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For years, the London gallery have been notoriously sniffy about the Manchester artist's work, sparking allegations that they are either anti-northern or anti-populist, or both.

But Tate Britain has just announced that its 2013 exhibition programme will feature a major exhibition of Lowry's work - Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life - from June 25-October 20 next year.

Tate said the show, which will feature around 80 works, resulted "from an invitation extended to the distinguished art historians T.J. Clark and Anne M. Wagner to reappraise Lowry for a new and extended audience".

This is quite an about-turn from last year when Tate Britain's head of displays, Chris Stephens, said that Lowry was "a victim of his own fan base".

He said: "What makes Lowry so popular is the same thing which stops him being the subject of serious critical attention. What attracts so many is a sort of sentimentality about him."

The Tate holds 23 Lowry works but only one, Industrial Landscape (1955), has been on display in the past 20 years.

Last year the actor Sir Ian McKellen led a campaign to have Lowry's work shown, saying it was "a shame verging on the iniquitous that foreign visitors to London shouldn't have access to the painter English people like more than most others".