LS Lowry painting Going To The Match comes home to Salford following record breaking auction bid

LS Lowry painting Going to the Match has sold for a record £6.6 million at auction Credit: PA

LS Lowry's masterpiece Going To The Match will remain in Salford and free for the public to view after being bought by The Lowry.

The historic work, which was painted in 1953 and depicts a throng of people gathered at Burnden Park football stadium, former home of Bolton Wanderers, sold at auction for a record-breaking £6.6 million on Wednesday.

The buyer has since been revealed to be The Lowry, with the purchase facilitated by The Law Family Charitable Foundation.

The painting will remain as part of the The Lowry Collection at the centre.

The Lowry in Salford will remain the painting's home.

In a statement, Julia Fawcett, chief executive of The Lowry museum and gallery, said the institution is "delighted" to have made the purchase.

"We firmly believe that this iconic artwork must remain on public view so it can continue to be seen by the broadest possible audiences for free," she said.

"This evening, thanks to an incredibly generous gift from The Law Family Charitable Foundation, we are delighted to have purchased the painting for the city's collection of LS Lowry works.

"We look forward to bringing it home to Salford, where it can continue to delight and attract visitors to the Andrew and Zoe Law galleries at The Lowry.

"A great deal of work has been needed to make this intervention possible. I'd like to thank Andrew and Zoe Law, our chair Sir Rod Aldridge, Salford's city mayor Paul Dennett and our trustees for all of their support."

The sum is a new record price for a work by Lowry sold at auction.

LS Lowry is famous for his works depicting life in the North of England. Credit: PA

The artwork's sale, organised by The Players Foundation, was the subject of controversy, with the mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett, saying the new owner must keep it "free to access".

He called for "members of the football community or someone from the Greater Manchester area" to purchase the piece and make sure it is "publicly available and free to access".

Following the announcement, Mr Dennett said: "I am delighted our campaign to save this critical and important painting has successfully resulted in The Lowry securing it for the city of Salford in perpetuity for generations to come, for residents and visitors to our great city."

Andrew Law, who helped facilitate the purchase, said: "This LS Lowry painting belongs in Salford on public view, close to his birthplace, where he was educated and where he lived.

"Place matters. LS Lowry's depiction of people attending a football match is just one of his many incredible genres of work but it is undoubtedly his most iconic."

Credit: PA

In 1999, Going To The Match was bought by the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) for £1,926,500 including buyer's premium at Sotheby's, setting a record price at auction for both a Lowry and modern British painting.

The painting’s iconic status has been recognised and loved by visitors of all ages: those who love art, those who love football and those who celebrate Lowry's unique eye for depicting Northern life.