Jack Vettriano – Genius or Clown?

In under 10 years, Jack Vettriano has emerged from obscurity to be Britain’s primary contemporary narrative painter despite having never received any formal art school training.

Born in St Andrews, Scotland in 1954, Vettriano left school at 16 to be a mining engineer in the local coalfields. For his twenty-first birthday, a girlfriend gave him a set of watercolor paints and, from then on, he spent a lot of his free time teaching himself to paint. The area art gallery, The Kirkcaldy Museum and painting Gallery, with its renowned collection of 20th and 19th-century Scottish paintings, was particularly inspiring. It was 14 years before Vettriano felt prepared to show any of the work of his in public. In 1989 he offered 2 works to the Royal Scottish Academy’s annual exhibition; both were accepted and sold on the very first day. The following year, an equally enthusiastic reaction greeted the 3 paintings, which he entered for the prestigious Summer Exhibition at London’s Royal Academy. Within the last 9 years, interest in, and desire for the work of his, has grown rapidly. We have seen sell-out solo exhibitions in Edinburgh, Johannesburg, Hong Kong and London. In November 1999, Vettriano’s work was found for the very first time in York that is new, when 20 paintings were shown at The International 20th Century Arts Fair at The Armory. 50 collectors from the UK flew out for the opening night of the Fair and all 20 paintings were sold out within an hour of the opening. In March 2000, BBC Scotland produced a half hour documentary about Vettriano for their Arts Series EX S; aired at first in Scotland only, the documentary is apt to be aired UK wide later this year. Vettriano’s last major exhibition, Other Strangers and Lovers, was at the Portland Gallery in London in June 2000. After the London run of its, the exhibition transferred on loan to The Kirkcaldy Museum & Art Gallery in Fife. Attendance figures indicated that even more folks visited the Museum during the Vettriano exhibition than had done so in the whole of the prior season. A book about the artist was published to coincide with this exhibition.

The Singing Butler is Jack Vettriano’s top-selling print. Vettriano makes millions from this single image. The art deco style of his captures the public’s imagination. Published by Pavilion Books, Other Strangers features and lovers more than hundred paintings selected from the job of the last 10 years and biographical text by Anthony Quinn. In 2010 the new Jack Vettriano exhibition, Days of Roses and Wine, started in Kirkcaldy before transferring to Milan and London Jack Vettriano gifts In September 2001, Vettriano donated a painting to a charity auction, which was held at Sotheby’s in aid of Help the Hospices.

Night in the City is among the artist’s sexy images, still offered as a limited edition print. The painting, Beautiful Dreamer, was the next highest bid for Lot, making £25,000. UK Portland Gallery exhibited twenty one paintings at artLONDON, an annual contemporary art fair, in May 2002. All twenty one paintings have been sold within the very first hour of the opening night. Besides the exhibitions of his, Vettriano has acquired a great following through the posters and prints of the paintings of his which are distributed worldwide. This year the 2 best selling art posters in Britain are both Vettriano images.

Dance me to the End of Dancer and Love in Emerald are two of Vettriano’s top selling posters at the moment. To date, over 1,000,000 posters of Vettriano’s paintings have sold around the world A Faculty spokesperson said, “It is a privilege for the Faculty to honour one of Scotland’s top contemporary artists along with a certain pleasure to do this due to the quantity of time which Jack Vettriano has invested in supporting the University’s pupils fulfil several of their very own artistic aspirations.”

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