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Artist Yankel Feather in his studio in Brighton

Yankel Feather believed he was “born to be an artist” and decided that he “wanted to alter things, to their betterment of course.” Which is precisely what he has spent the majority of his full and flourishing life doing.

Born in Liverpool in 1920 to Austro-Russian parents as one of seven, Yankel had a tough childhood and was orphaned by 14. As children were ‘seen and not heard’ young Yankel instead became a keen observer and recalled his first ‘efforts at painting’ by making patterns out of the water stains on his ceiling.

Teenage Yankel moved to London where he took advantage of its grand galleries, which he had almost to himself. Yankel remembers thinking that a huge painting of Samson and Delilah by Solomon J Solomon, “must have been painted by the gods”.

Yankel worked as a waiter whilst studying Art from 1937-39 at Woolwich Polytechnic. He had his first exhibition in Manchester in 1940. Throughout the War he continued to paint, and served in the REME for 18 months and then with the Highland Light Infantry. He was demobbed in 1946, where he returned to Liverpool and opened a second hand shop.

Soon after Yankel spotted a leaflet on the artists of St.Ives, decided that was for him so “sold up and descended on Cornwall.” Despite meeting life-long friend Sir Terry Frost amongst other artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Yankel soon returned to Liverpool where he opened The Basement. The successful club was where John Lennon infamously slashed one of Yankel’s paintings as he refused to stop playing on an old piano. Yankel also opened an antique shop at this time.

The urge to return to Cornwall got the better of Yankel in 1977 when, whilst fighting illness, he decided he would go to Cornwall to die. A natural survivor, at 57 Yankel was only at the start of his artistic career, which successfully spanned the next 30 years.

Yankel was, remarkably, painting more confidently than ever, up until he passed away in february 2009. His lust for life, energy and drive resulted in a powerful, intriguing legacy of work. His paintings go beyond mere representation, depicting both movement and landscape in a most delightful and engaging way.

Whilst in St.Ives Yankel met his partner of 18 years, Bill King. Sadly Bill died in 1993 following a heart attack. He later met Terry Arbuckle, who cared for him until his death.

Yankel has exhibited consistently in London, Manchester and Liverpool, and his work graces the private collections of Cilla Black, Ringo Starr and the late Sir Terry Frost. He has exhibited at galleries that include Zimmer Stuart Gallery, Hanover Gallery, Helen Lessore’s Beaux Gallery, Salt House, New Millenium galleries and Liverpool Academy of Arts.

Yankel’s paintings depict still lives, nudes, figures boats, and landscapes. His paintings are as full of life as Yankel was himself and burst with the energy and passion of what Terry Frost described as a ‘genuine artist’.

“I am in the dictionary of Modern Painters and that’s the only qualification I have. A lot of money is not the most important thing. The most important thing is the next painting – a painting which might be wonderful and make me realise that the last one was not.” Yankel recently concluded however: “I am painting the best paintings of my life right now.” And advised: “The only real thing is you. The rest is illusion.”

Yankel explained some influences: “from Velasquez I learnt how to see, from Hilton I learned how to feel and from Fuselli I learned how to fly.” And what a flight he’s had.

  • Flowers On A Stand (available) -

    Yankel Feather

    Flowers On A Stand (available)

    40 x 50 cm

    £4400

  • Lovers (availabe) -

    Yankel Feather

    Lovers (availabe)

    53 x 44 cm

    £4750

  • Dancers At The Pavilion (available) -

    Yankel Feather

    Dancers At The Pavilion (available)

    44 x 55 cm

    £5000

  • Boats at low tide  -

    Yankel Feather

    Boats at low tide

  • Three Kosovan Dancers 2008 -

    Yankel Feather

    Three Kosovan Dancers 2008

    oil on canvas

  • New Year's Eve at the Astoria -

    Yankel Feather

    New Year's Eve at the Astoria

    oil on canvas

  • September at Roskilly 2008 -

    Yankel Feather

    September at Roskilly 2008

  • Summer's Night Sorrento 2007 -

    Yankel Feather

    Summer's Night Sorrento 2007

  • Full House at the Rialto 2008 (sold) -

    Yankel Feather

    Full House at the Rialto 2008 (sold)

    oil on canvas

  • Magnolias 2008 -

    Yankel Feather

    Magnolias 2008

  • Boats at Hastings 2008 -

    Yankel Feather

    Boats at Hastings 2008

    oil on canvas

  • Saturday Night at St Georges Hall 2007 -

    Yankel Feather

    Saturday Night at St Georges Hall 2007

    oil on canvas

  • Friendly Game at Porthcurnow 2005 -

    Yankel Feather

    Friendly Game at Porthcurnow 2005

  • Harrington Board School 2005 -

    Yankel Feather

    Harrington Board School 2005

  • Morning at Lelant 2007 (sold) -

    Yankel Feather

    Morning at Lelant 2007 (sold)

    oil on canvas

  • Jug with Mixed Flowers  - Oil painting on canvas by artist Yankel Feather

    Yankel Feather

    Jug with Mixed Flowers

    oil on canvas

    40 x 50 cm

    £ 4000.00

  • A Near Disaster 2006 -

    Yankel Feather

    A Near Disaster 2006

  • Salsa 2008 -

    Yankel Feather

    Salsa 2008

  • Grey Green Black and Red Roses in a White Vase 2005 -

    Yankel Feather

    Grey Green Black and Red Roses in a White Vase 2005

(1920 - 2009)

Education

1937-39 Woolwich Polytechnic Art School

 

Selected Private collections

Ringo Starr
Peter Brown (NY)
Sir Terry Frost Estate
Cilla Black
Dame Beryl Bainbridge Estate
Rose Hilton
Mary Stork Estate
David Bowie

 

Public Collections

Royal Pavillion Museum, Brighton
Maurice Shifrin Foundation, UK
Walker Gallery, Liverpool
Various collections in Europe, Israel and America

Solo Exhibitions

2010
Glimpses of Yankel, GX Gallery, London

2009
Yankel Feather 1920 – 2009, GX Gallery, London

2008
Painting under the influence, GX Gallery, London

2007
Softening The Edge, GXgallery, London

2006
'A Near Disaster' and Other Great Paintings, GXgallery

2005
GX Gallery, London
The Zimmer Stewart Gallery, Arundel

2004
Movement in Memory – GX Gallery, London
The Zimmer Stewart Gallery, Arundel

2003
GX Gallery, London

2002
GX Gallery, London

2001
The View Gallery, Liverpool

2000
The Salthouse Gallery St. Ives

1999
Adonis Gallery, London

1996
New Millenium Gallery, St Ives Cornwall

1992
Arts Council Exhibition, Bridgewater Arts Centre

1987
Ari Gould Gallery, Tel Aviv
Gallery Avron, Jerusalem

1986
Safed Art Gallery, Israel

1986/94
The Salthouse Gallery St Ives
Beaux Arts St Ives & London, Wills Lane Gallery St Ives

1972
Arts Council Exhibition, Bluecoat Society of Arts, Liverpool

1962
Sandon Studio Society

1960
Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, Centennial Exhibition

1959
Liverpool Academy Summer Exhibition

1940
Gibbs Book shop, Manchester

 

Group Exhibitions

1997
White Lane Gallery, Bristol
Rainyday Gallery, Penzanze

1986
The Eye Gallery Bristol

1963/4
Liverpool Academy Mixed Exhibitions

1951
Hanover Gallery London
Drain Gallery London

1947
Penwith Society of Arts, Cornwall

1941
Archer Gallery, London

1940
Hereford Art Gallery, Hereford

 

A short tribute to Artist Yankel Feather, who died in April last year. ;Yankel was involved in the 'Our Story Liverpool' project and this film has been put together from a couple of interviews we did with Yankel for Homotopia.tv.