Fred Yates (25 July 1922 – 7 July 2008), born Frederick Joseph Yates, was an English artist. Fred Yates was a self-taught British artist, known for his plein-air paintings of the English landscape. Influenced by so-called naïve art, Yate’s work incorporated bold colors, loose brushwork, and child-like abstractions. 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.
Fred Yates was born in Urmston, Lancashire, England 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. His twin brother was killed during the failed attempt to capture the bridge at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden in September 1944.
After the war Yates took up painting on his return to Manchester - initially as a painter and decorator. It was whilst working in Manchester, and training to become a teacher, that Yates began painting - much in the vein of L. S. Lowry; although he strove for recognition in his own right, and achieved this in his later years. Yates has works in private collections in France, UK, Canada and the United States of America.
By 1970 Yates was living and working as a painter in Fowey, Cornwall, England. 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.
In the early 1990s 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 collected houses like people collect stamps and soon acquired several, each as individual as himself.
In his later years, he purchased a house in Drome, Rhône-Alpes, where the light and air were more suited to a man in his 80's. Despite his advanced age he continued to paint regularly and travel widely right up until his death. Fred also had a small home in Sablet
Yates died of a heart attack on returning to England in July 2008. A Fred Yates Society has been established to assist in preserving and promoting his work. Yates is buried in one of his favourite spots in Cornwall overlooking St Michael's Mount.
Fred Yates, John Martin, Francis Mallet, Fred Yates: C'est votre passion, monsieur! (London, White Lane Press, 2007)
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