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 Richard Henry Gates  (1872 - 1964)

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Lived/Active: District Of Columbia/Missouri/Vermont      Known for: stage scenery artist, panoramic landscape

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The following information was submitted by Roland N. Britch, Jr, an heir to Richard Gates' daughter Frances Gates Curtis.

Richard Henry Gates was born in St. Louis, Mo; on June 25,1872 son of Sigismund and Louise (Maddern) Gates.  He was closely identified with the stage at an early age on both sides of his family.  His father was technical director of the Olympic Theatre in St. Louis and his mother was of the Maddern family of theatrical prominence.  Minnie Maddern Fiske, the celebrated star of the theatre in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century and Emily Stevens and Merle Maddern the late stars of the stage and silent movies were his cousins.
Richard was on the stage as a child actor in the early 1880’s and at the age of seventeen he studied art at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts.

In 1894 he became a scenic artist at the Albaus Theatre in Washington, D.C.  After one session he left to become the scenic artist at Keith’s Theatre in Philadelphia where he remained for five years. He was married in 1896 to Laura Bryan a sculptress and art student classmate.

In 1900 he moved to Bronxville, New York where he joined his brother Francis Edgar Gates and Edward A. Morange in the firm of Gates and Morange located at 530 West 47th Street in New York City where he later became a partner.

In its search for artists to record on huge canvases the beauties of the great National Reservations in this Country, Alaska and Hawaii, the United States Government selected Gates and Morange.  The firm created spectacular stage settings for Charles and Daniel Frohman, David Belasco, Florenz Zigfield and other prominent producers of the era.  He continued working at Gates and Morange until the firm retired in 1942. Richard designed a Nativity scene for St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and backdrops for exhibits for the San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia World Fairs.

After the death of his brother Francis E. Gates in 1952, he moved in 1954 to Newport, Vermont to live with his daughter Frances Gates Curtis until his death on September 16, 1964. 

 

 


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