Umbrellas - The Singing Butler

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Umbrellas 

The Singing Butler
Curated by Max Cantu-Lima

Jack Vettriano, The Singing Butler, 1992
A storm, brewing on the horizon, casts stark weather upon an enthusiastic yet oblivious couple. Careless, this high class duo dance along the beach before the tides wade in, within the security of their servants. The butler and maid compositionally shield the pair through their positioning, as well as with the umbrellas in their hands. Struggling to hold them up, the attendants dance along with the couple. They attempt to overcome the gale, as depicted by the arc of the umbrellas as well as the maid’s apron and her attempt to keep her hat on. Vettriano depicts the couple in a vulnerable state. The umbrellas provide a false sense of security; given that if it began to rain or the weather surprisingly turned on them, they would have shelter to hide under.

Painted by Scottish, self-taught artist Jack Hoggan in 1992, The Singing Butler failed to be accepted into the Royal Academy show. Hoggan changed his name to Jack Vettriano, then sold the painting for £744,500 in 2004, and now The Singing Butler is the most sold reproduction in Europe.

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