Jack Vettriano: A Life

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Pavilion Books, Oct 28, 2004 - Art - 191 pages
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In December 2003 the painter Jack Vettriano, a coalminer’s son, met his parents off the train from Scotland on his way to collect an OBE. Over the last few years Vettriano has had a meteoric rise to fame – emerging from the unlikely background of the Scottish coalfields, unknown and untutored, he has become Scotland’s most successful and controversial contemporary artist. Appearing on posters and cards, mugs and umbrellas, prints of his work outsell Van Gogh, Dali and Monet and his paintings have been acquired by celebrities around the world. 'The Singing Butler', Britain's most reproduced painting, fetched a record £744,800 at auction in April 2004.


Vettriano’s images have an often mysterious narrative and are a gateway to an alluring yet sinister world. Daylight scenes of heady optimism, painted against backdrops of beaches and racetracks, are counterbalanced by more disquieting canvases of complex night-time liaisons in bars and clubs, bedrooms and ballrooms.
Both sexes are clearly styled – the men hard-edged and mysterious, the women seductive and enigmatic. Yet beneath the confident posturing, Vettriano recognizes our inherent human frailty, that there is no victor in the struggle between duplicity and desire. Men and women are ultimately trapped by the machinations of intense love and passion with little control over their destiny.


'Jack Vettriano' presents about thirty new images, as well as some recently surfaced works, plus the best of the paintings previously published in 'Lovers and Other Strangers' and 'Fallen Angels', also by Pavilion. In March 2004 Melvin Bragg’s The South Bank Show broadcast a programme dedicated to Jack entitled Jack Vettriano: The People’s Painter.
Reissued in smaller user-friendly format.

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Nice Coffee Table Book

User Review  - susanmata - Overstock.com

This book does a great job of capturing just about all of Vetriannos work in their full color. A great value for the price and looks great on my coffee table. Visitors seem to enjoy it as well. Read full review

Jack Vettriano

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Contemporary Scottish painter Jack Vettriano has become famous in the world art market; today, prints of his work outsell those by giants like Monet, Dali, and van Gogh. More realistic than abstract ... Read full review

About the author (2004)

Anthony Quinn, April 21, 1915 - June 3, 2001 Anthony Rudolph Oaxaca Quinn was born April 21, 1915 in Chihuahua, Mexico. Quinn and his parents crossed the border into El Paso, Texas and then continued on to California. His parents were migrant farm workers for a time before they finally settled in Los Angeles, and Quinn's father got a job working for major motion picture companies. Quinn never received a formal education and instead held various jobs. He worked as a street preacher and a musician for an evangelist, he was a boxer, studied to become a priest and an architect. The architect Frank Lloyd Wright told him to improve his speech if he planned on becoming an architect and so Quinn began taking acting lessons. At the age of 21, Quinn was cast in a Mae West play called "Clean Beds." His character was based on the actor John Barrymore and when Barrymore saw his performance, the two became fast friends, and Quinn was introduced to the world of acting. In 1936, Quinn got his first movie role, a silent part as a convict in the film "Parole." His first speaking part was as a Cheyenne warrior in Cecile B. DeMille's "Plainsmen," also in 1936. In the 30' and 40's, Quinn played many small roles, usually as some sort of ethnic character. He has played a Filipino soldier in "Back to Bataan," a Libyan guerilla in "Lion of the Dessert," a Spanish matador in "Blood and Sand," American Indians, pirates, a Basque guide in "The Passage," a Colombian bandit in "High Risk," and many Italians. He also played many historical figures such as Chief Crazy Horse in "They Died With Their Boots On" in 1941, Sheik Auda abu Tayi in Lawrence of Arabia in 1962 and Attila the Hun in "Attila" in 1954. Quinn attempted to direct a movie but it didn't turn out as well as he hoped. In the 50's and 60's, he was much sought after as an actor and made very good money, but none of his roles defined him so much as his role in "Zorba the Greek," the character he is best known for. In 1947, Quinn made his Broadway acting debut in "The Gentleman from Athens." From there he played Stanley Kowalski in the first touring company of "A Streetcar Named Desire," and then following Marlon Brando in a 1950 production of at City Center. After Quinn had achieved stardom, he came back to Broadway in 1960 to play Henry II in "Becket," opposite Laurence Olivier. In 1962 he appeared in "Tchin-Tchin" with Margaret Leighton, and in 1982, he revived hid role as Zorba in the musical and took it to Broadway. Quinn also appeared ina few live television shows such as "Danger," "Philco TV Playhouse" and "The Man and the City." In 1994 he appeared in a made for tv movie called "This Can't Be Love" with Katherine Hepburn. Before Quinn had resumed his role of Zorba though, he had already won the Academy Award for best supporting actor twice. He won in 1952 for his role as a Mexican revolutionary and brother to Emiliano Zapata in "Viva Zapata!" In 1956, he won again for his role as Paul Gauguin in "Lust for Life." Quinn was nominated for best actor for "Zorba the Greek," but lost. In 1954, a movie he appeared in called, "La Strada" won the award for best foreign film. He is also known for his artistry, having exhibited his paintings and sculptures across the globe. Anthony Quinn died on June 3, 2001 in Boston Massachusetts at the age of 86. He had appeared in over 130 movies in the course of his life.

Jack Vettriano is entirely self-taught. A Scotsman of Italian descent, he left school at sixteen to become a mining engineer working down the Fife coalfields. 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 teaching himself to paint. His first solo exhibition in Edinburgh was a sell-out and since then he has had solo exhibitions in London, Hong Kong and New York. Over the last twenty years, interest in Vettriano’s work has grown consistently. Vettriano’s best known painting, The Singing Butler, was sold at Sotheby’s for close to £750,000. He was awarded an OBE for Services to the Visual Arts. In 2013, a major twenty year Retrospective exhibition of Vettriano's work was staged at Kelvingrove art Gallery and Musuem in Glasgow. He lives in Edinburgh.

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