Jack Vettriano – Artist Review

Vettriano prints are now highly popular in the UK and throughout the world.

Early Artwork

Jack Vettriano was born in Fife, Scotland in 1951, as Jack Hogan, and left school at a young age to be a mining engineer. His life started to change when he was given a set of watercolours as a present a few years later by a girlfriend. He began to teach himself to paint and in the early days concentrated on copying artists such as Monet. Nearly twenty years later he submitted two paintings to the Royal Scottish Academy. These were accepted and sold on the first day. Soon afterwards, he submitted further paintings to the Summer Exhibition at London’s Royal Academy.

Singing Butler

One painting that was not accepted at the Royal Academy, was the Singing Butler. This eventually sold for £3000, but has since become the most popular Vettriano print, seen in many places where there is artwork for sale and featured as wall art in living rooms everywhere. The original painting has since realised £750,000 at auction. There was a scandal over this painting when it was discovered that Vettriano had copied a part of the artwork from a teaching manual. This encouraged his critics, but his fans remained loyal.

Art Critics

Finding a Vettriano print or original in an art gallery is an arduous task. The art establishment does not, in general, like the artwork of Jack Vettriano. Many of the art critics hate his work. They say it is derivative and simple. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but we could suggest a few. He is self-taught, very popular in his own lifetime and paints in a traditional way, lacking the shock factor of some contemporary artists. Perhaps they just don’t like it. Of course, Monet, Hopper, Van Gogh, Picasso and Pollock are just a few of the artists who have attracted criticism in their lifetimes. Whether or not the big galleries should reflect popular taste, is probably another topic for discussion.

People’s Painter

Jack Vettriano was given the title of People’s Painter by the South Bank Show in 2004 when he also received the OBE. In the last twenty years his exhibitions have sold out in London and New York as well as many other cities. Original paintings are sold for thousands of pounds, but he probably makes more money from the sale of reproductions. Artwork for sale, in the form of Vettriano prints, can be purchased from outlets around the world and he is now one of the most popular artists. His artwork includes Dance Me to the End of Love, Elegy for a Dead Admiral, Along Came a Spider and Bluebird at Bonneville to name just a fraction. Vettriano enjoys the escapism of his art and his pictures often leave the viewer guessing as to what is actually going on, allowing them to invent their own story. Surely his traditional narrative is not out of fashion.

Vettriano prints can adorn any wall and make great gifts. Limited editions sell for hundreds of pounds or more but open edition prints can make for more affordable artwork.

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