Meet one of the great forgotten Western painters

Frank Mechau, who died in 1946 at age 42, saw the West through an unusual lens.

  • Dorik and His Colt-1944

    Frank Mechau
  • Indian Fight #3-1934

    Frank Mechau
  • Indian Fight #1-1933

    Frank Mechau
  • Rom Kenney Comes Home-1944


“If a man is, as scientists say, a product of his surroundings, then Frank Mechau is a part of the vast western slope of Colorado,” wrote Carl Merey, head of the Denver Art Museum School, in 1942. Mechau died four years later at the young age of 42, leaving a rich legacy of romantic, colorful paintings of the West. After studying in Paris, he spent most of his life painting landscapes, rodeos, oilfields and wild horses from his home in the mountains near the Crystal River Valley, influenced by artists from Picasso to ancient Chinese painters. In 1981, Cile Bach, director of the Denver Museum of Art’s publication department, compiled a book about Mechau’s career, featuring excerpts from letters, journals, and notes, and photos of the artist and his paintings. This second edition, published in March to commemorate the original’s 35th anniversary, is updated with a tribute from Mechau’s family. 

Frank Mechau: Artist of Colorado
By Cile M. Bach
144 pages, hardcover: $39.95
University Press of Colorado, 2016