Jack Vettriano Private View: Days of Wine & Roses

28 Sep


What does one think when one receives an invite to Jack Vettriano’s first London exhibition in four years? Firstly: hell yes, secondly: where will I look when my dad asks me which was my favourite? In any case it turned out my dad was actually invited too, so that question was swiftly answered. Tonight my dad, the founder of Love Art London, Chris Pensa, and I joined the bustling body of bespectacled men and voluptuous women in the Heartbreak building on Bulstrode Street. There were many of his famous pieces, as prints for the most part – his Monaco racing pictures, the salacious brunettes and the postcard favourite, The Singing Butler – but then there were his new works: self portraits and Milan’s trams featuring the very lovely Francesca Pini. The relationships seemed to be slightly more tongue-in-cheek (perhaps down the his cheery admission of trying Temazepam, Prozac, nicotine, alcohol and Diazepam, among others, to bring him out of his 2 year ‘melancholic’ period) than his earlier dark, rather threatening mode. A serious shoe fetish became clear through the various rooms of his work too – who can’t empathise with that? 

But of course it was the image of the man inching his hand up a girl’s negligee that we ended up in front of, my father and I, jostled by the crowd. Luckily a friend dragged my dad off to meet Jack himself (apparently he used to watch Doctors while painting in the afternoons), and I was left before the man with the wandering hands to have a really good look. I’m no prude, but I came over a bit Mary Whitehouse – it made me a bit uneasy. Not because it was an explicit pose, but because it seemed like such a voyeur’s window into an intimate moment I felt like a peeping Tom. Of course, that’s the idea and whatever criticism may lie at Mr Vettriano’s feet, it’s a more interesting viewing experience when you question your own reasons for looking. 

(c) Jack Vettriano


It was then, as I tried to avoid the painting and look as though I was totally cool with its content, that I noticed the women around me. Mostly brunette, shapely and poured into bodycon dresses with a 50s vibe, I felt sure they were all his models surrounding us. Which made looking at the frisky pics that bit harder of course. But a friend assured me they weren’t models, more likely ‘auditionees’. I looked down at my slightly baggy leggings and flat boots (still recovering from LFW) and realised I had never been less like Vettriano-material in my sartorial life. Which was really rammed home as Dougray Scott sashayed past with an ‘Och Aye The Noo” or some such, with three muse-appropriate brunettes in hot pursuit. When did private views get so sexy? Where did the crushed velvet, mono-browed art fans go? And why didn’t I wear lipstick? 

(c) Jack Vettriano


4 Responses to “Jack Vettriano Private View: Days of Wine & Roses”

  1. Fiona - Notorious Kitsch September 29, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    I do love art that provokes a reaction rather than just ‘isn’t that nice or beautiful’. Of course I love beautiful art too, sounds like a great exhibition!

  2. livinginsingcity September 29, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    Would of loved to of went along to this! Looks great and I love the images. Totally agree with Fiona…

    • The Three Graces September 29, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

      You still can! It’s at Heartbreak til the end of October I believe xx

  3. carrie September 29, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    you are so funny..I wish I had been there last night, with you of course, isn’t it great to have a painting that makes you feel odd rather than ‘that will go so well with my wallpaper in the sitting room darling’

    a very funny review.

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