Tales of Love and Other Stories

The Edinburgh Gallery played host to ‘Tales of Love and other Stories’ between 15th May & 6 June 1992. It was significant in the artist’s career being his first solo exhibition. In the foreword of the catalogue, Jack writes “It was a long and sometimes difficult journey but I did so enjoy the experience” Gently taking his friend’s arm he whispers with such assurance and affection, “Come lets walk along the beach and let me tell you tales of love and other stories”.
Also in the catalogue is an eloquent three-page insight into the origins of the artist and a glowing review of his work by W Gordon Smith, art correspondent for the Scotland On Sunday. Writing with no small amount of admiration for Vettriano’s artistic talent, he wrote “if it is a wonder that he has managed to teach himself drawing, perspective, the manipulation of paint in veiled glazes and meaningful shadows, the music of colour and the dramatic focus of compositions, it is even more remarkable that he has evolved such an identifiable personal style”.
The exhibition comprised thirty-six paintings and included such classics as ‘Waltzers’ and The ‘Amateur Philosophers’. The body of work covers a variety of scenes ranging from his trademark beaches and brollies in ‘The Picnic Party’ to the intimacy and romance of ‘Ae Fond Kiss’. It featured three different versions of ‘A Kind of Loving’ where a male figure looks on with adoration to an array of interestingly attired tailor’s dummies. The complicated relationships which Jack depicts are confirmed with no fewer than three paintings which feature ‘betrayal’ in the title. One of the more interesting titles in Jack’s body of work is ‘Queen Of The Fan-dan’ – the Scots abbreviation of ‘Fancy Dan’ meaning a flashy ostentatious person and used mainly as a light hearted insult. The scene shows a lady resplendent in red, the obligatory cigarette in hand providing a light for a smart suited male with a three pronged silver candelabra. ‘The City Café’ is an Edinburgh diner which is a longstanding favourite with locals and visitors to the city alike. The lady in blue has the same arrowed heart tattoo on her arm as the lady in ‘Betrayal, No Turning Back’. ‘A Test of True Love’ is a modern homage to Vincent Van Gogh who’s overzealous romantic pursuit of his recently widowed cousin Kee saw him hold his left hand in the flame of a lamp with the words ‘Let me see her for as long as I can keep my hand in the flame.