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>>>>>Jack Vettriano

Jack Vettriano

Jack Vettriano, OBE born Jack Hoggan (17 November 1951, Fife, Scotland, UK), is a Scottish painter. Jack Vettriano grew up in the industrial seaside town of Methil, Fife. He left school at 16 and later became an apprentice mining engineer. He took up painting as a hobby in his twenties. His earliest paintings, under the name “Jack Hoggan”, were copies or pastiches of impressionist paintings – his first painting was a copy of Monet’s Poppy Fields. Vettriano only took up painting as a hobby in the 1970s, when his girlfriend bought him a set of watercolours for his 21st birthday. Finding his artistic talent, it was 14 years before he felt they were ready to show. Vettriano’s breakthrough year was 1988, when he felt ready to display his paintings in public and 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 other work. The success and attention contributed to the breakdown of his first marriage and he moved to Edinburgh, changing his name to Vettriano, adding an “a” to his mother’s maiden name.

Further successful exhibitions followed in Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, and New York. His paintings are reminiscent of the film noir genre, often with romantic or nude themes.

Although his work is generally dismissed by art critics as being vulgar and devoid of imagination, he is one of the most commercially successful living artists. His original paintings now regularly fetch six figure prices, but he is thought to make more money from the sale of reproductions. According to The Guardian, he earns £500,000 a year in print royalties. Each year a new set of limited edition prints are published, and his most popular work, The Singing Butler, sells more posters and postcards than any other artist in the UK. On 21 April 2004 the original canvas of The Singing Butler sold at auction for £744,500 — in stark contrast to 1992 when Vettriano painted the picture and submitted it for inclusion in the Royal Academy summer show, only to be rejected.

In November 1999, Vettriano’s work was shown for the first time in New York, when twenty paintings were displayed at The International 20th Century Arts Fair at The Armory.

A series of paintings by Vettriano were sold for a total of more than £1m on 30 August 2007. The most expensive being Bluebird at Bonneville, bought for £468,000 at a Sotheby’s auction held at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire. The painting had been part of a series commissioned by restaurateur Sir Terence Conran for the Bluebird Club.

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 2008 Vettriano painted a portrait of Zara Phillips MBE (horse rider and granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II) as part of a charity fund-raising project for Sport Relief 2008. The painting is entitled ‘Olympia’ and it is to be auctioned later this year at a charity fund-raising auction along with works by Sir Peter Blake, Rankin, Gerald Scarfe and Stella Vine. All proceeds from the charity auction will go to will go to Sport Relief, an initiative of Comic Relief, a charity registered in England no. 326568. The portraits project was featured in a BBC programme Sport Portraits shown on March 10, 2008.

In October 2005, after the original of The Singing Butler sold for £740,000, research revealed that Vettriano had used the DIY-painting artists’ reference manual The Illustrator’s Figure Reference Manual to form his figures, using a then unknown pose by London based struggling Irish actress Orla Brady for the ‘lady in red.’ This revelation did little to tarnish Vettriano’s reputation, however, as he has never denied being self-taught, and later admitted that in his early years he didn’t have the financial resources to hire models.

Alongside fellow Fifer, author Ian Rankin, Vettriano made a cameo appearance in a video made with the 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, whilst 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 will feature as the cover of the band’s forthcoming, second album which is due out in early 2008 and 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 21st 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.

In January 2008 Vettriano donated a painting, ‘Study for Bluebird at Bonneville’, to a charity auction at the London Art Fair to raise funds for the Terrence Higgins Trust. The painting, which was one of the studies for the iconic painting ‘Bluebird at Bonneville’, was sold for £32,000 and was the highest achieving lot of the night.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 will be 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.

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