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Lovers and Other Strangers: Paintings By Jack Vettriano Hardcover – 2004
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The painter Jack Vettriano emerged form the unlikely background of the Scottish coalfields - unknown and untutored - and has seen his canvases hung in the Royal Scottish Academy. His first exhibition sold out, as did the second and he has since become Scotland's most successful contemporary artist. Vettriano's images are neo-realist - real in the sense that he portrays recognizable people in believable situations, yet heightened to that level of dramatic or romantic intensity which fueled the fiction of the Hollywood dream factory or the novels of Raymond Chandler or F. Scott Fitzgerald. They are tales without text, storyboards about love and lust, possession and longing, pursuit and conquest. He seems to understand perfectly the stylish sexiness and intrigue that occurs when high life and low life collide. His men are predators, gamblers - hard-edged but possibly soft-centred, Bogartian in period and attitude. His women are vulnerable, pliable, probably playthings if the price is right. And beyond the implied narrative of his paintings there is a curious remembrance of times past and lost, of squandered youth on blissful beaches. Critics have linked Vettriano with the bleak paintings of Hopper, the sleazy photographs of Brassai, yet he is unique, identifiable at fifty yards. Anthony Quinn has written an elegant biographical portrait of the man from childhood to present, encompassing his family, schooling and career as well as pausing at significant moments in his career.
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He has a cast of characters from the 40's, 50's and a few from the 60's. The are in situations that imply eros, but usually hint elegantly, much more subdued than the imagery of, for example, Cecily Brown or Marilyn Minter. The paintings always look like illustrations to a story he wants your mind to write.
Good quality illustrations, a great addition to the erotic part of my art book collection. This is my second book on Jack and his paintings. I have over a thousand art books.