26th February 2009
Art Portfolio of Romsey celebrates the work of one of Britain’s most popular living artists, ‘The People’s Painter’, Jack Vettriano. The UK’s largest ever retrospective of Vettriano’s prints features an exceptional collection of five new signed limited editions taken from his latest series of paintings, three of which are based on a French Riviera theme. There will be many rare editions for sale including the hugely popular Along Came a Spider.
Jack Vettriano was born in Fife, Scotland in 1951 and left school at the age of 16 to become a mining engineer. Vettriano experimented with drawing figures in his teenage years, but was first encouraged to paint when a girlfriend bought him a set of paints at the age of 21.
Vettriano spent the next 14 years teaching himself to paint, gaining inspiration from his local town of Kirkcaldy and in particular the local art gallery, The Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery.
The turning point in Vettriano's career came in 1989 when two paintings were accepted for the Royal Scottish Academy's annual exhibition in Edinburgh. Both paintings were sold on the first day of the Exhibition and marked the beginning of Vettriano's new career as a full time artist. The following year, an equally enthusiastic reaction greeted the three paintings which he entered for the prestigious Summer Exhibition at London's Royal Academy. His new life as an artist began.
In November 1999, Vettriano's work was shown for the first time in New York, when twenty paintings were displayed at The Fifth Armory, Park Lane. Fifty collectors from the UK flew out for the opening night of the Fair and all twenty paintings were sold out within an hour of the opening. Jack Vettriano’s most recognisable painting, The Singing Butler, which was originally rejected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, sold at Sotheby’s in April 2004 for £744,500.
Vettriano has become a phenomena, and there has been a huge media interest in his life and work. In 2003 he was awarded an OBE for Services to the Visual Arts and was subject of a South Bank Show documentary, ‘Jack Vettriano: The People’s Painter’. He has also received an honorary degree from the University of St. Andrews.
In the last 25 years Jack Vettriano has had a number of sell out Exhibitions in Edinburgh, London, New York, Hong Kong and Johannesburg. His work is collected by the likes of Jack Nicholson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Tim Rice and Robbie Coltrane.
Loved by the public but often dismissed by the critics, major art galleries refuse to hang Vettriano’s paintings. Peter Howson, one of Scotland’s most respected living painters, attacks both art critics and curators for their scorn of Vettriano's work. "If Tracey Emin, Martin Creed and Damien Hirst can get into the Tate, the Jack Vettriano deserves to be in national collections as well - I think the elite really have a fear of him.”
Vettriano has commented “I'm often dragged into the debate about whether my work should be shown in public collections and whilst I feel that this is for others to decide… I'm delighted that fans of my paintings will now be able to see a body of work of which I'm very proud”.
Vettriano’s discovery of painting has led him to become one of the most popular artists of our time, and an inspirational figure to many. His figurative oil paintings present a nostalgic commentary, often with an air of romance and sensuality that has an almost universal appeal. His figures describe an intense state of affairs, creating a narrative which is left for the viewer to ponder.
Jack Vettriano divides his time between his homes in Fife, London and Nice.
“Lovers, Strangers and Stories” gives the public the chance to have their very own signed limited edition Vettriano. This is one art exhibition certainly not to be missed.
Jack Vettriano Current News
From 1994-2007, Vettriano was represented by Portland Gallery in London, but the relationship ended in June 2007. Since then, Vettriano has been focusing on a variety of private projects, including the launch of a new book. He has painted of a portrait of Zara Phillips as part of a charity fund-raising project for Sport Relief, the experience of which was captured in a documentary broadcast on BBC1 in March 2008.
In March 2009 Jack Vettriano is to loan his painting, Dancer in Emerald, to Kirkcaldy Museum & Art Gallery in Fife so that it may go on public display for the duration of Homecoming Scotland year. Originally conceived as the companion piece to his now famous work, The Singing Butler, this painting has not been on public view since 1992 when it was first exhibited and bought by a private collector. A signed, limited edition print of Dancer In Emerald has been published to mark Homecoming Scotland, a percentage of the sales proceeds of which will go to the Friends of Kirkcaldy Museums & Art Gallery charitable fund.
“Lovers, Strangers and Stories” begins with a private view on Friday 20th March from 6pm to 8pm, and runs until 28th March 2009.
Art Portfolio, 25 Latimer Street, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 8LA