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 Jack Vettriano  (1951 - )

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Lived/Active: Scotland/England      Known for: figure, genre, dancing scene painting, erotica

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Jack Hoggan is primarily known as Jack Vettriano

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Jack Vettriano was born in 1951 with the name Jack Hoggan. He is a Scottish painter and publisher and is known for paintings are reminiscent of the film noir genre, often with romantic or nude themes. Vettriano has studios in Scotland and London.

He grew up in the industrial seaside town of Methil, Fife, and his upbringing was in relatively spartan circumstances, with him taking many jobs as early as ten years old. Vettriano left school at age 16 and later became an apprentice mining engineer.  He did not take up painting as a hobby until the 1970s, when a girlfriend bought him a set of watercolours for his 21st birthday.  His earliest paintings, under his birth name "Jack Hoggan", were copies or pastiches of impressionist paintings, and his first painting was a copy of Monet's Poppy Fields. Much of his influence came from studying paintings at the Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery in neighbouring Kirkcaldy. In 1984, Vettriano first submitted his work to the Shell-sponsored art exhibition in the museum.

In 1987, at 36, Vettriano left his wife of eight years, Gail, and stepdaughter, and 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.

In 1988, he submitted two canvases for the Royal Scottish Academy annual show.  Further exhibitions followed in Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, and New York.

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.

In 1996, Sir Terence Conran commissioned Vettriano to create a series of paintings for his new Bluebird Club in London. The seven paintings inspired by the life of Sir Malcolm Campbell hung in the Club for ten years.

In October 2005, after the sale of the original of The Singing Butler, it came to light that Vettriano had used the artists' reference manual The Illustrator's Figure Reference Manual to form his figures, using Irish actress Orla Brady for the 'lady in red.'

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 21 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.

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 of Monaco's flagship yacht. The paintings were first shown in an exhibition, "Hommage à Tuiga", in Monaco but will be available to a much wider audience when they are shown as part of a touring exhibition that opened at the Kirkcaldy Museum in Fife in March 2010.

Vettriano worked with the Italian photographer, Fredi Marcarini, on a series of photographs for the "Homage A Tuiga" exhibition. The two artists had met in Milan in November 2008, when Vettriano was invited by the Swan Group as guest of honour to their Gala Dinner to celebrate the launch of their new magazine, in part inspired by the women in Vettriano's paintings. Vettriano was interviewed for the Swan Group's Monsieur Magazine, for which Marcarini took a series of photographs of Vettriano in his London studio. The two artists styled a tripytch of portrait shots, which have been subsequently released as a special edition.

In May 2011, Vettriano embraced his love for ballroom dancing and collaborated on the exhibition "The Ballroom Spy" with the photographer Jeanette Jones. Vettriano had been a fan of Jones work for sometime and welcomed the opportunity to create new work on the dancing theme. His publishing company, released a brand new Limited Edition, Anniversary Waltz for the exhibition.

Divorced from his first wife, Vettriano divides his time between homes in London, Kirkcaldy and Nice, France. He has claimed inspiration for his paintings in "25 years of sexual misbehaviour". 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.", and said "It's been four years of soul-searching – nicotine, alcohol, anti-depressants, temazepam,". In 2010 he said about relationships "Whenever someone stays for longer than two days, I get cabin fever" and that he loves shoe shopping with women. He likes to gamble on the horses, but only bets what he can afford to lose. He has set up the Vettriano Trust, and plans to leave his money to it to do good work.

On January 8, 2012 Vettriano was stopped while driving in Kirkcaldy, following anonymous reports of erratic driving. He smelt of drink and was slurring his words. In February 2012, Vettriano admitted drug possession and driving at twice the legal alcohol limit at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court. He was banned from driving for 18 months and fined £600 for the driving offense and £200 for class B drug possession. When stopped he told the officer "'You know who I am. We can sort this out." When he was searched at a police station, after failing a breath test, he was found in possession of a gram of speed with a street value of £30. Vettriano claimed that the amphetamine was cocaine.  It was his first offense, and his solicitor, John Gilbertson, said: “He could have walked and should have walked. Instead, he decided to take the car. It was a bad decision and a foolish decision. He has asked me to apologize to the court for that.”

According to The Daily Telegraph he has been described as the Jeffrey Archer of the art world, a purveyor of "badly conceived soft porn", and a painter of "dim erotica". According to Vanity Fair, critics say Jack Vettriano paints brainless erotica.  Sandy Moffat, head of drawing and painting at Glasgow School of Art, said: "He can’t paint, he just colours in." The Guardian's art critic Jonathan Jones, described Vettriano’s paintings as a group as “brainless” and said Vettriano “is not even an artist.” 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." In The Scotsman George Kerevan wrote "He suffers all the same criticisms of early French Impressionists: mere wallpaper, too simplistic in execution and subject, too obviously erotic."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." 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."

Source:
"Jack Vetrriano", Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Vettriano (Accessed 3/30/2013)


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