Jack Vettriano: The Early Years retrospective at Kirkcaldy Galleries creates great impression on visitors

Visitors flocking to a retrospective by popular Fife artist Jack Vettriano are painting a positive picture of their experience.

By Fiona Dobie
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 4:30 pm

Feedback from those who have attended Jack: Vettriano: The Early Years at Kirkcaldy Galleries in its first month of opening reveals four out of five rank it as a five-star show.

A similar proportion of attendees said they would recommend the exhibition, which runs at the venue until October 23, to a friend or family member.

Visitors have given feedback on a variety of websites, and by filling in comment sheets at the exhibition, which is the first to focus on the artist’s early career.

Jack Vettriano at the exhibition in Kirkcaldy Galleries. Pic: Neil Hanna/OnFife

Three quarters of visitors rate the exhibition as five out of five for value for money, and 99 per cent say their customer service experience was 'great’ or ‘good’.

The Early Years retrospective finally opened its doors to the public on June 17 after a two year wait.

It had originally been due to open in September 2020 and was postponed twice due to the pandemic.

It has won praise from art critic Giles Sutherland, and visitors have been positive too.

Many have travelled long distances to see the show.

"The gallery is a hidden gem,” wrote one visitor.

"As as artist, it was the high spot of my year and in the top five exhibitions I have seen anywhere over the decades.”

Vettriano fans have lapped it up, while others have seen his work in a new light.

One visitor said: “Thank you to everyone for making the experience so enjoyable. I am a keen Jack Vettriano fan, so it was a joy for me to see so many of his works in one place.”

Another said: “It was well worth the admissions. My husband, who hadn’t initially been a huge admirer, was a lot more impressed when he saw the real actual paintings.”

Christine McLean, OnFife’s head of cultural heritage and wellbeing, said the exhibitions are introducing Kirkcaldy Galleries to a whole new audience and giving others a renewed sense of their worth.

She said: “We’re delighted to welcome new visitors from across the UK as well as Fifers already familiar with the wonderful collections and the work of local lad Jack Vettriano.

"Jack himself has said that it’s very fitting that Kirkcaldy is where he started and this is where he will end.

“So it’s a real ‘must see now’ exhibition.”

Among the feedback from visitors there were warm words for the exhibitions team at the Galleries too.

"The staff were so friendly and welcoming.

"Everyone we encountered was smiling and happy and very keen for us to enjoy our visit.”

And visitors have also praised the accompanying exhibition, Brushstrokes, which features an eclectic mix of art from the magnificent collection managed by OnFife.

Included in the array of paintings, which include many acclaimed artists, are several works that inspired Vettriano as he developed a passion for art in his early 20s.

One visitor said: “I came to see the Jack Vettriano show, which was great, but I was totally blown away by the art in the Brushstrokes exhibition.”

Another added: “I was so glad to see some of best works of art from the permanent collection – they are stunning and, when grouped together, they showcase what treasures the Gallery has.”