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Andrew Vicari (born 20 April 1938) is a Welsh painter working in France who has established a career painting portraits of the rich and famous. Despite being largely unknown in his own country, as of 2004[update] Vicari was Britain's richest living painter.
Vicari was born in Port Talbot, Wales, to Italian parents. He was evacuated to Aberdare during World War II. He later attended Neath Grammar School for Boys. Aged 12 he won the Gold Medal for paintings at the Wales National Eisteddfod. Between 1951 and 1953 he studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art at University College, London (UCL) with Lucian Freud as a teacher. On graduation, Vicari started working in London as a portrait painter. Eschewing modern trends, Vicari has remained a figurative artist working in oil. His work is appreciated worldwide, especially in the Middle East where three museums are solely dedicated to his work.
In 1974 Vicari was appointed as the official painter to the King and Government of Saudi Arabia. In the following decades he painted many portraits of the Saudi royal family as well as scenes of Riyadh and Bedouin life. It is largely due to this patronage that Vicari owes his financial success. In 2001 he sold a collection of 125 paintings of the First Gulf War to Prince Khaled for £17 million.
However, in October 2014 it was reported Vicari had filed for bankruptcy and had been in poor health.
- Stuart Jeffries (16 November 2001). "'I am the king of painters'". The Guardian (G2). Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Robin Turner (24 October 2014). "Andrew Vicari now in bankruptcy proceedings". Western Mail. p. 5.