Fred Yates British, 1922-2008

"One must suffer, a kind of black hole, but knowing there is always an opening, like birth from a womb and out comes the joy - a painting!"  


Fred Yates grew up in Urmston, a suburb of Manchester. He worked as an insurance clerk before serving in the Grenadier Guards in the second-world war. 


Untutored, but with tremendous self-discipline, Fred began to paint pictures of the rich industrial architecture of Manchester, the red brick terraces and the commotion and humour of street life. He subsequently enrolled on a teacher training course at Bournemouth College of Art and in 1950 won a travelling scholarship to Rome and Florence. 

He taught for twenty years battling continuously against artistic sophistication, for him, beauty resided in "simplicity and a child`s mind". In 1969 Fred gave up teaching and moved to Cornwall to enable him to devote all his energy to painting. While he still painted scenes remembered from his childhood in Manchester, he also worked on sunnier landscapes, new faces and activities that surrounded him. 


His idiosyncratic paintings are easily identified by their brilliant vibrant colour, oft4en squeezed straight from the tube.  The apparent naive style masks a sure skill in creating his wolrd of Manchester city life, Cornish villages and French landscapes, populated by his familiar cast of characters.


He moved to France in 2002 first to Sabelt then to La Motte Chalancon and Nyons, Provence and continued painting until well into his eighties.

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.