Jack Vettriano – a retrospective


I earlier wrote about the first Jack Vettriano retrospective which is currently being held at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum.  I absolutely recommend you go and see this show, it is wonderful, it is not about sex as as the press would lead you to believe, for me, it is about the ability of an artist to evoke an entire story in a single image, to create a narrative from a moment. If I could capture that with a camera I would be a very happy photographer indeed.

All the press on the exhibition was about the “Red Room”, ten images so potentially erotically charged that they are required to be exhibited separately. And as a result children were excluded from the exhibition as well. The room was, well, red, which actually detracted from the paintings (in my humble opinion) and a small hanging space that made people squish together and push each other around. But the pictures thenmselves? Too much has been written about “Game On”, which I actually don’t think is anywhere near Jack at the top of his game. “His Favourite Girl” – see earlier blog entry – is, for me, a beautiful study in form and light that has a deep underlying narrative.


Over 100 paintings, brought together from private collections into the first major retrospective. Impressive enough. And there are some wonderful video interviews with the artist spaced throughout the exhibition which give real context. Especially evocative is the interview of him saying how he used to come and draw inspiration from the Scottish Colourists at Kelvingrove, who now have a permanent exhibition there. He acknowledges the influence of Francis Cadell on his work, and it can be clearly seen in this painting “Woman in Black with Pearl”.

His quotes that relate to his inspirations are also enlightening: “Martin Scorsese wants to do an entire film. I just want to do one frame, one shot. And it’s for the viewer to decide how they got there and the viewer to decide what’s going to happen to them afterwards”.

The artist does guide with title, especially in one of my favourites from the exhibition “Yesterday’s Dreams”, shown below.

I am so inspired by this artist, I urge you, visit the exhibition and be inspired!

0141 884 2250




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