James Lawrence Isherwood

"James Lawrence Isherwood (1917-1989) is widely regarded by his followers as one of the best impressionist painters this country has produced. Born and bred in Wigan, now part of Greater Manchester, England, he was a prolific painter and produced his best work from the early 1960s on. His work has always been considered truly original and is typified by strong brushwork and extravagant colours. His subjects ranged from rural and industrial landscapes to nudes and portraiture, and his work has found its way into art collections across the world. He is known for his Wigan Style and Wigan figure paintings. These together with his London scenes, Wigan street scenes, are his most sought after works. Isherwood was a personal friend of the artist L. S. Lowry, who purchased his Woman with Black Cat and displayed it at his home. Lowry paid £5 for the picture from Isherwood's Avante Guard exhibition in Manchester. Other known collectors include Prince Charles, who bought one of Isherwood's seascapes from a sale held at Cambridge University. The former Director General of the BBC Hugh Greene commissioned a portrait of Mary Whitehouse, his vociferous critic, from Isherwood; the artist depicted her with five breasts. Isherwood gave the painting a punning title - "Sanctity" - and Hugh Greene allegedly hung it in his office so that he could apparently throw things at it. Always short of money, Isherwood travelled the country in his old estate car, usually accompanied by his mother (whom he called 'Mother Lily'). He liked to pitch up at art colleges and give impromptu tutorials, and usually paid for his hotel room with a painting. He also offered magistrates a painting in lieu of a fine when prosecuted for driving with no tax or insurance. A BBC documentary, I am Isherwood was made in 1974 about the artist and his work. This was transmitted twice by the BBC once in 1974 and again in 1975. Isherwood died on the 9 June 1989 ." (www.amazon.com/James-Lawrence-Isherwood-1917-1989-Biography/dp/1861511515)

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