Thursday, January 27, 2011


Jack Vettriano was born in Scotland in 1954. He left school at fifteen, became an apprentice mechanical engineer the following year and worked for five years in the Fife coalfields. Self taught, he began painting in his spare time at the age of 21.

Vettriano's works are popular. I know this because of all the posts on my blog my previous post about his garnered more traffic than all the others put together. I don't know what most other people see when they look at a Jack Vettriano but I see images that are pure film noir, almost pulp derived. Some of these paintings would not seem out of place beside the works of Norman Saunders or Rafael DeSoto. Any of these could easily fit on the cover of Black Mask or Spicy Detective.

Am I denigrating Vettriano's work by comparing him to the lowly pulp artists? I don't think so. I could compare him favourably to any of the Ashcan school of painters (the most famous of which was Edward Hopper).

But this is a blog about pulp as much as about art. So you tell me: Jack Vettriano -- art or illustration? Highbrow or lowbrow? Culture or Kitsch?

I've been here and there. I've drawn a lot of pictures. I've written a bit, too. I'm not good at this self-promotion thing. Look, you want to know about me? just visit these websites. Okay?


Paladin said...

Beautiful stuff. Any art featuring fedoras, suspenders, and stockings/garters instantly gets my attention.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Beut stuff!

cerebus660 said...

I love Vettriano's work! That distinction between "high" and "low" art has always seemed bogus to me. Good art is good art, irrespective of genre or marketplace, and can only be judged in context. But, if I was pushed, I'd say Vettriano's work is "illustration" but definitely informed by "high" art technique and sensibility.

BTW I've featured the artist on my blog @

Snarky Lady said...

I'm not an artist, know nothing about art, and am generally not all that interested in art--but I love Jack Vettriano. I love the narrative qualities to his paintings, and how he can mix realism and surrealism in the same image. As for high brow vs. low brow...I always think you get out what you put in. :)

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