Julian E. Yates (1871-1953)

Born in Williams Mills, NC, Colonel Julian E. Yates received a Divinity degree from the University of Chicago. A military Chaplain who saw action in France duty during WWI, he eventually became Chief of Chaplains for the US Army. He retired in 1935.

During most of the following 18 years, Col. Yates and his wife divided their time between Washington, DC and 27 India Street, Nantucket, where Colonel Yates spent much of his time painting. Apparently self-taught, he produced a body of art significant to Nantucket’s the post-war summer colony genre. Soon enough, Yates became active in the newly founded Artists’ Association of Nantucket, exhibiting at the Kenneth Taylor Galleries and during AAN’s annual sidewalk sales to favorable review by the press. Col. Yates served as the organization’s first secretary and treasurer.

The artist’s preferred medium was oil. While primitively rendered, his realistic, and infinitely detailed paintings were justly appreciated for their apt expressions of daily life during the late 30’s to early 50’s. He recorded a unique period in the history of the summer colony that continues to be of interest today.

In 1961, The Lobster Pot Gallery presented a retrospective exhibition of Yates’ work. In 1999, Yates was prominently featured in the Nantucket Historical Association, Fair Street Gallery exhibit entitled, “The Originals,” in honor of the Artists’ Association’s 50th anniversary. Several of his paintings remain in the collection of Nantucket Historical Association. Yates is listed in Robert diCursio’s Art on Nantucket and in Who’s Who in American Art, with individual work(s?) cataloged in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture database.

by Carolyn Walsh; Ref: Picturing Nantucket/An Art History of the Island of Nantucket with Paintings from the Collection of the NHA, Michael A. Jehle; pub. 2000

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