of life in the urban north.
Many of Lowndes’s contemporaries did not appreciate his art and he was unappreciated until after his death. He has often been dismissed as a naive painter and was a deeply intellectual man of very considerable intelligence, except for his love of alcohol.
Alan Lowndes passed away in Gloucestershire in 1978. Today, he is regarded as one of the most prominent painters of the twentieth century Northern School.
In recent years his reputation has soared culminating in a new retrospective in 2010 hosted by Stockport Art gallery and Crane Kalman, London and supported by a major book on his life and work by Jonathan Riley. His work features in the collections of Walker Art Gallery, The Arts Council, Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery, plus many more around the UK.