Born in Fife, Scotland in 1951, Jack Vettriano left school at sixteen to become a mining engineer. For his twenty-first birthday, a girlfriend gave him a set of watercolour paints and, from then on, he spent much of his spare time teaching himself to paint.
In 1989, he submitted two paintings to the Royal Scottish Academy's annual exhibition; both were accepted and sold on the first day. The following year, an equally enthusiastic reaction greeted the three paintings, which he entered for the prestigious Summer Exhibition at London's Royal Academy and his new life as an artist began from that point on. Over the last twenty years, interest in Vettriano's work has grown consistently. There have been sell-out solo exhibitions in Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong and New York. 2004 was an exceptional year in Vettriano's career; his best known painting, The Singing Butler was sold at Sotheby's for close to £750,000; he was awarded an OBE for Services to the Visual Arts and was the subject of a South Bank Show documentary, entitled 'Jack Vettriano: The People's Painter'.
From 1994-2007, Vettriano was represented by Portland Gallery in London but the relationship ended in June 2007. Since then, Vettriano has been focusing on a variety of private projects, including the launch of a new book, and painting of a portrait of Zara Phillips as part of a charity fundraising project for Sport Relief, the experience of which was captured in a documentary broadcast on BBC1 in March 2008. Vettriano divides his time between his homes in Fife, London and Nice.
In 2013, a major 20 Year Retrospective exhibition of Vettriano's work was held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow. The exhibition featured over 100 paintings, ranging in date from 1992 to 2012 and including all of Vettriano's most famous works, gathered in from private collections around the world. Over 136,000 people visited the exhibition during its 5-month run.