Jack Vettriano grew up in the industrial seaside town of Methil, Fife. He was raised in poverty, and lived with his mother, father and older brother in a spartan miner’s cottage, sharing a bed with his brother and wearing hand-me-down clothes. From the age of 10, his father sent him out to earn money. His father took half his earnings. Vettriano left school at 16.
Much of his art education came from studying paintings at the Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery.
It is fair to say that Vettriano is controversial. Professional art critics do not seem to like his work, but the public does. He is one of at least three modern British artists to make a great deal of money from his works.
In 1989 Vettriano had two canvases in the Royal Scottish Academy annual show. Both paintings sold on the first day and Vettriano was approached by several galleries. Further exhibitions followed in Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong and Johannesburg. In November 1999, Vettriano’s work was shown for the first time in New York City, when 21 paintings were displayed at The International 20th Century Arts Fair at The Armory. More than 40 collectors from the UK flew out for the event and 20 paintings were sold on the opening night.
His easel paintings cost between £48,000 and £195,000 new. According to The Guardian he earns £500,000 a year in print royalties. Vettriano's 1992 painting, The Singing Butler, has been the best-selling image in Britain. On 21 April 2004 the original canvas of The Singing Butler sold at auction for £744,500. It had been rejected in 1992 by the Royal Academy summer exhibition.
In February 2011, it was announced that Vettriano's self-portrait The Weight would be displayed at the re-opened Scottish National Portrait Gallery from November 2011, the first time he had exhibited at a national gallery. Deputy director Nicola Kalinsky said Vettriano was "a figure we have wanted on our wall for a while for obvious reasons". First Minister, Alex Salmond said of Vettriano, "He is a wonderful artist of considerable talent and achievement and this is a magnificent tribute to the special place he holds in the hearts of people in Scotland."
In September 2013, a major retrospective of Vettriano's work opened at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. 'Jack Vettriano: A Retrospective' ran until 23 February 2014 and featured over 100 works.
- Fallen Angels, edited by W. Gordon Smith, Pavilion Books, 1999. ISBN 978-1-86205-364-9
- Lovers and other Sostrangers, text by Anthony Quinn, Pavilion Books, 2003. ISBN 978-1-86205-630-5
- Jack Vettriano: a life, text by Anthony Quinn, Pavilion Books 2004. ISBN 978-1-86205-646-6 (A reduced format version was published in 2007)
- Studio Life, foreword by Ian Rankin, photographs by Jillian Edelstein, text by Tom Rawstorne, Pavilion Books, 2008. ISBN 978-1-86205-743-2.
- Women in Love, Pavilion Books, 2009. ISBN 978-1-86205-855-2
- A Man's World, Pavilion Books, 2009 ISBN 978-1-86205-856-9
- Ewing, Sarah (14 August 2009). "Jack Vettriano: 'I've gone from hand-me-downs to Armani'". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- see Damien Hirst and Andrew Vicari
- Custom byline text: Phil Miller (13 September 2013). "Jack Vettriano on his regrets". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- "2003 | Jack Vettriano to be awarded honorary degree | University of St Andrews". St-andrews.ac.uk. 3 March 2003. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- Collins, Amy (July 2012). "The Singing Butler Did It". Vanity Fair.
- Mian Ridge (31 October 2005). "Art manual inspired me to create Singing Butler, Vettriano admits | UK news". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- "BBC News - Vettriano's Singing Butler in rare exhibition". Bbc.co.uk. 4 February 2012. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- Fife Council @fifecouncil (30 March 2010). "Days of Wine and Roses attracts record visitor numbers". fifedirect. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- "Fife artist Jack Vettriano in national gallery first". BBC. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- Nicola Kalinsky (10 February 2011). "Analysis: 'Self portraits are traditionally very revealing'". The Scotsman. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- Phil Miller (11 February 2011). "Vettriano himself finally in frame at National Gallery". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- "Jack Vettriano retrospective exhibition begins", BBC News, 20 September 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-19.