||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2013)|
|Birth name||Jack Hoggan|
17 November 1951 |
Methil, Fife, Scotland
The Singing Butler (1992)
Jack Vettriano grew up in the industrial seaside town of Methil, Fife. He grew up in poverty with his mother and father and older brother, in a spartan miner’s cottage, sharing a bed with his brother and wearing handed down clothes. From the age of 10, his father sent him out delivering papers and milk, cleaning windows, picking potatoes and any job that would earn money. His father took half his earnings.
Vettriano left school at 16 and later became an apprentice mining engineer. For a short time in the late 1960s he once had a summer job as a bingo caller at the Beachcomber Amusements on Leven Promenade. Vettriano took up painting as a hobby in the 1970s, when a girlfriend bought him a set of watercolours for his 21st birthday. His earliest paintings, under his birth name "Jack Hoggan", were copies or pastiches of impressionist paintings; his first painting was a copy of Monet's Poppy Fields. Much of his influence came from studying paintings at the Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery. In 1984, Vettriano first submitted his work to the Shell-sponsored art exhibition in the museum.
In 1987, at 36, Vettriano's wife Gail left him. He left his job in educational research, and moved to Edinburgh. There, he adopted his mother's maiden name, gave away his suits to a neighbour and started dressing as an Edwardian dandy. He applied to study Fine Art at the University of Edinburgh, but his portfolio was rejected.
In 1988, Vettriano submitted two canvases for the Royal Scottish Academy annual show. Both paintings sold on the first day and Vettriano was approached by several galleries who wanted to sell his work. Further successful exhibitions followed in Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, and New York.
In November 1999, Vettriano’s work was shown for the first time in New York, when 21 paintings were displayed at The International 20th Century Arts Fair at The Armory. More than forty collectors from the UK flew out for the event and all twenty-one paintings were sold on the opening night.
In 1996, Sir Terence Conran commissioned Vettriano to create a series of paintings for his new Bluebird Club in London. The seven paintings inspired by the life of Sir Malcolm Campbell hung in the Club for ten years. Heartbreak Publishing, Vettriano's own publishing company, produced a boxed set featuring signed, limited edition prints of all seven paintings to mark the 75th anniversary of Sir Malcolm Campbell's final World Land Speed Record. The Bluebird paintings were put up for sale at Sotheby's on 30 August 2007 and made more than £1m. The most expensive was Bluebird at Bonneville, bought for £468,000 at the auction, held at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire.
His easel paintings cost between £48,000 and £195,000 new. According to The Guardian, he earns £500,000 a year in print royalties. Vettriano's 1992 painting, The Singing Butler has been the best selling image in Britain. On 21 April 2004 the original canvas of The Singing Butler sold at auction for £744,500. It had been rejected in 1992 by the Royal Academy summer exhibition.
Vettriano has studios in Scotland and London. He was represented by the Portland Gallery, London from 1993 to 2007 and counts Jack Nicholson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Tim Rice and Robbie Coltrane amongst his collectors. To date, five books have been published about Jack Vettriano, the most recent of which is entitled 'Studio Life' and was published in March 2008. In February 2009, Vettriano launched his own company, Heartbreak Publishing and his own London gallery also called Heartbreak which exclusively represents him. and also promotes younger artists.
On Wednesday 24 March 2010, Sir Jackie Stewart presented Vettriano with the Great Scot of the Year Award. The award ceremony was held at the Boisedale Club in London. The award led MSP Ted Brocklebank to file a Motion in Parliament calling for Vettriano's contribution to Scottish culture to be recognised.
In April 2010 seven out of ten paintings by Vettriano failed to sell at Sotheby's spring auction of Scottish pictures. Those that sold did so for half their previous prices. Art experts suggestedthe value of Vettriano's works needed reassessing.
In February 2011 it was announced that Vettriano's self-portrait, "The Weight" would be displayed at the re-opened Scottish National Portrait Gallery from November 2011, the first time he had exhibited at a national gallery. Deputy director Nicola Kalinsky said Vettriano was "a figure we have wanted on our wall for a while for obvious reasons". First Minister, Alex Salmond said of Vettriano "He is a wonderful artist of considerable talent and achievement and this is a magnificent tribute to the special place he holds in the hearts of people in Scotland."
In May 2011, "The Ballroom Spy" opened at Vettriano's gallery Heartbreak - a new exhibition by Vettriano in collaboration with the photographer, Jeanette Jones. In July 2011, the exhibition transferred to the Royal West Academy of Arts in Bristol which was viewed as a controversial choice by many.
In January 2012, the luxury menswear brand, Stefano Ricci, launched their Spring Summer 2012 collection with a campaign inspired by the work of Jack Vettriano. Their SS 2012 catalogue, entitled 'Stefano Ricci - a tribute to Vettriano', features images by Vettriano and photographic re-interpretations shot by Fredi Marcarini and featuring clothes and accessories from the Ricci 2012 collection. A short film about the 2012 Vettriano campaign has been presented by Ricci to commemorate the collaboration.
In September 2013, a major 20 Year Retrospective Exhibition of Vettriano's work opened at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. Jack Vettriano: A Retrospective runs until 23rd February 2014 and features over 100 works, including Vettriano's most famous works.
According to The Daily Telegraph he has been described as the Jeffrey Archer of the art world, a purveyor of "badly conceived soft porn", and a painter of "dim erotica", According to Vanity Fair, critics say Jack Vettriano paints brainless erotica. Sandy Moffat, head of drawing and painting at Glasgow School of Art, said: "He can’t paint, he just colours in." The Guardian's art critic Jonathan Jones, described Vettriano’s paintings as a group as "brainless" and said Vettriano "is not even an artist." Richard Calvocoressi, when director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, said: "I’d be more than happy to say that we think him an indifferent painter and that he is very low down our list of priorities (whether or not we can afford his work, which at the moment we obviously can’t). His ‘popularity’ rests on cheap commercial reproductions of his paintings." 
In The Scotsman George Kerevan wrote "He suffers all the same criticisms of the early French Impressionists: mere wallpaper, too simplistic in execution and subject, too obviously erotic." Alice Jones wrote in The Independent that Vettriano has been labelled a chauvinist whose "women are sexual objects, frequently half naked and vulnerable, always in stockings and stilettos." Regarding the criticism, sculptor David Mach has said: "If he was a fashion designer Jack would be right up there. It’s all just art world snobbery. Anyway, who cares, he probably makes more money than Damien Hirst anyway."
In October 2005, after the original of The Singing Butler sold for £740,000, it came to light that Vettriano had used the artists' reference manual The Illustrator's Figure Reference Manual to form his figures, using Irish actress Orla Brady for the 'lady in red.'
Alongside fellow Fifer, author Ian Rankin, Vettriano put in a cameo appearance in a video with Scottish indie band Saint Jude's Infirmary made for BBC Scotland's 'The Music Show'. The video was filmed on Portobello Beach in Edinburgh and included visual references to two of Vettriano's most famous paintings, "Elegy for a Dead Admiral" and "The Singing Butler". The lyrics of the track "Goodbye Jack Vettriano" were written by band member, Grant Campbell, while he was homesick, away in Rotterdam and on seeing a Vettriano print on a pub wall.
Vettriano became a fan of the band after hearing their first album, Happy Healthy Lucky Month, and was inspired by the lyrics of "Goodbye Jack Vettriano" to create a painting which featured as the cover of the band's second album, for which both Vettriano and Rankin have contributed spoken word pieces.
In May 2008, Vettriano collaborated with Formula One legend, Sir Jackie Stewart, on a triptych of paintings entitled Tension, Timing, Triumph - Monaco 1971. The paintings were unveiled by HSH Prince Albert of Monaco at a private reception at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco on 21 May 2008. The paintings will hang in Sir Jackie's private collection in the UK and the images have been published as a limited edition print, which both men have signed.
Following on from the previous year's event in Monaco, Vettriano was invited to create a series of paintings to celebrate the centenary of Tuiga, the Yacht Club of Monaco's flagship yacht. The paintings were first shown in an exhibition, Hommage à Tuiga, in Monaco and were part of a touring exhibition that opened at the Kirkcaldy Museum in Fife in March 2010.
Vettriano worked with the Italian photographer, Fredi Marcarini, on a series of photographs for the Homage A Tuiga exhibition. The two artists had met in Milan in November 2008, when Vettriano was invited by the Swan Group as guest of honour to their Gala Dinner to celebrate the launch of their new magazine, in part inspired by the women in Vettriano's paintings. Vettriano was interviewed for the Swan Group's 'Monsieur Magazine', for which Marcarini took a series of photographs of Vettriano in his London studio. The two artists styled a tripytch of portrait shots, which have been subsequently released as a special edition by Heartbreak Publishing.
In May 2011, Vettriano embraced his love for ballroom dancing and collaborated on the exhibition The Ballroom Spy with the photographer Jeanette Jones. Vettriano had been a fan of Jones's work for sometime and welcomed the opportunity to create new work on the dancing theme. His publishing company, Heartbreak Publishing, released a new limited edition, "Anniversary Waltz" for the exhibition.
In 2004 Vettriano set up a scholarship for St Andrew's University to fund a student who would not be able to attend university otherwise. The scholarship is awarded every four years, the first recipient of which began their studies in September 2004. The endowment follows his financial contribution towards refurbishing the Students Association's Old Union Coffee Bar in 2002 and his involvement in student fashion shows. He was made a Doctor of Letters by the university.
In September 2001, Vettriano donated a painting, Beautiful Dreamer to a charity auction, which was held at Sotheby's in aid of Help the Hospices. In 2008, a drawing he made of that subject sold for £22,000 at a charity auction in aid of the Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw Gallery in North Wales in July, helping to keep the gallery going.
In 2010, Vettriano helped to raise money for the charity The Elephant Family by participating in an auction of donated elephant sculptures and models. Vettriano's elephant, 'The Singing Butler Rides Again', was the highest bid for Lot of the night, selling to a telephone bidder for £155,000. The full auction raised over £4 million. In December 2010, Vettriano was asked by First Minister, Alex Salmond to create his official Christmas card "Let's Twist Again" which was sold at auction for the benefit of four Scottish charities in February at The Old Course Hotel in St. Andrews with the First Minister attending. With the painting and Limited Edition sales combined, just under £100,000 was raised for four Scottish charities.
British Airways asked if Vettriano would create a postcard as part of their campaign for Sports Relief. The postcard "Wish You Were Here" raised over £2000 for the charity.
Divorced from his first wife, Vettriano divides his time between homes in London, Kirkcaldy and Nice, France. In 2004 he was awarded the OBE. He has claimed inspiration for his paintings in "25 years of sexual misbehaviour". In 2010 he told The Independent "I live in a world of heartbreak... I just seem to be more creative when I'm in some kind of emotional distress", and said "It's been four years of soul-searching – nicotine, alcohol, anti-depressants, temazepam."
- Ewing, Sarah (14 August 2009). "Jack Vettriano: 'I've gone from hand-me-downs to Armani'". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "Vettriano gallery out of the frame". Edinburgh: Scotsman.com News. 2007-07-30. Retrieved 2008-05-09.[dead link]
- Simpson, Donna (11 February 2009). "Vettriano gesture of thanks". The Fife Free Press. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
- "Jack Vettriano: The poster boy of popular art". The Independent (London). 22 October 2010.
- "Artist Jack Vettriano fails to seduce buyers". The Scotsman. 24 April 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- Collins, Amy (July 2012). "The Singing Butler Did It". Vanity Fair.
- "Are there any Jack Vettriano paintings on display in London?". The Daily Telegraph. 28 July 2012.
- "Fife artist Jack Vettriano in national gallery first". BBC. 2011-02-10. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- Nicola Kalinsky (10 February 2011). "Analysis: 'Self portraits are traditionally very revealing'". The Scotsman. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- Phil Miller (11 February 2011). "Vettriano himself finally in frame at National Gallery". The Herald (Herald & Times Group). Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- The Ballroom Spy
- BBC coverage of Bristol opening
- The Singing Butler
- From Van Gogh to Vettriano'
- "The Singing Butler", The Scotsman.
- "Jack Vettriano retrospective exhibition begins", BBC News, 20 September 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
- Reynolds, Nigel (18 July 2007). "Jack Vettriano's £1.8m Bluebirds of happiness". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Cramb, Auslan (9 February 2012). "Artist Jack Vettriano admits drink driving and amphetamine possession". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "Painter brushes off 'copy' claims". BBC Scotland. 2005-10-03. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
- O'Brien, Catherine (2008-01-18). "My life as a masterpiece by actress Orla Brady". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
- Orla Brady
- Vettriano plans new painting after Fife band's love song hits right note - Scotsman.com News
- Jack Vettriano Scholarship 13 May 2004[dead link]
- Jack Vettriano To Be Awarded Honorary Degree 3 Mar 2003[dead link]
- http://www.artinfo.com/artists/upcomingworks/188805/jack-vettriano/[broken citation]
- 'The Singing Butler Rides Again'
- Reid, Melanie (2007-08-29). "Because I’m worth it". London: The Times. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
- Gordon Smith, W (October 1994). "Fallen Angels". Pavilion Books.
- Quinn, Anthony (June 2000). "Lovers and Other Strangers". Pavilion Books.
- Quinn, Anthony (October 2004). "Jack Vettriano: A Life". Pavilion Books.
Books on Vettriano
- Fallen Angels, Pavilion Books, October 1999 (ISBN 978-1-86205-364-9)
- Lovers and Other Strangers, text by Anthony Quinn, Pavilion Books on 30 October 2003 (ISBN 978-1-86205-630-5)
- Jack Vettriano: A Life, text by Anthony Quinn, Pavilion Books on 25 October 2004 (ISBN 978-1-86205-646-6). A reduced format of Jack Vettriano: A Life was published in 2007.
- Studio Life, foreword by Ian Rankin, photographs by Jillian Edelstein, text by Tom Rawstorne, Pavilion Books on 28 March 2008 (ISBN 978-1-86205-743-2)
- Women In Love, foreword by Jack Vettriano
- A Man's World, foreword by Jack Vettriano
- Jack Vettriano's official website
- Jack Vettriano's Official Publishing Website
- Jack Vettriano's new gallery