"...I have eaten at my lovely restaurant. I arrived at 1.30pm, did two lovely paintings on canvas, walked back to the Hotel Meurice, changed, walked two thirds of a kilometre to Le Restaurant au Port de Nice. Ate, drank, met friends, drank again, and here I am – a lifetime in a day. Isn’t it wonderful...my dear old Dad never knew a day like I experience."
– Fred Yates
Frederick Joseph (Fred) Yates was born in Manchester in 1922. After serving in the Grenadier Guards in World War Two, he did not wish to return to work as an insurance clerk (his occupation before the War) and instead moved to Bournemouth, to enrol in a teacher-training course specialising in art.
Yates taught for twenty years in all, firstly in Bournemouth and later Brighton, but by the age of forty-seven decided to devote himself to his painting full time, and moved to Fowey in Cornwall in 1969.
Over several decades, like his fellow Mancunian L.S. Lowry, whom he greatly admired, Fred Yates painted scenes of a vanishing England – funfairs and beachgoers, holidays and carnivals, and life in various Cornish villages. During this time, he moved to different locations in Cornwall, deriving new inspiration from each move.
Moreover, he exhibited at the Penwith and Newlyn Gallery, and, although he did not participate, his commercial success was greatly aided at this time by the St. Ives 1939 – 1964 exhibition at the Tate Gallery.
Success allowed him to take painting trips to the South of France, which in turn led to an appreciation of the ‘joie de vivre’ of rural France. In the early 1990s, he moved to northern Provence for five years, returning briefly to Marazion in Cornwall, before returning in 1997 to settle permanently in the Limousin region of France; at this time he also bought a second property near Avignon.
Fred Yates was a dedicated, prolific artist, invariably painting every day, and enjoying a solitary lifestyle which allowed him freedom to dedicate his life to art. As well as exhibiting in Cornwall, he had a one man show in Geneva, exhibited at the Paris Salon, and from 1992 until his death had regular one man shows with his London dealer. He died in 2008.