Jack Vettriano

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Jack Vettriano
Birth name Jack Hoggan
Born (1951-11-17) 17 November 1951 (age 62)
Methil, Fife, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Field Painting
Training Self taught
Movement Contemporary
Works

The Singing Butler (1992)
A Voyage Of Discovery (1992)
The Innocents (1993)
Bad Boy, Good Girl (1994)
After The Thrill Is Gone (1994)
And So to Bed (1996)
Dance Me To The End Of Love (1998)

Suddenly One Summer (2000)

Jack Vettriano OBE born Jack Hoggan (born 17 November 1951), is a Scottish painter. His 1992 painting, The Singing Butler, became a best selling image in Britain.

Early life[edit]

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.[1]

Vettriano left school at 16 and later became an apprentice mining engineer. For a short time in the late 1960s he 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5]

Career[edit]

In 1989, 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.[6] Further exhibitions followed in Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong and Johannesburg. 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 40 collectors from the UK flew out for the event and all 20 paintings were sold on the opening night.[7]

In 1996, Sir Terence Conran commissioned Vettriano to create a series of paintings for his new Bluebird Gastrodome in London. The seven paintings inspired by the life of Sir Malcolm Campbell hung there 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 auctioned 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.[8]

His easel paintings cost between £48,000 and £195,000 new.[9] According to The Guardian, he earns £500,000 a year in print royalties.[10] Vettriano's 1992 painting, The Singing Butler has been the best selling image in Britain.[9] 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.[11]

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.[2] 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 Heartbreak Publishing[9] and his own London gallery, also called Heartbreak, which exclusively represents him.[12] and also promotes younger artists.[9]

In March 2010, Days Of Wine And Roses was opened by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond at the Kirkcaldy Museum. The exhibition then transferred to Vettriano's gallery in London.[13]

On 24 March 2010, Sir Jackie Stewart presented Vettriano with the Great Scot of the Year Award. The award ceremony was held at the Boisdale 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.[14][15]

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 suggested the value of Vettriano's works needed reassessing.[8]

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.[16] Deputy director Nicola Kalinsky said Vettriano was "a figure we have wanted on our wall for a while for obvious reasons".[17] 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."[18]

In May 2011, 'The Ballroom Spy' exhibition opened at Vettriano's gallery Heartbreak - a new exhibition by Vettriano in collaboration with the photographer, Jeanette Jones.[19] In July 2011, the exhibition transferred to the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol, which was viewed as a controversial choice by many.[20][21]

In January 2012, menswear brand, Stefano Ricci, launched its Spring Summer 2012 collection with a campaign inspired by the work of Jack Vettriano. The SS 2012 catalogue, entitled 'Stefano Ricci - a tribute to Vettriano', featured images by Vettriano and photographic re-interpretations shot by Fredi Marcarini featuring clothes and accessories from the Ricci 2012 collection. A short film about the 2012 Vettriano campaign commemorated the collaboration.[22]

In February 2012, Vettriano's most famous painting, The Singing Butler[23] went on display at the Aberdeen Art Gallery as part of an exhibition entitled, 'From Van Gogh to Vettriano'.[24][25]

In September 2013, a major retrospective of Vettriano's work opened at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. 'Jack Vettriano: A Retrospective' ran until 23 February 2014 and featured over 100 works.[26]

Criticism[edit]

According to The Daily Telegraph he has been described as the Jeffrey Archer of the art world, a purveyor of "badly conceived soft porn",[27] and a painter of "dim erotica",[28] According to Vanity Fair, critics say Jack Vettriano paints brainless erotica.[9] Sandy Moffat, head of drawing and painting at Glasgow School of Art, said: "He can’t paint, he just colours in."[29] The Guardian's art critic Jonathan Jones, described Vettriano’s paintings as a group as "brainless" and said Vettriano "is not even an artist."[9] 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."[30]

In 2013 in The Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones wrote, "Vettriano fixes on fetishistic, stylish objects and paints them with a slick, empty panache" and "The world of Jack Vettriano is a crass male fantasy that might have come straight out of Money by Martin Amis".[31]

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."[32] 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."[5] 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."[29]

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,[33] using Irish actress Orla Brady for the 'lady in red.'[34]

Collaborations[edit]

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.[35] The lyrics of the track Goodbye Jack Vettriano were written by band member Grant Campbell after seeing a Vettriano print on a pub wall in Rotterdam. Vettriano became a fan of the band after hearing their first album, Happy Healthy Lucky Month, and was inspired to create a painting which featured as the cover of the band's second album, for which both Vettriano and Rankin contributed spoken word pieces.[35]

In May 2008, Vettriano collaborated with 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 Hôtel de Paris in Monaco on 21 May 2008. The originals hang in Stewart's private collection in the UK and the images have been published as a limited edition print.[36]

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 de Monaco's flagship yacht, which was built on the Clyde. The paintings were first shown in an exhibition, 'Homage à Tuiga', in Monaco and were part of a touring exhibition that opened at the Kirkcaldy Museum in Fife in March 2010.[37]

Vettriano worked with the Italian photographer Fredi Marcarini, both on a series of photographs for the 'Homage à Tuiga' exhibition and on a tripytch of portrait shots.[38] In May 2011, Vettriano collaborated on the exhibition 'The Ballroom Spy' with the photographer Jeanette Jones.[39]

Philanthropy[edit]

In 2004 Vettriano set up a scholarship for University of St Andrews to fund a student who would not be able to attend university otherwise. The scholarship is awarded every four years. 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.[40]

Vettriano has donated several works of art to be sold in aid of charities, including the Terrence Higgins Trust.[41] 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.[42] In 2008, a drawing he made of that subject sold at a charity auction in aid of the Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw Gallery in Llanbedrog, North Wales in July, helping to keep the gallery open.[43]

Vettriano donated a portrait of Zara Phillips MBE, entitled Olympia, to Sport Relief in 2008. The painting went to a charity fund-raising auction, selling at Bonhams for £36,000.[44] In 2010, Vettriano created a postcard – alongside names such as Tracey Emin and Florence Welch – as part of a British Airways campaign for Sport Relief.[45] The postcard raised over £2,000.[citation needed]

Also in 2010, Vettriano helped to raise money for the conservation movement 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, selling for £155,000.[46] Vettriano was also asked by First Minister, Alex Salmond to create his official Christmas card Let's Twist Again.[47] The original painting and limited-edition prints later sold at auction for the benefit of four Scottish charities, raising £86,000.[48]

Personal life[edit]

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".[28] 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", adding "It's been four years of soul-searching – nicotine, alcohol, anti-depressants, temazepam".[5]

He likes to gamble on horses, but only bets what he can afford to lose.[1] He has set up the Vettriano Trust, and plans to leave his money to it to do good work.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Ewing, Sarah (14 August 2009). "Jack Vettriano: 'I've gone from hand-me-downs to Armani'". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  2. ^ "Gloucestershire Festivals - Jack Vettriano". BBC. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  3. ^ Simpson, Donna (11 February 2009). "Vettriano gesture of thanks". The Fife Free Press. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  4. ^ a b c "Jack Vettriano: The poster boy of popular art". The Independent (London). 22 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Custom byline text:  Phil Miller (2013-09-13). "Jack Vettriano on his regrets". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  6. ^ "2003 | Jack Vettriano to be awarded honorary degree | University of St Andrews". St-andrews.ac.uk. 2003-03-03. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  7. ^ a b "Artist Jack Vettriano fails to seduce buyers". The Scotsman. 24 April 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Collins, Amy (July 2012). "The Singing Butler Did It". Vanity Fair. 
  9. ^ Mian Ridge (2005-10-31). "Art manual inspired me to create Singing Butler, Vettriano admits | UK news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  10. ^ "BBC News - Vettriano's Singing Butler in rare exhibition". Bbc.co.uk. 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  11. ^ "Are there any Jack Vettriano paintings on display in London?". The Daily Telegraph. 28 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Fife Council @fifecouncil (2010-03-30). "Days of Wine and Roses attracts record visitor numbers". fifedirect. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  13. ^ by admin (2010-02-23). "WNOL Westminster News Online » Leading names to appear at Great Scot Award". Wnol.info. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  14. ^ Gareth Rose (2010-02-28). "Scottish galleries snub Jack Vettriano". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  15. ^ "Fife artist Jack Vettriano in national gallery first". BBC. 2011-02-10. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  16. ^ Nicola Kalinsky (10 February 2011). "Analysis: 'Self portraits are traditionally very revealing'". The Scotsman. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  17. ^ Phil Miller (11 February 2011). "Vettriano himself finally in frame at National Gallery". The Herald (Herald & Times Group). Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "The Ballroom Spy". Jackvettriano.com. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  19. ^ "BBC coverage of Bristol opening". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  20. ^ http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/artist-dancing-joy-city-exhibition-launch/story-12856509-detail/story.html
  21. ^ "A Fitting Tribute: Stefano Ricci Honors Jack Vettriano". Elite Traveler. 2012-07-26. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  22. ^ "The Singing Butler". Scotsman.com. 2012-04-14. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  23. ^ From Van Gogh to Vettriano'
  24. ^ ""The Singing Butler", ''The Scotsman''". Scotsman.com. 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  25. ^ "Jack Vettriano retrospective exhibition begins", BBC News, 20 September 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  26. ^ Reynolds, Nigel (18 July 2007). "Jack Vettriano's £1.8m Bluebirds of happiness". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  27. ^ a b Cramb, Auslan (9 February 2012). "Artist Jack Vettriano admits drink driving and amphetamine possession". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  28. ^ a b "Artists urge recognition for Vettriano". The Scotsman. 2002-10-26. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  29. ^ "Art chiefs' e-mails paint poor picture of Vettriano". The Scotsman. 2005-02-10. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  30. ^ Jones, Jonathan (19 September 2013). "Jack Vettriano: just the Tom Jones of 21st-century art?". Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  31. ^ "Artists urge recognition for Vettriano", The Scotsman, 25 October 2002
  32. ^ "Painter brushes off 'copy' claims". BBC Scotland. 2005-10-03. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  33. ^ The Guardian, 4 October 2005, Vettriano brought to book by illustrator's manual
  34. ^ a b "Vettriano plans new painting after Fife band's love song hits right note - Scotsman.com News". News.scotsman.com. 2006-12-04. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  35. ^ Daily Telegraph "Jack Vettriano and Sir Jackie Stewart mark Monaco victory with paintings", 17 May 2008
  36. ^ "A study of rumba in black, Lapada
  37. ^ "Jack Vettriano's back with a whole new philosophy". The Scotsman. 2010-03-19. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  38. ^ "The Royal West of England Academy - Jack Vettriano and Jeanette Jones: The Ballroom Spy". RWA. 2011-08-31. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  39. ^ "2004 | Jack Vettriano scholarship | University of St Andrews". St-andrews.ac.uk. 2004-05-13. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  40. ^ "News: London Art Fair". artfacts.net. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  41. ^ "Jack Vettriano To Be Awarded Honorary Degree 3 Mar 2003". St-andrews.ac.uk. 2003-03-03. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  42. ^ "UK | Wales | Vettriano drawing to help gallery". BBC News. 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  43. ^ "In Pictures | In Pictures: Sport Relief auction". BBC News. 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  44. ^ John Sutherland. "Save our postcards | Travel". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  45. ^ "The star-studded elephant auction :: Harper's BAZAAR". Harpersbazaar.co.uk. 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  46. ^ "FM's Christmas Card". Scotland.gov.uk. 2010-12-24. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  47. ^ "BBC News - Salmond's Vettriano Christmas card raises £86,000". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 

Books[edit]

External links[edit]