FRENCH, Gerald

Gerald French (1927-2001) was a painter of portraits, landscapes and abstracts, mainly self-taught, who studied part-time at Bradford School of Art. He studied alongside David Hockney, who he sketched on a number of occasions.

FRENCH, Gerald sketch of David Hockney Dean Clough Collection

Gerald French’s sketch of David Hockney. Image courtesy of the Dean Clough Collection

Gerald French was a member of Bradford Art Club. He attended Hanson School in Bradford and lived at Carrington Street, Low Moor, for most of his life.

His work was also featured in a Royal Academy show in London, and at the Yorkshire Artists’ Exhibition in Leeds City Art Gallery 1965, and at other exhibitions in Bradford at Cartwright Hall, and in Wakefield.

In particular, he had solo exhibitions locally at the Lane Gallery, Bradford in 1963, and Manor House Gallery, Ilkley in 1964.  Other solo exhibitions included ‘Retrospective’, Dean Clough, Halifax, 1994; ‘Circle and the Square’, Bretton Hall, 1993; and ‘Icons and Landscapes’, Smith Gallery, Brighouse, 1994.

In 2002, a selection of his paintings were shown alongside other Bradford artists, including David Hockney and Doug Binder, at ‘The Bradford Years’ exhibition at the Dean Clough gallery, Halifax. Doug Binder wrote that he was particularly impressed by French’s ability to blend colours on the palette

FRENCH, Gerald Flower and Fruit Stall No. 1 1960 Calderdale BBC

‘Flower and Fruit Stall No. 1’. Image courtesy of BBC ‘Your Paintings’/Calderdale MBC

Examples of his work are in the collections of Dean Clough, Halifax; Granada Television, London; Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal; Cartwright Hall, Bradford; Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council;  and The Hepworth, Wakefield.

Thorn Cross. Image: Dean Clough Collection.

Peter Holdsworth, art critic of the Bradford ‘Telegraph & Argus’ wrote of Gerald French:

Colour and style changes occur progressively throughout Mr French’s work. Sober toned representationalism dominates his early paintings, while nowadays we find him using bright colours in creations brilliantly attractive to the eye … His sketch books reveal how much careful thought goes into the compilation of a picture.  (‘Telegraph & Argus’ 9.1.1960)

(c) The Hepworth Wakefield; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

‘Blue Saint’. Image: BBC ‘Your Paintings’/Hepworth Wakefield

Also see Gerald French: ‘My Art’

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