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Girl with toy yacht in the shallows
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Jack Vettriano

Scottish ( b.1951 )

Girl with toy yacht in the shallows

  • Oil on board
  • Signed lower right

Image size 19.3 inches x 15.4 inches ( 49cm x 39cm )
Frame size 21.6 inches x 10.7 inches ( 55cm x 45.5cm )

£7,495.00

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Available for sale from Big Sky Fine Art; this original oil painting by Jack Vettriano under his given name Jack Hoggan, dating from the 1970s.
The work is presented and supplied in a sympathetic contemporary frame, mounted using conservation materials and behind non-reflective glass. The previous frame label has been retained and mounted on the rear of the backboard.

Jack Hoggan, more commonly recognised as Jack Vettriano, is Britain’s most popular contemporary artist. His best-known painting. ‘The Singing Butler,’ created in 1992, is Britain’s biggest selling art image – more than a million prints and posters have been sold worldwide. Self-taught and from a poor background, he remains a controversial figure in the art world who has always been more popular with the public than with art critics. Today, he is still active as an artist, successful in almost every sense and his original works command huge prices.

Jack Vettriano was born Jack Hoggan in Methil, Fife, Scotland in 1951. The family was poor and lived in a small cottage, where he had to share a bed with his brother. He did odd jobs from the age of 10 and had to give his father half his earnings. He dropped out of school at 16 to become an apprentice mining engineer.

For his 21st birthday his girlfriend gave him a set of watercolour paints, and this prompted him to take up painting as a hobby. From then on, he spent much of his spare time teaching himself to paint. Much of his influence came from studying paintings at the Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery. In 1984 he submitted his work to the Shell- sponsored art exhibition in the museum.

In 1987 be moved to Edinburgh and adopted the name Vettriano, taken from his mother’s Italian father, because he thought that sounded more fitting for an artist. He left his wife Gail and quit his job in educational research. He applied to study fine art at the University of Edinburgh, but his portfolio was rejected.

In 1989 he submitted two paintings to the Royal Scottish Academy’s annual exhibition; both were accepted and indeed both sold on the first day. The following year he entered the prestigious Summer Exhibition at London’s Royal Academy and these were greeted with equal enthusiasm. His career as an artist was well and truly launched.

Vettriano became progressively more successful and he had sell-out exhibitions in Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong and New York. In 1996 Sir Terence Conran commissioned Vettriano to create a series of paintings for his new Blue bird Gastrodome in London. The 7 paintings, inspired by the life of Sir Malcom Campbell, hung there for 10 years. When these paintings were sold by Sotheby’s in 2007 they raised over a million pounds. In 1999 Vettriano moved his studio to London, and exhibited 20 paintings at the International 20th Century Art Fair in New York; all had sold by the end of the first day.

Vettriano was awarded an OBE for Services to Visual Arts in 2003.

In 2004 Vettriano’s best known painting, ‘The Singing Butler’, has been the best- selling image in Britain. The original canvas was sold at Sotheby’s in 2004 for almost £750,000. The same year he was awarded a doctorate from St. Andrew’s University, and was the subject of a South Bank Show documentary, entitled ‘Jack Vettriano: The People’s Painter” and was featured on Desert Island Discs!

Also in 2004 Vettriano set up a scholarship for the University of St Andrews to fund a student who would not otherwise be able to attend university. This was just part of his long-term involvement in and funding of various projects at the University. He was later made a Doctor of Letters by the university. Vettriano has quietly done much other philanthropic work over the years, producing and donating many works of art to be sold in aid of charities, including Sport Relief, the Terrence Higgins Trust and Help the Hospices.

In 2008, Vettriano undertook a variety of private projects, including the launch of a
new book, Studio Life, and commissions to paint portraits of Sir Jackie Stewart and Zara Phillips, the latter of which was part of a charity fundraising project for
Sport Relief. The experience of this was captured in a documentary broadcast on
BBC1 in March 2008. He also collaborated on a triptych of paintings entitled ‘Tension, Timing, Triumph – Monaco 1971’. These paintings were unveiled by HSH Prince Albert of Monaco and are now in the private collection of Sir Jackie Stewart.

In 2009, Vettriano was commissioned by the Yacht Club of Monaco to create
a series of paintings to mark the centenary of their world-famous yacht, Tuiga. The
subsequent exhibition, ‘Homage a Tuiga‘, premiered in Monaco as part of Classic
Yacht Week in September 2009, before touring to the UK in 2010.

In 2010, an exhibition of over forty new paintings, ‘Days of Wine & Roses ‘, was officially opened at the Kirkcaldy Museum & Art Gallery in Fife, by First Minister, the Rt Hon Alex Salmond SNP before touring to London. In March 2010 Sir Jackie Stewart presented Vettriano with the Great Scot of the Year Award, which led to MSP Ted Brocklebank to file a Motion in Parliament calling for his contribution to Scottish culture to be recognised. In December 2011, Vettriano’s self-portrait, ‘The Weight’, went on long-term display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, when it re-opened after a major three-year refurbishment programme.

In 2012 the menswear brand Stefano Ricci launched its Spring Summer collection with a campaign inspired by the work of Jack Vettriano. The same year, ‘The Singing Butler’ went on display at the Aberdeen Art Gallery as part of an exhibition entitled ‘From Van Gogh to Vettriano’.

A major Retrospective exhibition to mark 20 Years of Vettriano’s career, ran at
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow from September 2013 until February 2014.

In 2015, a private collection of 12 works by Vettriano raised a total of £837,900 at an auction in Edinburgh. In 2017 he was one of three artists commissioned to paint portraits of Scottish comedian Billy Connolly to celebrate Connolly’s 75th birthday. These were then put on display in Glasgow’s People’s Gallery, while the images were transferred to murals in the centre of Glasgow. Vettriano’s mural was the subject of a BBC Scotland documentary broadcast in 2017. In 2018 30 of Vettriano’s paintings were showcased at Worthing’s Room with a View gallery, attracting much praise.

Vettriano’s figurative style is unmistakable and has been described as ‘a little bit Edward Hopper, a little bit Raymond Chandler.’ The work he produced between around 1990-96 took inspiration from the glamour of Hollywood and featured people in elegant forties or fifties clothing, possibly with a maid or butler in attendance. They were a feminine romantic vision of the ‘high life’. The work he has produced in more recent years has become more erotic, sometimes dark, even low life and shocking. Vettriano himself has never shirked from admitting that he plays out his sexual fantasies through his art. He has claimed inspiration for his paintings in “25 years of misbehaviour”. Some of his best-known works have been likened to stories, where the viewer fills in the narrative for themselves.

Vettriano has always endured an ambiguous relationship with art critics and the press; being self-taught led to him being sneered at by the art establishment for many years. When he moved from Scotland to London in 1999 it was mainly so that he could escape such intense scrutiny. Vettriano himself is a modest and pragmatic man, who has always been remarkably frank about his background, his rise to fame and his own tastes. It is a huge testimony to his skill and astute marketing that he has become one of the best-known painters in the world, mainly through the sale of reproductions. He is adored by millions, who care nothing for the opinions of critics, and has thus enjoyed a long and successful career. Devotee collectors include Terence Conran, Raymond Blanc (who has a Vettriano Suite at the Manoir aux Quat Saisons) Robbie Coltrane, Tim Rice, Jack Nicholson, Sir Alex Ferguson and Robbie Williams. Now with a string of formal accolades and work in national collections, he has confounded his critics and become very much part of the establishment.

Several books have been published about Vettriano’s career. In 2008 he launched Heartbreak Publishing and his own London gallery, also called Heartbreak, which exclusively represents him, but also promotes younger artists. Jack Vettriano Publishing Limited sells reproductions of his works in various forms. Indeed, it is said that although this artist made money from the sales of his originals, he became seriously rich by selling the rights to his works, which have been used around the world on postcards, posters and gifts. He has set up the Vettriano Trust and plans to leave his money to it to do good work.

This painting is signed ‘Jack Hoggan’ and is therefore part of the artist’s early portfolio, when he preferred to be known by his father’s name, Hoggan. Similar works have sold in auction in Edinburgh recently for almost £10,000. The subject and the style of this painting, depicting a young girl paddling in the sea with a toy yacht, is from those early, more innocent days when he was perfecting his craft. It is naïve, fresh and lovely and strikes a tone quite different from the more adult themed works that have been the mainstay of his later career. Moreover, it represents an affordable opportunity to own an original piece by this iconic contemporary Scottish artist.