Armand Merizon: His Life and Art

September 20 through January 6, 2019
Good Neighbors by Merizon

Alcoa Foundation/Ernest and Marjorie Cooper Gallery

Color by Armand Merizon

Armand Merizon
Color, 1992, 19 x 25 inches
Collection of Muriel and Dave Zandstra

Armand Merizon (1920-2010) was a lifelong Grand Rapids painter remembered for his detailed landscapes and brilliantly colored abstractions. A founding member of the Grand Valley Artists organization, he influenced generations of West Michigan artists and was an active and supportive presence in the community. This exhibition highlights his entire career, beginning with the precocious landscapes of his late teens and ending with the intuitive abstractions of his final years.

Raised in a conservative Dutch Calvinist household during the Great Depression, Merizon struggled to find his place, ultimately following his passion for art. With limited training, he was able to turn his natural talents for observation and rendering into complex and intricate landscapes and illustrations. Tragically, at mid-career, he began losing his vision to macular degeneration. Rather than abandon painting, he moved in an abstract direction, presenting the landscape in bold strokes and hot, vibrant colors, ultimately painting by intuition instead of sight.

Organized by the Muskegon Museum of Art, the exhibition presents over twenty paintings from West Michigan collections, including landscapes, abstractions, and several of the artist’s political works. Armand Merizon: His Life and Art is shown in conjunction with the recent release of a biography by the same name, written by his long-time friend and collector Muriel Zandstra. (Books are available to purchase in the MMA Museum Store.) After its close at the MMA, the exhibition will travel to the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, MI.


Opening Reception & Book Signing
Thursday, September 20
5:30 – 7:00 pm
Celebrate the opening of this autumn exhibition, a look into the life and work of the late West Michigan artist Armand Merizon. Muriel Zandstra, author of Armand Merizon: His Life and Art, will be on hand to sign books. Books are available to purchase in the MMA Museum Store. Refreshments and cash bar. Event is free and open to the public.

The Paintings of Armand Merizon: A Closer Look
Friends of Art Program with MMA Senior Curator Art Martin
Wednesday, October 17
10:30 am
Art Martin examines Merizon’s paintings over the course of the artist’s career. Program is free and open to the public. Paid admission is required for gallery entry.

Armand Documentary with Muriel Zandstra
Film Screening with Q&A
Thursday, October 25
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Armand tells the story of a nearly blind twentieth century American artist, Armand Merizon. Using personal interviews, historic film footage, and over 100 of his paintings, this film traces Merizon’s search for truth and his portrayal of the social, political, and enviromental issues of the twentieth century. It is also a story of perseverance as he battled macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis. But despite his ailments he vowed, “I will paint until my nose touches the canvas.” Director, Executive Producer, and close friend of Armand, Muriel Zandstra, will hold a Q&A following the film showing. Film admission is free and open to the public.


Michigan Artists Series Media Sponsor: Blue Lake Public Radio



Milk House by Merizon

Armand Merizon
Milk House, early 1970s, 17 x 21.5 inches
Collection of Muriel and Dave Zandstra


Good Neighbors by Merizon

Armand Merizon
Good Neighbors, 2003, 28.5 x 38.5 inches
Collection of Muriel and Dave Zandstra