Painting by popular Scottish artist goes on show

26 November 2010

A painting by popular Scottish artist Jack Vettriano has been lent to the City of Aberdeen by the Donaldson Family Trust.

The Model and the Drifter, an original oil painting by Vettriano, is now on display at Aberdeen Art Gallery, Schoolhill.

The family trust has agreed to make the painting available for up to five years.

Created in 1995, the painting shows a female model with a cigarette in her hand, seated in the artist's studio and surrounded by other Vettriano paintings. Behind her is a partially visible picture - a lone male figure on a beach - entitled The Drifter.

Aberdeen city councillor Jennifer Stewart, whose notice of motion to the Education, Culture and Sport Committee led to the loan, said: "I am proud that Aberdeen Art Gallery is showing a work by one of Scotland's most significant artists and I would like to pay tribute to the family trust for making the loan possible. I am sure that this striking painting will generate a huge amount of interest and will draw very many people to the art gallery to see it."

Councillor Andy May, who was the committee's convener at the time the decision to go ahead with the loan was taken, said: " I was delighted to learn of this public-spirited gesture from a local family to make the loan of the painting. I believe that the public have already shown great interest in the painting and would encourage others to go along to our excellent art gallery to see the work. I am sure that they will not be disappointed."

Committee vice-convener Councillor Martin Greig said: "Since it was first established, Aberdeen Art Gallery has had a strong and distinctive policy of collecting contemporary British art. Contributions to the collection over the years have resulted in a marvellous treasure house of art. The gallery is now a world class store of cultural riches with a special focus on art in the UK."

Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums manager Christine Rew said: "I am grateful to the Donaldson Family Trust for making this generous loan to the Art Gallery."

Jack Vettriano OBE was born Jack Hoggan in Methil, Fife, in 1951 and left school at 16 to become a mining engineer. His painting activity was sparked by a 21st birthday gift from a girlfriend of a box of watercolour paints. He taught himself to paint and his earliest pictures were under the name Jack Hoggan. Much of his influence came from studying paintings at the Museum and Art Gallery in nearby Kirkcaldy.

Vettriano's breakthrough year was 1988 when he felt ready to display his paintings in public and submitted two canvasses for the Royal Scottish Academy annual show. Both paintings sold on the first day and Vettriano was approached by several galleries who wanted to sell his work.

His paintings are reminiscent of the film noir genre, often with romantic or nude themes. The painting on display at Aberdeen Art Gallery, titled The Model and the Drifter, was painted in 1995 and shows a female model with a cigarette in her hand, seated in the artist's studio, surrounded by other Vettriano paintings. Behind her is a partially visible picture - a lone male figure on a beach - entitled The Drifter. The soft curves of the female body contrast with the precise, sharply defined geometrical forms of the interior. The scene has a sense of quiet despair and, as is typical of Vettriano, a 'hidden story'.