I had a nice visit today, from a cousin of my dad, Dennis Merizon
and his lovely wife, Kate, who live in Jenison. I could recognize
the "Merizon" in Dennis's eyes. A certain twinkle. I liked them both
The visit came about thanks to Kate. She is one of my facebook
friends and also "likes" my Merizon Studio page. She saw a floral
print that I posted, and noticed that it was one of which I have had
giclée's made. Kate got in touch with me, ordered a print, and
we set up an appointment out here at the studio to look at some
While discussing our meeting plans, Kate mentioned that she had an
older "Merizon" portrait of a woman, and that she and Dennis would
bring it along. I was delighted, as I always am at the prospect of
seeing a painting of my dad's that I had not previously seen, or
have not seen for quite some time.
The painting was carefully wrapped in a cloth and then bagged in
plastic when Dennis pulled it out of the trunk of the car. It
weighed a ton! We got it into the studio and Dennis unwrapped it,
revealing a most unique, life size portrait of a dark haired women
dressed in black with a wrist watch on her crossed arm. She looked a
little nervous to me. I have noticed with my father's portraits,
that the different expressions on the subject's faces, mirrored,
to a degree, the feelings they had for the painter. I am sure this
must be true with all artist's and their models! I do not believe
this woman felt very comfortable having my dad study her as painted.
I was told that the Merizon's were given the painting by a relative
or friend. It is crazy that I already can't remember that fact.
There was a paper taped on the back saying that the painting was
from 222 Houseman Building, downtown, Grand Rapids. That was one of
my dad's old studios from the late 40's through the early 50's. The
painting was done in oil on sanded, 1" plywood, 24" x 30".
|photo I took of portrait in the studio.|
|photo I took including the frame.|
|photo from my dad's slide archives taken in his back yard of the Merizon family home on Bates Street, Grand Rapids, late 1940's, I'm guessing.|
The frame was the same one from the photo I had seen before from my
dad's slides. It is heavy and rustic, with a now, browned linen
liner. The shape is reverse, which is perfect for portraits. My dad
must have just taken the photo after he had gotten it framed and
while preparing to give it to its owner.
Kate mentioned that there was another paper stating the woman's name
was "De Young" a receptionist, and that the portrait was done in
exchange for a debt owed. That info rang true as I know my dad often
did portraits in exchange for loans. Life and times were hard for
him back in those days and that is how he got along.
I feel a little sad that there is no family member that has claimed
this portrait. Where is this Miss De Young? That is a common Dutch
name around here. In fact it is my fathers mothers maiden name.
It was great to see this painting up close. The line work alone of
the back ground must have taken a very long time to execute. The
watch is very detailed. Her face is beautiful but a little pensive.