Tension, Timing, Triumph - Monaco 1971
This triptych was a collaboration between Vettriano and Formula One legend Sir Jackie Stewart. The paintings were unveiled by HSH Prince Albert of Monaco at a private reception at the Hotel de Paris on May 21st 2008.
Sir Jackie Stewart commented: “Jack Vettriano is an extremely important Scottish artist, who is recognised around the world. It is a great honor for both Helen and I to be portrayed by Jack in such a graphic and romantic fashion, and in capturing what was one of the most important victories of my career.”
The oil on canvas original paintings now hang in Stewart's private collection. This limited edition print is hand-signed by both Jack Vettriano and Sir Jackie.
The paintings tell the story of Stewart's third victory at Monaco and commemorate an era in which the Scot became Formula One World Champion three times.
Each painting captures a moment in time during the day of the race:
The story begins with Tension, which shows Stewart prior to the start of the race, focussing on the great challenge ahead. Wearing his iconic black cap and dark sunglasses, the Scot is shown striding purposefully towards the starting grid; in his heavy bag is his all important, trademark tartan helmet.
The second painting, Timing, shows Stewart's wife, Helen, dressed in black and holding a stop-watch, anxiously recording her husband's lap times at the side of the circuit.
The central painting, Triumph, concludes the story when the couple are reunited in an emotional embrace at the foot of the winner’s podium after the race. In the foreground, Stewart's distinctive blue Tyrrell car is parked. Waiting at the top of the stairs are Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.
"Looking through the archive photography and footage brought back my own memories of just how iconic the Stewarts were -- from the company they kept to the stylish look that they made their own, they really were the 'it' couple of their day. I remember wanting a pair of those shades and no man of my generation could have resisted a woman like Helen Stewart.
'There’s a sense of romance in risk and danger, which is very compelling and researching ideas for my paintings made me realise just how different Formula One was in Jackie’s era. I was astonished to be reminded that the cars were, as Jackie put it, “petrol tanks on wheels” and it really touched me to see just how involved the wives and girlfriends were in the whole process of the race. To see footage of Helen and the other wives and girlfriends recording lap times and keeping charts so that the information could be relayed to the drivers by mechanics on hand held boards, seems incredible now.
"What those courageous drivers risked back then defies belief but as an artist what interested me most was the love story that has spanned this astonishing sporting career. It is this, the romance, which I hope I have captured in these three paintings."