Wales

Andrew Vicari the 'painter of kings' dies, aged 84

Andrew Vicari in front of his painting of Caernarfon Castle Image copyright Andrew Vicari

A Port Talbot-born artist, who painted some of the world's most famous people and was once Britain's 18th richest person, has died, aged 84.

Andrew Vicari became known as "the king of painters and painter of kings" after being commissioned to paint heads of state and Arabic royalty.

He had a fortune of £92m and owned properties in Cannes and Monte Carlo.

Mr Vicari died at Swansea' Morriston Hospital on Monday after a period of ill health.

His nephew Andrew Vaccari said his death will "leave a huge hole in our world" but is also a time to "reflect on his incredible life".

The people he painted included actress Sophia Loren, former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Monaco's Prince Rainier.

In 2001, he sold his collection of 125 paintings of the First Gulf War to Saudi Arabia's Prince Khaled for £17m.

Image copyright Andrew Vicari
Image caption A painting of Welsh MP Aneurin Bevan that Mr Vicari produced in 1958

After being educated at Neath Grammar School, Mr Vicari became the youngest person to win a scholarship to London's Slade School of Fine Art, where he was taught by Lucian Freud.

"He has lived all over the world, including France, Monaco and Saudi Arabia, where he became the official painted to the Saudi royal family," his nephew said.

"He changed the entire course of art in the Middle East where he has left a real legacy. There are three museums dedicated to his work."

Mr Vaccari said his uncle was passionate about being Welsh and the place he came from despite all his travelling.

He added: "He had the most incredible life and we would want to celebrate that at some point in the future.

"He really was the most extraordinary individual I have ever known."

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Media captionJulian Vaccari pays tribute to his uncle

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