"I could turn out an abstract painting for you but it wouldn't be coming from the heart. What I paint is what moves me." - Jack Vettriano.
He is known as one of Scotland's most successful living artists, with a career spanning well over three decades and a catalogue of oil paintings which are still so highly regarded today.
One particular work of art that I wanted to hone in on, from Jack Vettriano's plethora of astounding works of art, is the truly remarkable 2008 painting titled 'Blades'
'Blades' got its first debut to the public back in 2010, when it was part of the memorable 'Days of Wine And Roses' exhibition. The exhibition featured a total of 41 oil paintings inspired by Vettriano's visits to Milan and the French Riviera, alongside some of his signature darker interiors and was held at both his hometown of Kirkcaldy at the Museum and Art gallery and at his own Heartbreak Gallery in London. The exhibition was a huge success and 'Blades' was number 23 in the catalogue. After this the work seemed to go back to being part of Jack's private collection and then sold on to a private collector, however there was a limited edition print of the same work released the same year that was quick to sell out. The print also featured in the Retrospective Print Exhibition, held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, 21st September 2013 - 23rd February 2014.
This particular painting sees a young carefree woman gliding along the beach promenade in a pair of rollerblades, with the crystal blue waters behind her. You can feel the movement in the work, yet the location still appears to be incredibly serene. The image appears to be inspired by the surroundings of the French Riviera, as Jack has owned an apartment overlooking the beautiful Baie des Anges for almost two decades. A quick google search of the area and it really comes as no surprise why this stunning scenery Jack wakes up to everyday has so heavily influenced a number of his paintings over the years.
Vettriano states: “I’m in Nice as often as I can be; I find the climate, the light and the people-watching there such a pleasure and very inspiring. I’d like to think I’m following in the footsteps of other Scottish artists who discovered the French Riviera and I can certainly vouch for the appeal.”
It is even more apparent that the sights have led to the creation of works like this when we consider the sign above the bladers head. The ‘Sport’banner appears to be a section of the signboard for the truly stunning Beau Rivage Public Beach, Nice.
As stated above, one of Jack Vettriano’s simple pleasures during his time in Nice is to people watch – so could this female be a complete stranger, who passed his eye and made such an impact in a fleeting moment... or could she be something more?
Vettriano says: The paintings I’ve created in the South of France have been entirely inspired by the hours spent people-watching and enjoying the new sights, colours and light down there. The people in my paintings are usually friends or lovers as I find it easiest to work with people I know well.
So although these figures may begin as people as complete strangers, by the time Jack puts paintbrush to canvas – they have intertwined with what he knows best, with elements and memories of past love interests seeping into his creative flow and inventing new characters. Some have speculated that this lady skating down the promenade may not be unfamiliar to Jack Vettriano at all, but in fact an ex-lover of his named Maggie Millar. Maggie and Jack met after she interviewed him for the local newspaper she worked for in Fife and after, the two began a romance (or an affair as many would see it as Maggie was still married at the time.) They spent two years together and Maggie even moved her life to France to be with Jack but alas, it was just not meant to be and she soon moved back to Scotland. During their time together however, Maggie Millar became a muse for Vettriano and featured in several of his works - most of these have never been confirmed. The similarities between the two are uncanny, so it would be unwise to rule Maggie being the focus of this work or at the very least, aspects of her and their relationship influencing it.
Jack Vettriano 'A Very Married Woman' featuring Maggie Millar
When I first saw this painting I was immediately reminded of the vintage French travel posters – with their beautiful females surrounded by blue skies and sunning themselves on the yellow beaches of Nice.
It may not come as a surprise to those who are so familiar with the work of Vettriano, as his paintings are so often motivated by art deco features, a romantic and melancholic view of the past and, of course, women.
In today's times, when Jack Vettriano originals are so rarely crop up on the current market - we are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase this special work and give our collectors the rare opportunity to not only see an original painting in the fles, but also the possibility of owning it.
This will be on display in our Edinburgh gallery very soon - but for now if you have any further questions about 'Blades' then please get in touch with us today by calling us on 0131 285 0695 or emailing us at email@example.com