LS Lowry’s painting Going to the Match (1953), estimated to be worth between £5 million to £8m ($5.7m to $9.25m), is going on display in Dubai on Thursday, ahead of an auction in London next month.
The work, from a group of paintings Lowry made under the theme of sports in industrial cities in northern England, is a highlight of Christie’s Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale.
It's being offered by The Players Foundation, which will use proceeds to work with dementia sufferers as well as current and former players who are living in poverty.
Going to the Match depicts the working man in action, capturing the universal appeal of football. It's of a city scene, a large crowd gathered within the structure of a football stadium.
“Going to the Match has been on display for the last 22 years and we are very proud that we have been able to make sure the British public have had the opportunity to enjoy such a wonderful piece of footballing memorabilia and art,” said a Players Foundation representative.
Nick Orchard, of Christie’s, said the auction house is "honoured" to present the piece. “Lowry mastered a distance in his art that offered him the opportunity to present his viewers with an entire scene unfolding before them," he added, comparing Lowry's work to that of 16th century Dutch artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
"He used this displacement to great effect, often allowing people within the crowd to articulate the event itself.”
The painting was previously on long-term loan to The Lowry in Manchester and will be on display in Christie’s Dubai office from Thursday until next Saturday, before going to London for an exhibition between October 15 and 19 ahead of the auction.
The Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale, which was last held in March and achieved £25m, will also present works by other leading 20th century British artists, including sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, as well as paintings by Ben Nicholson and Frank Auerbach.