One of the kindest and funniest of men, Fred Yates had a hearty sense of humour and a prolific temperament, making his works of art a joy to behold, and for him a joy to create. Fred had homes in Cornwall and in France in later years and worked hard in both places. His Lowry-esque and colourful paintings, full of people, animals, and naively constructed buildings were the work of a natural artist, largely self-trained but intelligently aware of social and political ideas.
Fred was born in Urmston, Manchester, serving in WWII in the Grenadier Guards. He began painting after the war when he was in a teacher training course back in Manchester, coming under the direct influence of L S Lowry. By 1970 he had moved to West Cornwall, working full-time as an artist and making friends with local artists, such as Theresa GILDER and others at the Penzance Art School. In the 1990s he decided to make his home, for at least most of each year, in France, and chose a small village, Rancon in the Haute-Vienne where he painted local scenes and people as in Cornwall. The first of several homes, he travelled back to Cornwall with some frequency where he also showed his work. His paintings, heavily laden with paint, were sometimes not quite dry, as they leapt off the walls into the hands of eager collectors.
Since his death in 2008, a huge surge of interest has been shown in his work, and this continues to the present (2011).
Painter in oils, thickly laid
works and access
Works include: Mousehole-cottages (oil on board) illus 30/9/1010 WH Lane; St Michael's Mount from the Artist's Garden (ill WHL Sept 2010); Grand Fete (oil on canvas) at Royal Cornwall Hospital
Public collections: Brighton & Hove Art Gallery; Torquay Art Gallery; Russell Coates Gallery, Bournemouth; Liverpool University, University of Warwick
1986: RCM & RIC Three Spires Festival Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture and Pottery, Truro (Opening of the RCM or County Art Gallery, by the Royal Institution of Cornwall)
NAG: Solo exhibition 1982; 1987
'Looking West' Exhibition (NAG and RCA) Part III, 1987
'A Century of Art in Cornwall, 1889-1989' Truro, 1989
WCAA Founding Art Auction (Donor) Queens Hotel, Penzance, April 2004
'the golden age of cornish art' 2008, Great Atlantic Arwenack St Gallery, Falmouth
'Different Ways of Seeing: Pearce, Gillchrest and Yates' Penlee House, Penzance, 17 Sept - 12 Nov 2011
misc further info
Personal: F Yates, John Martin, Francis Mallett (2007) Fred Yates: C'est votre passion, monsieur!, London, White Lane Press
Obituaries: Guardian Co (31 July 2008): Fred Yates 'Reclusive artist whose bold style brought him success late in life' by Francis Mallett; Independent Co (07-09-2008): 'Fred Yates, Self-styled 'happy Lowry'
Hardie (1995) 100 Years in Newlyn/Diary of a Gallery (photo likeness)
W H Lane Sale Cat (Sept 2010)
Public Catalogue Foundation (2007) Cornwall & Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Collections (illus p168)