Artist Biography - Fred Yates
Frederick Joseph Yates, was born in Urmston in 1922. He began his working life as an insurance clerk but this career was cut short by the Second World War, during which he served as a Grenadier Guards. He tragically lost his twin brother, who was killed during the failed attempt to capture the bridge at Arnhem in September 1944.
The artist had no formal education but pai...nted with a tremendous self-discipline. Fred began to paint the rich industrial architecture of Manchester - the red brick terraces and the commotion and humour of urban life in the city - a theme that continued throughout his career as an artist.
After the war Yates took up painting on his return to Manchester – initially as a painter and decorator. And it was whilst working in Manchester, and training to become a teacher, that Yates began painting – much in the vein of LS Lowry. The artwork of self-taught or naïve artists in Britain has always had a huge popular appeal. Sadly our national galleries have been painfully slow in recognising artists such as Yates. The artists significance and the work he produced appears on the marginalised fringes of British art.
By 1970 Yates was living and working in Cornwall, England, as a painter. In Cornwall, he painted almost exclusively outdoors – scenes of local village life, clifftop and beach scenes. It was around this period that Yates’ commercial success began after the “St Ives 1939-64” exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London. It was also around this time that Yates had a solo exhibition in Geneva. Although the landscape of Cornwall provided boundless inspiration, Yates also continued to paint scenes of Manchester.
Whatever his subject matter, Yates captured the essence of the beautiful everyday, if often fading sense of english life. For him, beauty resided in simplicity although he himself was one of the most sophisticated of naives. Yates' artwork is marked by lush, vivid colours - thick paint often squeezed straight from the tube and as such, wonderfully combines the simple and the sophisticated to create classic works.
In the early 1990’s Yates moved to France to a small village called Rancon in department 87, Haute-Vienne . Here he painted local scenes, one of his favorites being a small chapel in the woods just outside Rancon, called Saint-Sulpice. He both met and encouraged local artists and worked with British artists based in the area. He is now best known for his vibrant landscapes, swathed in radiant sunshine and joie de vivre, passionate about painting the daily lives and colourful characters around him. Yates unique style is easily recognisable and highly sought after by collectors.
Fred was a friendly, vibrant character. He befriended and encouraged local artists, working with British artists in the rural village in France. He built an extensive collection of houses as each house was as individual as himself.
Sadly the artist passed away in 2008 on his return to England. However he remained active and painted regularly up until the day he died. He was buried in one of his favourite spots in Cornwall.
His paintings are included in many private and public collections including Brighton and Hove Art Gallery, Liverpool University, the University of Warwick, Torquay Art Gallery and Russell Coates Gallery Bournemouth.