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Major exhibition dedicated to the art of Frank Mechau opens at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
Indian Fight, ca. 1936, Tempera on canvas, 59 x 133 inches, Treasury Relief Art Project, 1935-1938, Fine Arts Collection, U.S. General Services Administration.

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO.- The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center announces a major exhibition dedicated to the art of Frank Mechau (1904-1946). Colorado artist Frank Mechau is among the greatest artists associated with early 20th century development of American Art and the FAC’s first decades. This third major offering in the FAC Legacy Series, runs March 5 through May 15.

This exhibition will explore Mechau’s uniquely western vision through a selection of approximately 60 paintings, drawings and prints spanning the artist’s career and our very own courtyard mural Wild Horses. Mechau grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado and studied a spectrum of historic and Modern art forms in New York, Paris and throughout Europe. Mechau believed that his “findings in the history of art and aesthetics converged toward the American scene,” prompting him back to Colorado to contribute to the development of uniquely American style and subject matter.

Mechau taught for the FAC Art School from 1937-38 on the heels of the Broadmoor Art Academy’s (BAA) height, and under the continued influence of the BAA’s Boardman Robinson. Mechau maintained the Academy’s traditional teachings by making the Fine Arts Center a Western focal point for the Works Progress Administration mural projects.

Mechau was the first Colorado artist awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship study grant, and he was among the first fellows allowed to use the award at home in the United States. In 1943, Mechau spent the year on cattle ranches traveling to rodeos and creating volumes of preparatory drawings for later paintings and murals. That same year, he was engaged by the Public Works of Art Program committee and offered one of the first mural commissions of the new federal subsistence plan – the beginning of numerous commissions as one of America’s foremost public muralists.

Throughout its prestigious history, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center museum has curated significant exhibitions dedicated to historic and contemporary regional art. The FAC Legacy Series celebrates the art that continues to represent the spirit of Colorado and the American West through solo exhibitions of work by artists who have worked and/or taught at the FAC.

This program, made possible by the generous underwriting of Katherine H. Loo, began in 2012 with the Sandzén in Colorado exhibition. This was the most comprehensive presentation of BAA instructor Birger Sandzén’s work in Colorado, and achieved acclaim from visitors and critics alike. The exhibition allowed the FAC to share the rich history of art in Colorado through not only the exhibition and catalogue, but lectures, interpretive material, and related classes.

Inspired by both the tradition of the FAC and the success of the Sandzén exhibition, the FAC Legacy Series has continued with stunning exhibitions of work by Charles Bunnell, Eric Bransby, Ellen O’Brien, and Myron Wood.

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