Wednesday, 16 November 2016


THE SINGING BUTLER by Jack Vettriano


Jack Vettriano OBE (born 17 November 1951 in Scotland as Jack Hoggan). His 1992 painting, The Singing Butler, is the best selling Art Print in the UK. The original painting sold at auction for £744,800, in 2004, a record at the time for any Scottish painting and in fact for any painting ever sold in Scotland. Click on the links for information about this famous work and the fascinating artist that created it.

If you aren't familiar with this painting where have you been?

I own a print of "The Singing Butler" and it hung in my home for many years. I found it endlessly fascinating, from the dappled treatment of the wet sand, to the grey skies, to questions about the couple, their servants and how the artist came up with the idea. It is probably instrumental in me returning to painting after many years working with different media.

Jack Vettriano paints slightly nostalgic works that depict fairly generic people, often with a sexual overtone. His early work while he was finding his feet as an artist and struggling for income, was much less raunchy.

Here is my analysis, of "The Singing Butler" taking into account what I have discovered about creating work that sells. Firstly, I note that all the subjects are facing away from the viewer: This creates interest and curiosity. The unusual light and the beautiful sand are enhanced by the darkened sky which heightens the honey tones in the sand and hints at this taking place just before or after a storm. Servants! Ah yes wouldn't everyone love to have a couple of loyal and attentive servants to shelter their employers from the rain and mop their brow? There is something about paintings with umbrellas; perhaps a suggestion of protection from the raging world? Then there is dancing ... women love to dance and dream of having a partner to whisk her around the dance floor or any location, even a beach! Beaches are a winning formula for many artists even for me in my land locked desert region. Take a moment to reflect on the composition with its straight lines and triangles, which always lead focus back to the dancing couple, yet create a sense of peace and dynamism which keep the eye moving. Lastly the chosen colours fit well in most homes, mainly grey, black and white with naples yellow for warmth (and to match the Magnolia walls) and that all important touch of red without which the painting would be quite boring. I've blogged before about the importance of adding red to the focal point. All in all it's a master work and it's no wonder it has become so famous and made Jack Vettriano a star.

No comments:

Post a comment

I love to hear your views and connect on a personal level so feel free to say hi.

All work by Sea Dean protected by International Copyright - No printing, copying, electronic transfer or any form of duplication allowed without written permission from the Artist.