Unsuitable Girl


Jack Vettriano! What's not to like?

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Jack Vettriano comes from the same neck of the Scottish woods as I do, so I am particularly interested in his career. As a miners' son,  brought up in spartan circumstances, he has flown, from a beginning as a mining engineer, almost accidentally,  to fame and huge fortune through the medium of his painting. A girlfriend had given him a set of watercolours and he found his gift.  He is the most succesful Scottish painter ever. His exhibitions are sellouts.

The mystery is  that the art establishment still turns up its collective nose at his work.

When looking at Damien Hirst's  Shark in Formaldehyde, which I do rarely, and remember Tracy Emin's Unmade Bed, complete with used condoms, I marvel at the madness of the art world.

Because Saatchi bought up these 'works' , these artists became lionised and raved over. He made them.  But somehow, because the populace buys Vettriano's work, this renders him in some way unworthy of the art establishment's stamp of approval. Anything accessible is suspect.

In my view Vettriano's paintings have a narrative which immediately draws one in. A dead shark repels...what is the narrative?... 'Look and be disgusted' perhaps?

Vettriano's Dance Me to the End of Love,  The Singing Butler , Between Darkness and Dawn, for example, all capture moments which connect in myriad ways to fantasy, memories or hopes. They pull us in and we see our own humanity.  Look at Caravaggio's The Cardsharps and you'll feel that same depth of atmosphere and immediacy.

Now  there is to be a retrospective at the fabulous Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow. 

Having heard on the Today programme on Radio 4, (September 18th) his interview with John Humphries I see the knives are still out for him.  The Independent art critic for example lays it all bare, but for me he is what he is , a man doing what works, what he enjoys and what the world beats  a path to his doorsetp to buy.... so ...What's not to like?



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