LS Lowry work The Football Match fetches record £5.6m

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The Football Match, LS Lowry 1949
Image caption,
The final price for The Football Match is a record for the artist

A painting by LS Lowry that has not been seen in public for nearly 20 years has sold for a record £5.6m at auction.

The Football Match (1949) which depicts hundreds of the artist's signature stick figures had been expected to fetch between £3.5m and £4.5m.

The final sale of £5,641,250, including buyer's premium, at Christie's in London is a record for the artist.

The previous record was set in 2007 when Good Friday, Daisy Nook, (1946) sold for £3.77m.

Lowry, who died in 1976 at the age of 88, was known for his simple depictions of working-class life.

Philip Harley of Christie's described the painting as "the ultimate work for passionate connoisseurs of Lowry's work and of football".

"The large format, panoramic, birds-eye composite view of Lowry's own landscape perfectly captures the spirit and drama of a town gripped by the excitement of the Saturday football match," he said.

The painting toured in London, the US and Paris shortly after it was completed, before entering a private collection in 1950 where it remained for more than 40 years.

Lowry's depiction of one of the streets which inspired ITV soap Coronation Street was also under the hammer at Christie's 20th Century British and Irish Art action on Thursday.

It fetched £445,250 including buyer's premium.

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