Vettriano's gesture of thanks

FIFE'S most famous painter has announced he will be lending one of his paintings to Kirkcaldy's art gallery for public display.

Jack Vettriano's 'Dancer in Emerald' will be brought to the Museum & Art Gallery for the duration of 2009 - and the artist has called the move a gesture of thanks after he spent countless hours studying paintings in the museum when he was younger.

It will be the first time the painting, originally conceived as the companion piece to Vettriano's most famous, 'The Singing Butler', has been on show in public since 1992 - it has hung in Vettriano's London studio since it was bought back from a private buyer in 2005.

Vettriano said: "I can't quite believe that it is 25 years since I first submitted work to the Shell-sponsored Fife Art exhibition which was held at Kirkcaldy Museum and which, in many respects, kick-started my career as an artist.

'' I'm as grateful now as I was then to be given the opportunity to show my work at the museum - exhibiting in such prestigious surroundings is a great honour for amateur and established artists alike.

"I wanted to do something special and now that the Singing Butler is in a private collection out of view, I thought my fans might like to see the painting that so closely relates to it."

Alice Pearson, who organises exhibitions across Fife's museums, said the art gallery is delighted Vettriano thought of them.

She told The Press: "It will be wonderful to have the painting here. Jack has said how important the museum was to him in the earlier days of his career.

"It will go on display from Valentine's Day, which is fantastic timing, so anyone not sure what to do can take a trip to the museum!"

Vettriano has also signed a limited edition print of the painting to mark Homecoming Scotland, from which a percentage of the sale proceeds will go to the Friends of Kirkcaldy Museums & Art Gallery charitable fund.

David Muncey, vice-chairman of the Friends, said Vettriano always has a pull in the town, and the painting and proceeds would go towards helping buy more pieces for the art gallery.

He said: " We had a very successful raffle of a Vettriano work a couple of years ago and raised a lot of money for Friends of the Museum, so we are very excited about having further support from Jack Vettriano."

The Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery is the only public gallery in Scotland to own some of Vettriano's work, and in what it describes as an unashamed nod to the romanticism of 'Dancer in Emerald', the new painting will be shown from Saturday.