Jack Vettriano, The Singing Butler, 1992

This painting is one of Britain’s most popular art prints and critics do not like it. Having grown up in poverty, Vettriano isn’t about to paint the familiar scenes from his youth, but rather, he steers towards the romantic, the nostalgic. In this scene a maid and a butler help shelter their employers from the rain, as the couple dances on the beach. From the title we figure that the butler is the one providing the music.
Critics have been biting in their remarks about Vettriano’s work in general. In a 2013 Guardian article art critic Jonathon Jones wrote “Vettriano fixes on fetishistic, stylish objects and paints them with a slick, empty panache.” In the Independent Alice Jones writes that Vettrianos’ “women are sexual objects, frequently half naked and vulnerable, always in stockings and stilettos.” Vettriano surmises that his work is hated by the establishment because it does not romanticize poverty, something which art critics generally know nothing about.

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