The world’s most famous artists – from Henri Matisse to Jack Vettriano – have chosen to make Nice their home. In the third of a five-part blog series, we investigate what it is about this strip of sun-drenched coastline that inspired these great artists, and where they spent their time in the region.
Scotland’s most famous living artist, Jack Vettriano, was born in Fife in 1951. Growing up in humble circumstances, he only began to achieve fame at the age of 38. But how quickly his star ascended.
In 2004, Vettriano’s painting The Singing Butler sold in auction at Sotheby’s for a record £744,500. Known as the ‘people’s painter’ for the wide general appeal of his haunting images, Vettriano’s commissions have included royal and Olympic silver-medalist equestrian Zara Phillips and a series of works to celebrate the centenary of the Monaco Yacht Club in 2009.
Today, Vettriano is the world’s best-selling print artist. And 2014 tops this success off with serious artistic recognition: Glasgow’s esteemed Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum just held the his first retrospective.
Vettriano divides his time between his three homes in Kirkcaldy, London and Nice: the artist has owned an apartment overlooking the Baie des Anges for a decade. Coastal backdrops and imagery feature heavily in his paintings.
In a recent interview with local newspaper Riviera Reporter, Vettriano confides, “I’m in Nice as often as I can be; I find the climate, the light and the people-watching there such a pleasure and very inspiring… Ultimately, perhaps it’s the light down there – such a counterpoint to the grey days spent in London or Scotland.”
“Nice has a glamour to it that is underpinned with a slightly sleazy underbelly, if you look for it,” Vettriano continues, “and this leads to a rich seam of inspiration for me. Yes, I think I’ll always keep a studio there.”