FRASER —Cozens Ranch Museum, located in Fraser, will be opening a new exhibit on Friday, May 24, called Merrit Esmiol: A Retrospective Exhibit. The new exhibit, which is being presented by the Grand County Historical association, will highlight the life and career of the artist from Kremmling with nearly 20 of the artist’s best paintings from all periods of his career.
This retrospective presents Merritt Esmiol’s eclectic art legacy, including classic and detailed renderings of nature and wildlife in Grand County; bold Colorado landscapes; his versions of modern art showing influences of cubism and paint splatter; and a series of innovative 3-D multimedia paintings.
Over the course of his life, Mr. Esmiol honed his artistic eye, and developed his creative gifts. After graduating from Kremmling Union High School in 1942, Merritt joined the Navy and was stationed in Guam. A selection of his paintings reflect his fascination with the strikingly different cultures and landscapes of the South Pacific. Upon his return stateside, Merritt earned his BA in Art from Western State College, Gunnison. He worked for 25 years as an Information Specialist for the US Forest Service in the Western Region. In that capacity, Merritt designed informational panels, maps, signage, museums, trails, and even campgrounds. Mr. Esmiol thrived in the great outdoors for work and play exploring public lands, forests and archaeological sites, despite a bad foot crushed by a horse during his youth.
Mr. Esmiol’s love of Native American peoples and archaeology stemmed from his mother’s Blackfoot heritage, and blossomed with opportunities to work at Mesa Verde and Chimney Rock archaeological sites. The retrospective shows Merritt’s batik piece of the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde along with treasures from his travels.
Merritt’s homeland was Kremmling, where the Blue River meets the Colorado. He was a Renaissance Man whose passions were fishing, hunting and art. Adding to his creative pursuits, Mr. Esmiol was an art instructor, wine-maker, and raised prize-winning Angora rabbits, tomatoes, and African Violets. Much to the chagrin of the local ladies, Merritt frequently took home the blue ribbon for his crocheted textiles at Grand County fairs.
Please visit Cozens Ranch Museum in Fraser to learn more about Merritt Esmiol and to view a selection of his impressive body of work. The public is invited to the Exhibit Opening Reception from 5 - 8 p.m. Friday May 24. The museum is located at 77849 US Hwy 40 in Fraser, across from the Grand Park Rec Center. Please call 970-726-5488 for information.