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No modern artist divides opinion like Jack Vettriano. It seems that the public cannot get enough of his work: it is estimated that he makes over £200,000 every year from posters and prints of his work, and celebrities such as Jack Nicholson, Robbie Coltrane and Terence Conran queue up to buy his work and sing his praises. The critical establishment, on the other hand, is less enthusiastic - prominent critics have described his work as 'soft porn' dismissing it with comments such as, 'he's welcome to paint,as long as nobody takes him seriously'. Is this merely snobbery and fear in action, or do the critics have a valid point?
Vettriano was born in 1951 in Methil, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland, just north of Edinburgh. Like most young men of the era, he left school at 16 to work in the local coalfields, although Vettriano himself is quick to point out that images of him 'lying on his side hewing coal is bloody nonsense'.