MORE than 100 Jack Vettriano paintings drawn from private collections around the world will be part of the biggest-ever retrospective of his career later this year.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery, in Glasgow, has revealed that many of the works going on display from September will be reunited for the first time in almost 20 years.
The celebrated Fife artist - who has been notoriously snubbed over a major retrospective by the National Galleries of Scotland - said he was “deeply touched” at the approach by Kelvingrove.
Classic works such as Love (1998), Mad Dogs (1992), Long Time Gone (2006), Bluebird at Bonneville (1996) and The Billy Boys (1994) will be included in the exhibition.
It will also feature some of his most erotic paintings, including Game On (1999), The Parlour of Temptation (1996), An Imperfect Past (2000), Fetish (1998 ) and Night Geometry (1996).
Born as Jack Hoggan in St Andrews, Vettriano, who famously taught himself to paint, was brought up in the seaside town of Methil, in Fife.
He left school at 16 to become an apprentice mining engineer and also had a spell as a bingo caller before taking up painting when a then girlfriend bought him a set of watercolours for his 21st birthday.
After teaching himself by copying Caravaggio and Monet, he sold his first original pieces in the late 1980s.
In 1989, he submitted two paintings to the Royal Scottish Academy’s annual exhibition; both were accepted and sold on the first day. Vettriano became a full-time artist within two years.
He has since staged major exhibitions around the world in Edinburgh, London, New York and Hong Kong, with Sir Jackie Stewart and Zara Phillips among the portraits he has been commissioned for, and Jack Nicholson, Sir Alex Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane among the best-known collectors of his work.
Shunned by establishment
Although The Singing Butler, Vettriano’s most famous work, sold at auction to a private collector for £744.000 almost a decade ago, he was shunned for years by the Scottish arts establishment.
However the National Galleries of Scotland finally relented in December 2011 by unveiling a self-portrait, which is on long-term loan to the revamped Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
Vettriano, 61, said today: “It will not be without some considerable emotion that I will also be reunited with some of my own paintings; works that span 20 years of my career and many of which I have not seen in years. I’ve been very lucky that my works have found their way into a diverse range of private collections around the world over the years and I am most grateful to the owners for so kindly loaning their paintings back for this special exhibition.
“I was deeply touched when approached by Kelvingrove Art Gallery about staging a Retrospective exhibition for me, having long since been an admirer of their collections and overall ethos.
“Exhibiting in such majestic surroundings is a great honour and one for which I am extremely grateful. I look forward to spending some time in Glasgow and renewing my acquaintance with some of my favourite paintings in Kelvingrove’s collection – works by the likes of Van Gogh and the Scottish Colourists that, in many ways, inspired me to become an artist at the outset.”
The Scotsman revealed last year that Kelvingrove had reached agreement with Vettriano, who was awarded an OBE in 2003, to stage the biggest ever retrospective of his work.
The exhibition, which will run from 21 September-23 February, is expected to be one of the most popular shows in modern times at Kelvingrove, although it will have a £5 entry charge.
Glasgow Life, which runs the city’s main museums and galleries, said Kelvingrove, its flagship attraction, was the “perfect venue” for the exhibition.
Chair Archie Graham said: “It is a very great honour for Kelvingrove to be welcoming this unique retrospective of the career of Jack Vettriano. It is testament to how much his work is appreciated and loved that so many private owners are willing to lend us these paintings so we can tell the whole story of Jack Vettriano’s career for the first time.
“Kelvingrove currently displays a self-portrait by Jack Vettriano which has proved immensely popular among visitors so we are delighted to be extending this relationship between Scotland’s best loved artist and Glasgow’s most treasured attraction.”