Colorado & Regional Art



Year 1930

Artist Frank Mechau (1904-1946, American)

Media oil on canvas

Dimensions 18 x 25 1/2 inches

Frank Mechau was born in WaKeeney, Kansas and grew up in the small resort town of Glenwood Springs on Colorado’s Western Slope to which his family relocated when he was three years old. He studied at the University of Denver, Denver Art Academy and the Art Institute of Chicago before making his way to New York City where he met and married his wife, Paula Ralska. In 1929 they moved to Paris for three years where Mechau spent time studying, painting and exploring the major art centers of London, Florence and Munich. This painting, Warriors, was included in the Artistes Américains de Paris exhibition (American Artists of Paris, 1932). Returning to the United States in 1932, Mechau initially taught at the Kirkland School of Art, then briefly at his own school—the Mechau School of Modern Art—and several years later at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. In 1937 Mechau and his family settled in Redstone, Colorado where he maintained his studio. For three years beginning in 1940, he headed the art department at Columbia University in New York. During World War II he served as a traveling artist-correspondent in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. He is most known for his large murals completed in the various art programs under the sponsorship of the federal government during the Great Depression. His first mural, Horses at Night (1934), hangs in the Denver Public Library. Mechau played an important role in the lives of his Colorado students Ethel and Jenne Magafan and Eduardo Chavez, who became successful muralists in their own right. Unfortunately Mechau died of a heart attack at age 42 but still left an impressive legacy.

ON VIEW in Art Deco Gallery 6

Signature "MECHAU" inscribed in paint, lower left corner

Credit Line Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Accession Number 2009.0001