Jack Vettriano Scotland’s Kitschiest Painter: £1.2m Collection Goes Under The Hammer

Paintings by the popular commercial artist Jack Vettriano are estimated to reach £1.2m when they are sold at auction, in Edinburgh, in March. Bonham’s are selling the lots consisting of 12 paintings which have never been offered before. The works, belong to an anonymous collector and include some of Vettriano best loved subjects.

Chris Brickley from Bonham’s said: “This is one of the most comprehensive collections of Vettriano’s work ever assembled, covering all the major periods of the artist’s career and giving a vivid insight into his artistic development. “This is the most important collection of Jack Vettriano’s work to appear at auction for the past 10 years. “It spans the period when the artist was producing some of his most recognisable and best-loved images. “Several of the paintings, for example Waltzers and Missing Man II are heavily reproduced in books about Vettriano and the very popular cards and ‘Athena’ posters which have made him a household name”

The painting ‘Waltzers’ is estimated at £200-300,000, depicting couples dancing under a night sky while The Road to Nowhere, estimated at £150-200,000, and Missing Man II, which could fetch up to £150,000, show figures on beaches. Not all the works are dated but the earliest one that is dated is 1992 and the latest 2004.

Born in Fife, Scotland in 1951, the self taught painter left school at sixteen to become a mining engineer. In his biography it is described that for his twenty-first birthday, a girlfriend gave him a set of watercolour paints and, from then on, he spent much of his spare time learning to paint. In 1989, he submitted two paintings to the Royal Scottish Academy’s annual exhibition; both were accepted and sold on the first day. The following year, an equally enthusiastic reaction greeted the three paintings, which he entered for the prestigious Summer Exhibition at London’s Royal Academy and from this series of events, his new life as an artist began.

Criticism of Vettriano’s work has been clearly divided by the serious and the popular press, in the UK. In very much the same way as L S Lowry, Vettriano has not been treated kindly or given an easy ride. 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”. Richard Calvocoressi former 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.” The Guardian’s art critic Jonathan Jones, described Vettriano’s paintings as “brainless”, Vettriano “is not even an artist.”

Artlyst places Vettriano’s work somewhere between Vladimir Tretchikoff, the creator of the ‘Green Lady’ and Margaret Keene the painter of Big Eyed childern. So sorry Jonathan, we love Kitsch!!! And besides you are the only critic standing that says Tracey Emin can draw!!!

His best known image, The Singing Butler, sold for £744,000 in 2004 and is one of the most reproduced in Britain. His retrospective exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow between September 2013 and February 2014, saw 123,000 people through the gate, making it the most visited art exhibition at the institution.


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