Unseen paintings from the days before fame on display at the Jack Vettriano exhibition


Previously unseen paintings by Jack Vettriano are shown in an exhibition in the gallery, where he sought inspiration as a young artist.

The exhibition at Kirkcaldy Galleries in Fife includes 12 oil paintings that he made in his early 20s and 30s, signed with his maiden name, Jack Hoggan.

The works that were created before his international success in the 1990s are shown alongside works that were sold for five- and six-figure sums.

Sweet Bird will be among the paintings on display (Jack Vettriano / PA)

It is the artist’s first retrospective since a major exhibition at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow in 2013, and the first to focus on his formative years and early career.

Fife’s Vettriano left school at 15 to become a mining engineer but started painting after a friend gave him a box of watercolors for his 21st birthday.

Born in 1951, the artist learned by copying the Old Masters, Impressionists, and Scottish artists and was inspired by work he saw in the Kirkcaldy Galleries run by the OnFife cultural charity.

Jack Vettriano started painting after being given a set of paints for his 21st birthday (Danny Lawson / PA)

(PA archive)

He said, “I grew up admiring the works of so many great Scottish painters in my then local gallery.

“Kirkcaldy has a great permanent collection and free entry, so I owe the beginning of my art education to the galleries.”

The artist later adopted his mother’s maiden name to mark a break with works sold under his family name, Hoggan.

A self-portrait is one of the works in the exhibition (Jack Vettriano / PA)

The new exhibition, which opens in June, will include one of two paintings Vettriano submitted for the Royal Scottish Academy’s annual exhibition in 1988.

Both paintings sold on day one, a turning point that inspired him to become a full-time artist.

The 57 private loans will include pieces such as Billy Boys, Valentine Rose and Bluebird at Bonneville, but two works from the OnFife collection, including a self-portrait, will also be on view.

The Billy Boys is one of Vetrriano’s well-known works (Jack Vettriano / PA)

OnFife Exhibition Curator Alice Pearson said, “This is the first time Jack has agreed to show only hobby painting alongside later works that have sold out shows in London and New York.

“The exhibition will highlight the variety of subjects and styles that Jack has tackled in learning his craft, and gives him the confidence and technical ability to develop his own identifiable style.”

Also included is Long Time Gone, set against the backdrop of the now demolished Methil power plant, a once famous Fife landmark.

The exhibition, which covers the artist’s career up to 2000, was originally scheduled for 2019 but has been postponed twice due to Covid-19 restrictions.


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