Kitsch and Southwest hybridity in the art of Ted De Grazia

Kitsch and Southwest hybridity in the art of Ted De Grazia

Material Information

Kitsch and Southwest hybridity in the art of Ted De Grazia
Dalton, Karen Jeanne
Place of Publication:
[Tampa, Fla]
University of South Florida
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Arizona highways
Native Americans
Dissertations, Academic -- Humanities -- Masters -- USF ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


ABSTRACT: Ettore "Ted" De Grazia (1909-1982) spent his artistic life painting the Native American stories and peoples of the Arizona Southwest. His art was touted in the popular press and is still admired by tourists and newcomers to Arizona, but he was not taken seriously by academicians and art critics who refused to grant him artistic enfranchisement. Many labeled his work "kitsch," a term made popular by Clement Greenberg in his 1939 essay, " Avant-Garde and Kitsch." De Grazia's popular whimsical paintings of Native American children were considered too cute to have artistic merit.De Grazia, in spite of criticism to the contrary, did create serious paintings worthy of critical evaluation. The paintings are infused with complex layered meanings relating to Southwest hybridity ---a blending of beliefs and cultural practices as a result of Spanish and later, American colonization.^ ^De Grazia was part of the hybrid culture; born of Italian immigrants in the Territory of Arizona, he grew up speaking Italian, Spanish and English. Not only was he exposed to different languages, but also to corresponding cultural and religious practices. This thesis examines the social and economic changes in the United States during De Grazia's lifetime, along with the hybridity of the Southwest in relation to his artistic production. Changes in the world of art along with economic prosperity and the growing interest in tourism in the Southwest after World War II intersected with the art of Ted De Grazia. His relationship with Arizona Highways magazine, published by the Arizona Highway Department to entice travelers to visit Arizona, contributed to his success. De Grazia's contribution in the arena of Southwest hybridity can be seen in paintings that are in the formal collection of his work in his Gallery of the Sun in Tucson, Arizona.^ The blending of religions, or syncretism, that Arizona tribes practice demonstrates a deep mysticism, profoundly influenced by the Spanish, but uniquely practiced in tribal ceremony and tradition. De Grazia's work makes a unique artistic contribution by illustrating the religious syncretism that was, and remains, an integral part of the Native American tribes in the Southwest.
Thesis (M.L.A.)--University of South Florida, 2007.
Includes bibliographical references.
System Details:
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
General Note:
Title from PDF of title page.
General Note:
Document formatted into pages; contains 91 pages.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Karen Jeanne Dalton.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
001929960 ( ALEPH )
213097632 ( OCLC )
E14-SFE0001924 ( USFLDC DOI )
e14.1924 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information



This item has the following downloads:

Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd
leader nam Ka
controlfield tag 001 001929960
003 fts
005 20080307143139.0
006 m||||e|||d||||||||
007 cr mnu|||uuuuu
008 080307s2007 flu sbm 000 0 eng d
datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a E14-SFE0001924
1 100
Dalton, Karen Jeanne.
0 245
Kitsch and Southwest hybridity in the art of Ted De Grazia
h [electronic resource] /
by Karen Jeanne Dalton.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
3 520
ABSTRACT: Ettore "Ted" De Grazia (1909-1982) spent his artistic life painting the Native American stories and peoples of the Arizona Southwest. His art was touted in the popular press and is still admired by tourists and newcomers to Arizona, but he was not taken seriously by academicians and art critics who refused to grant him artistic enfranchisement. Many labeled his work "kitsch," a term made popular by Clement Greenberg in his 1939 essay, Avant-Garde and Kitsch." De Grazia's popular whimsical paintings of Native American children were considered too cute to have artistic merit.De Grazia, in spite of criticism to the contrary, did create serious paintings worthy of critical evaluation. The paintings are infused with complex layered meanings relating to Southwest hybridity ---a blending of beliefs and cultural practices as a result of Spanish and later, American colonization.^ ^De Grazia was part of the hybrid culture; born of Italian immigrants in the Territory of Arizona, he grew up speaking Italian, Spanish and English. Not only was he exposed to different languages, but also to corresponding cultural and religious practices. This thesis examines the social and economic changes in the United States during De Grazia's lifetime, along with the hybridity of the Southwest in relation to his artistic production. Changes in the world of art along with economic prosperity and the growing interest in tourism in the Southwest after World War II intersected with the art of Ted De Grazia. His relationship with Arizona Highways magazine, published by the Arizona Highway Department to entice travelers to visit Arizona, contributed to his success. De Grazia's contribution in the arena of Southwest hybridity can be seen in paintings that are in the formal collection of his work in his Gallery of the Sun in Tucson, Arizona.^ The blending of religions, or syncretism, that Arizona tribes practice demonstrates a deep mysticism, profoundly influenced by the Spanish, but uniquely practiced in tribal ceremony and tradition. De Grazia's work makes a unique artistic contribution by illustrating the religious syncretism that was, and remains, an integral part of the Native American tribes in the Southwest.
Thesis (M.L.A.)--University of South Florida, 2007.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 91 pages.
Includes vita.
Adviser: Ruth Banes, Ph.D.
Arizona highways.
Native Americans.
Dissertations, Academic
x Humanities
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856


Kitsch and Southwest Hybridity in the Art of Ted De Grazia by Karen Jeanne Dalton A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Humanities and American Studies College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Ruth Banes, Ph. D. Silvio Gaggi, Ph. D. Lois Nixon, Ph. D. Date of Approval: March 9, 2007 Keywords: Syncretism, Tourism, Religion, Arizona Highways Native Americans Copyright 2007, Karen J. Dalton


Dedication To my husband, Bill, who introduced me to the beauty of the Southwest and to a life there which I could not have imagined. And to our children, Seth, Adam and Kyle who give our life balance.


Acknowledgements Thank you to my graduate committee: Thank you to Ruth Bane s, Ph.D. who accepted me in to the American Studies Graduate program and who mentored me throu ghout my studies at the University of South Florida. Your support and ge nerosity in sharing knowledge and providing opportunity is deeply appreciated. Thank you, too, to Lois Nixon, Ph.D. whose intere sting classes are as nonconventional as she. You make learning fun and are an inspiration for a life time of learning. To Dr. Gaggi, Chair of the Department of Humanities and American Studies, I am honored that you are on my comm ittee. I look forward to havi ng the time, now, to finish your last book before the next one comes out! Thank you for your open door and for establishing high standards. To the Professors in the Department of American Studies, especially: Dr. Brewer, your sense of scholarship and your dedication to research and to teaching demonstrate the purpose of academia. Inside or out side of the classroom, your intelligence and critical skills in observing American culture ar e as pertinent as they are often amusing. Dr. Belgrad: Thank you introducing me to the concept of hybridity in the Southwest and for challenging me to dig de eper. Any mistakes in interpretation are entirely my own. It has been challenging and a pleasure to be a student at USF.


i Table of Contents List of Figures................................................................................................................ .....ii Abstract....................................................................................................................... .......iv Introduction................................................................................................................... .......1 Chapter One: Multi-Cultural, Multi-Ethnic Beginnings......................................................6 Hybridity in Arizona and the Hybrid Art of Ted De Grazia....................................6 Mining: “You cannot start out lowe r than that...” (Ted De Grazia).......................7 Chapter Two: Middle Class Cu lture of Kitsch Changes in Social Class and the World of Art................................................................................................................... .........15 Chapter Three: Tourism and Arizona Highways Magazine..................................................25 Arizona Highways and the Impact of Tourism..........................................................28 Art of De Grazia and Ariz ona Highways Magazine.................................................34 Chapter Four: De Grazia Gallery in the Sun..........................................................................47 The Permanent Collection..........................................................................................47 Padre Kino Collection................................................................................................48 Papago Indian Le gends Collection............................................................................56 Cabeza de Vaca: The First Non-I ndian in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona 1527 -1536.....................................................................................................62 De Grazia Paints the Yaqui Easter.............................................................................69 Conclusion..................................................................................................................... .........79 Bibliography................................................................................................................... ........87


ii List of Figures Figure 1. Viva 1940....................................................................................................2 Figure 2. The Bell of Hope ..........................................................................................2 Figure 3. Yaqui Deer Dancer ......................................................................................4 Figure 4. HoÂ’ok ............................................................................................................4 Figure 5. Cabeza de Vaca as Trader ...........................................................................4 Figure 6. Fiesta at the Mission San Xavier del Bac ....................................................4 Figure 7. Mining 1936..............................................................................................35 Figure 8. Steel 1930 (Thomas Hart Benton).............................................................35 Figure 9. Defeat 1940...............................................................................................36 Figure 10. Isthmus Tehuantepec 1947........................................................................36 Figure 11. Beneath the Pandanus Tree 1891(Gauguin).............................................37 Figure 12. Ranchita 1948...........................................................................................37 Figure 13. Young Hoop Dancer 1958........................................................................38 Figure 14. Festival of Lights 1965..............................................................................38 Figure 15. Los Nios 1957.........................................................................................39 Figure 16. Flying a Kite ..............................................................................................41 Figure 17. My Very Own Papoose ...............................................................................41 Figure 18. Apache ........................................................................................................42


iii Figure 19. DayÂ’s End in Navajo Land .........................................................................42 Figure 20. Little Drummer Boy ...................................................................................43 Figure 21. Mexican drummer youth............................................................................43 Figure 22. Little Apache Girl ......................................................................................45 Figure 23. Sunflower Girl ............................................................................................45 Figure 24. Padre Kino Enters Kino Valley ..................................................................50 Figure 25. Kino and His Soldiers Join th e Indians in Celebration .............................52 Figure 26. An Indian Wedding and Baptism ...............................................................54 Figure 27. Baboquivari Mountain ...............................................................................58 Figure 28. Earthmaker ................................................................................................59 Figure 29. Untitled ......................................................................................................59 Figure 30. HoÂ’ok ..........................................................................................................61 Figure 31. HoÂ’ok the Witch .........................................................................................61 Figure 32. Cabeza de Vaca Route ...............................................................................65 Figure 33. Land, In the Name of the King ...................................................................66 Figure 34. The Florida Swamp ....................................................................................66 Figure 35. Indians Wailing for the Spaniards Misery .................................................66 Figure 36. Eight Chapayekas With Their Sticks ..........................................................74 Figure 37. Tambolero ..................................................................................................76 Figure 38. Yaqui Deer Dancer ....................................................................................77 Figure 39. Skyline Country Club................................................................................81 Figure 40. Gallery in the Sun......................................................................................81 Figure 41. Gallery in the Sun, Entrance......................................................................81


iv Kitsch and Southwest Hybridity in the Art of Ted De Grazia Karen Jeanne Dalton ABSTRACT Ettore “Ted” De Grazia (1909-1982) spent his artistic life painting the Native American stories and peoples of the Arizona Southwest. His art was touted in the popular press and is still admired by tourists and newcomers to Arizona, but he was not taken seriously by academicians and art cri tics who refused to grant him artistic enfranchisement. Many labeled his work “kitsch,” a term made popular by Clement Greenberg in his 1939 essay, “Avant-Garde and Kitsch.” De Grazia’s popular whimsical paintings of Native American children were c onsidered too cute to have artistic merit. De Grazia, in spite of criticism to the cont rary, did create serious paintings worthy of critical evaluation. The paintings are infused with complex layered meanings relating to Southwest hybridity —a blendi ng of beliefs and cultural pract ices as a result of Spanish and later, American colonization. De Grazi a was part of the hybrid culture; born of Italian immigrants in the Territory of Ariz ona, he grew up speaking Italian, Spanish and English. Not only was he exposed to diffe rent languages, but also to corresponding cultural and religious practices. This thesis examines the social and ec onomic changes in the United States during De Grazia’s lifetime, along with the hybridity of the Southwest in relation to his artistic production. Changes in the world of art along with economic prosperity and the growing


v interest in tourism in the Southwest after Wo rld War II intersected wi th the art of Ted De Grazia. His relationship with Arizona Hi ghways magazine, published by the Arizona Highway Department to entice travelers to visit Arizona, co ntributed to his success. De GraziaÂ’s contribution in the arena of Southwest hybridity can be seen in paintings that are in the formal collection of his work in his Gallery of the Sun in Tucson, Arizona. The blending of religions, or syncretism, that Arizona tribes practice demonstrates a deep mysticism, profoundly influenced by the Span ish, but uniquely pr acticed in tribal ceremony and tradition. De GraziaÂ’s work makes a unique artistic contribution by illustrating the religious syncretism that was, and remains, an integral part of the Native American tribes in the Southwest.


1 Introduction Ted De Grazia (1909-1982) spent his artistic life portraying the stories of the Mexican American and Native American peopl e who lived in Arizona and parts of New Mexico. Artists like Diego Rivera, Jose Orozco and Thomas Hart Benton (a close friend of De Grazia’s) paid tribute to his efforts, with Rivera predicting that “De Grazia [would] be one of North America’s outstanding artists.”1 More than twenty years after his death, reproductions of his art continue to sell well. However, his comm ercial popularity and financial success did not guarantee him pr ominence or status in the art world. The ubiquitous inexpensive De Grazia reproductions found in gift shop s throughout Arizona and New Mexico pl aced his art into the kitsch category for wh ich he was criticized.2 In 1998, columnist Margaret Regan of the Tucson Weekly re viewed an exhibition at the University of Arizona Museum of Art (De Grazia’s alma ma ter located in Tucson) which contained a few of his early “unfamiliar pain tings” and compared it to the later popular work for which he is well known.3 She noted that De Grazia’ s early work demonstrated a “political consciousness” and inte resting influences of his appr enticeship with the respected Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera [Fig. 1.]. Sh e appreciated the early work and contrasted it 1 Brooks, Gene. “What’s With this Guy?” Tucson Citizen On the Town: Your Weekend Magazine January 28, 1961. P. 15. 2 Ring, R. H. “De Grazia ‘idealized the West,’ then shared it with the world.” The Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona. 18 September 1982. Copied from Arizona Historical Society Tucson-Library Archives. 3 Regan, Margaret. “Broad Strokes.” Tucson Weekly 19-25 March 1998. Retrieved online. /03-19-98/review2.htm.


2 with his later paintings raisi ng the question of how it was pos sible that “an artist of De Grazia’s promise evolved in su ch a disappointing direction.”4 In particular she was referring to his inclination to paint cute pi ctures of Indian child ren [Fig. 2.] which yet another critic had earlier referred to as De Grazia’s “burdensome trademark.”5 More recently, a staff member at the Tucson Museum of Ar t (located in De Grazia’s hometown) confirmed the lack of critical respect th at beleaguered De Grazia throughout his professional life. She maintained that the museum would never exhibit De Grazia’s paintings because he was not a “real artist.”6 Figure 1 Figure 2 Viva 1940 Bell of Hope Political consciousness in early work Familiar De Grazia style 4 Ibid. 5 Ruffner, Budge. Prescott Courier “Weekend Section.” 1 October 1982. 3. 6 Tucson Museum of Art. Comments from Museum Staff to aut hor on visit in Summer, 2005. In the summer of 2005, I visited the library of the Tucson Museum of Art to look for information on De Grazia. Erroneously, I had thought they had an exhibition of his art in 1973. (It was the art museum at the University of Arizona, De Grazia’s alma mater, who had exhibited his work.) An administrator at the Tucson Museum of Art emphatically declared, “We would never show his art here!” She continued to explain to me that he was an opportunist who came to Arizona to paint pictures to sell to tourists. When I mentioned that he was born in Arizona befo re it was a state, she expressed surprise. Then she offered the suggestion that he probably left Arizona and studied art else where, returning to take advantage of the tourist market. Again, she expressed surprise when I mentioned that he had received three degrees from the University of Arizona. While I am not surprised that the curator dismissed his art, I am surprised that she was not more aware of De Grazia’s link to Tucson and Arizona.


3 Today it is difficult to find contemporary critical evaluation of De Grazia’s paintings indicating that any of his work is cult urally significant. However, he did create a body of work for the public th at is worthy of critical assess ment. The primary contention of this thesis is that the wo rk of De Grazia is far more complex than what is generally considered, even by art “aficionados” and critic s. The paintings whic h are the subject of this research are artistic texts infused with complex layered meanings relating to the unique spirituality and lifestyles of Native Americans in the Southw est—a blending of beliefs and practices as a result of Spanish colonization. They were painted at the same time he was painting his popular works of Native American children in the 1960s through the 1970s, but are less well remembered. A formal collection of De Grazia’s work is housed in his Ga llery of the Sun in Tucson. A portion of this collection contains several series of paintings depicting early Spanish history and the religious ceremonies an d traditions of two Na tive American tribes residing in or near Tucson—the Yaqui and the Tohono O’Odham [Fig 3. and Fig. 4.]. Included in the gallery’s collection are De Graz ia’s portrayals of the travels of Cabeza de Vaca and Esteban, the first non-Native American s to set foot in Arizona [Fig. 5.] and Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, the Spanish mi ssionary who established a mission at Bac in Arizona on what is now the To hono O’Odham Tribal Reservation [Fig. 6.]. In this thesis, I will present evidence that his paintings are neither cute nor sweet; rather, they have an instructive value in mapping the religious practices of the peop le of the Southwest. These works, along with others which hang in his gallery, represent De Grazia’s lifelong vocation of studying and painting the mythologies of a land where st orytelling and picture drawing


4 were time-honored traditions long before Span ish colonizers or American settlers entered the region. Figure 3. Yaqui Deer Dancer From “The Yaqui Easter” Collection Figure 4. H o’ok (Tohono O’Odham witch in disguise) From “Papago Legends and Myths” Collection Figure 5. Cabeza de Vaca as Trader From “Cabeza de Vaca Coll ection” Figure 6. F iesta at the Mission San Xavie r del Bac From “The Kino Collection”


5 In his art, De Grazia portrays how Span ish Roman Catholicism merged with the Native American tribal religions in distinctly different ways and how the different Arizona tribes incorporated their understanding of th e Spanish religion into their own indigenous traditions. The blending of religions, or syncretism, that Ariz ona tribes practice demonstrates a deep mysticism, profoundl y influenced by the Spanish, but uniquely practiced in tribal ceremony an d tradition. The religions practic ed by each tribe are neither purely Christian, nor purely pre-Columbian Native religion; they contain elements of both. De Grazia, in his unique artistic style, was able to illustrate the complexities of Native American religions, be liefs and customs. De GraziaÂ’s art is invested with his ow n brand of religious syncretism and deep spirituality. His personal mysticism was a co mbination of his Roma n Catholic background (which he received from his Italian pare nts); his knowledge and understanding of the spiritual beliefs of the peopl e with Spanish and Mexican ancestry; and the religious traditions of the Native American tribes in Arizona with whom he had a lifelong association. My thesis proposes that his work makes a unique artistic contribution by illustrating the religious syncretism that was, a nd remains, an integral part of the Native American tribes in the Southwes t with whom he came in contac t. Indeed, it is this unique blend of Spanish and tribal culture that in many ways is the trad emark of United States Southwestern culture.


6 Chapter One: Multi-Cultural Multi-Ethnic Beginnings Hybridity in Arizona and the H ybrid Art of Ted De Grazia Native to Arizona, but not a Native Am erican, De Grazia was immersed in a pluralistic society from birth. The artist was born in the Territory of Arizona, in 1909, three years before Arizona’s statehood. His grandf ather and father, Italian immigrants, worked as blue-collar laborers for the copper mining industry in the Southe rn Arizona town of Morenci at the turn of the century. Immi grants, Native American laborers and Mexican laborers have had a long history of working in Arizona’s mines, first under Spanish rule, then American. The Native-Am erican, Spanish, and Mexican heritage was, and is, a vivid and a visible part of everyday life in Ariz ona. Although Arizona ha s been part of the United States since 1848, it has a distinctly regional multi-cultural pers onality identifiable as “Southwest”—a legacy it shares with New Mexico, and parts of Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. A term which is useful in describing the mixture of different cultures in Arizona is “hybridity.” David H. Richter, editor and author of the book, The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends notes that Homi Bhabba us es the term to describe how “colonial peoples [create] a ‘hybridity’ of perspective, a split consciousness in which the individual identifies simultaneously with his or her own people and with the colonial


7 power.”7 In this way, the colonized person struggl es to resist total colonial domination and retain a cultural identity; a se nse of power and control is retained by deciding which colonial attributes to adopt and which to resist. This cultural hybridity is depicted in the art of Ted De Grazia, both in the hybrid subject matter he painted (religious syncretis m) and the techniques he used. He was conversant about contemporary art theories, but he resisted applying academic training to his own work. He painted in a distinct st yle that borrows from many different artistic schools including Abstract, Modern, Impressi onism and Expressionism. He made his own paint by coloring it with minerals and indige nous plant material from the Arizona desert and encoded his paintings with a vernacular of hues associated with the Southwest. De Grazia’s art is basically regional with a fusi on of multiple inspirations—a hybrid art inspired by a hybrid land. Mining: “You cannot start out lowe r than that...” Ted De Grazia De Grazia liked to say that in order to be an artist, one had to grow a beard and then “wait for it to turn gray.”8 He was obviously alluding to th e fact that artistic success does not come easily or quickly, if at all. It is preceded with ma ny years of hard work, talent, dedication, and—character building life experien ces. His position as the son of immigrant laborers in a remote multi-cultura l region of the United States formed his world view. In the multi-cultural atmosphere of Morenci at th e time of De Grazia’s birth, economy and 7 Richter, David H. The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends Boston: Bedford Books. 1998. 1217. 8 Redl, Harry. The World of DeGrazia: Artist of the American Southwest P. 30; Chanin, Abe. “Abe Chanin’s Scrapbook.” Arizona Daily Star Tucson. 7/02/1972; Dick Frontain. De Grazia in Photos “La Vida es Tan Triste.” June 1, 1977.; Zivic, William T. Sr., Arizona Daily Star letter to the editor after De Grazia’s death in 1982.


8 class were often intertwined with race.9 If one was not American, in every sense of the word, then one was an outsider, an “other.” De Grazia grew up in the c opper mining town of Morenci, Arizona just outside the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation and went to school with Mexican and MexicanAmerican children whose parents also worked in the mines and whose marginalized class status put them at risk of losing their cultural identities even though their ancestral birthright was established in Arizona long befo re it became part of the United States. Strong family relationships an d deeply ingrained religious beliefs and customs served to give these communities identity and a sense of belonging, even if they sensed that they were excluded from membership in the mainstream society. Ted De Grazia’s innate creativity, his independent behavior and populist philosophy of life were informed by his ear ly childhood social and economic experiences of living in a hegemonic American corporat e mining town atmosphere in which selfidentity was a struggle for self control; i.e., the ability to have control over one’s life and to make one’s own choices. In a capitalistic society, power and cont rol are symbiotically connected to money or income. De Grazia felt that miners, especially, were at the bottom of the barrel, both economically and socially; stating, “You cannot start out lower than that, in every sense of the word.”10 His early life experiences, mo re than any amount of formal education or artistic training, affected his art and his approach to artistic production. As a son of immigrants, and especially as a son and grandson of wo rking class miners, Ted was an “other” in a land of “others.” De Gr azia’s early years conditioned him for survival 9 Gordon, Linda. The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 2000. P. 99, 100, 102, 104, 121. 10 Redl, Harry. The World of De Grazia: An Ar tist of the American Southwest Phoenix: Chrysalis Publishing Ltd. 1981. P. 75.


9 in a world where one constantly saw himself in terms of how ot hers judged him. From the very beginning, his own ethnic and working cla ss status as a son and grandson of Italian mining immigrants placed him as an “ outsider” in the controlling and dominating atmosphere of a turn of the century American corporate mini ng town. Negotiating identity in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society gave De Grazia prac tice for later negotiating his way through an authoritative and bureaucratic ar t world which would later try to shut him out. The mining industry has a time-honored po sition in Arizona’s historical past. Initially, it was mining, or rather rumors of gold to mine that broug ht Francisco Coronado and his Spanish conquistadores into Arizona in 1540. But it was copp er and the advent of the Industrial Revolution that created a de mand for the copper th at Arizona had in abundance. The invention of indoor plumbing and electricity and the demand for the raw materials for pipes and electric wire brought American mining companies into Arizona. The large deposits of copper ore became a prim ary feature in the economy of the state. Copper, with a capital “C” joined the Cotton, Cattle, and later, the Citrus industries as the one of the four “C’s” that weighed favora bly in the state’s capital products. De Grazia’s grandparents, along with Me xican and European laborers from Italy, England and other countries converged in the region to work in the copper mines. The area exhibited deep-seated markers of its Spanis h colonial heritage, but by 1921, all of the diverse ethnic and cultural groups were subm erged under the umbrella of one American


10 mining corporation (Phelps-Dodge).11 The copper mining company opened the copper mines to development and the De Grazia’s hometown of Mo renci to “Americanization.”12 As newly arrived Americans made themse lves at home in Arizona, the Mexican and Native American signifiers served as double palimpsests to American signifiers. For example, new colonial markers which were a pparent as the United States expanded to the Southwest included changes in the style of architecture. In Arizona, new and modern American home designs, constructed of new and modern machine-made materials such as milled lumber and fired brick, with glass for windows, replaced the regional adobe, thick walled, flat roofed, Sonoran style of arch itecture introduced by the Spanish which had replaced the daub and wa ttle domestic shelters used by the Native-Americans and Native Mexicans they encountered. Basically, Ameri cans would not live in houses made of mud which were considered to be dirty (an adjectiv e that was applied to describe the houses as well as their inhabitants). Mexican-Americans and Italian or “Latin” European immigrants were more likely to live in “Mexican” housing than “American.”.13 Even in corporate owned towns like Morenci, where the company provided “Ameri can” homes to the workers, the Mexican families were assigned to sma ller and inferior homes compar ed to their fellow Anglo coworkers.14 One was either “Mexican” or “America n.” The type of house one lived in identified or marked them as e ither one or the “other.” Cultural groups were identified as non-Am erican or “other” in terms not only of power relationships indicating privilege and status but also in terms of financial 11 Gordon. P. 32. 12 Gordon. P. 173, 175, 197. 13 Gordon. P. 101. 14 Gordon. P. 174-175.


11 relationships. Although numeri cally greater in population, the Mexican laborers tended to work for the Americans. Wage s for “Mexican” laborers were usually half the salary of wages for Anglo-Americans pe rforming comparable work.15 Cultural identity was further compromise d in terms of social interaction. “Americans” did not speak Spanish or have accents or have name s like “Juan” or “Estevan” or “Ettore” (De Grazia’s given name) which became anglicized to “John,” “Steven,” and “Ted” as a child entered the sc hool system. These new American signifiers, and others, subtly reminded everyone that the Un ited States was the ruling colonial political power in Southern Arizona. This was the multi-cultu ral atmosphere of Morenci at the time of De Grazia’s birth, where power, class an d position were determined by money or earning potential which was further linked to ethni city. If one was not American, in every sense of the word, then one was an outsider, an “other.” Most of the Mexican citizens in Morenci were Catholic, a leg acy from the Spanish missionaries of the late 1600s through the 1700s. In 1904, the city’s population was approximately sixty-nine percent Mexican16and the Catholic Church’s congregation in town was as distinctly Mexican as was the p opulation. De Grazia’s parents were married in Morenci in 1903.17 Italian names such as Antonie tta and Domenica De Grazia, and Severino and Luciano Gagliardi were listed in the congregation records of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church18 but the congregation was so over whelmingly Mexican in makeup that 15 Gordon. P. 174. 16 Gordon, Linda. P. 101. 17 De Grazia, Frenck. Family Histories: De Grazia 1995 November 12. Retrieved online 2006 Aug. 31. 18 Gordon, Linda. P. 103. n. 84. Sacred Heart baptism, ma rriage, and death records, Clifton. Ted De Grazia’s parents, Domenico De Grazia and Lucia Gagliardo were married in 1903. Ted was their third child, born in 1909. While the church listing has a slightly different spelling of the first names“Domenica” instead of “Domenico” and “Luciano” instead of “Luciana”, these are very likely Ted’s parents.


12 the Spanish and Italian ethnic groups were not distinguishable.19 Conversely, while the Anglo-American population of Morenci c ontained fewer persons than the Mexican population, the Anglos had a significant impact in the in the religious arena. Catholic priests sent to Arizona in the 1900s conf ronted “Americanization” in the form of competition from American Prot estant missionaries entering the region and offering alternative Christian beliefs. Already, Catholic priests had to come to terms with the fa ct that the Mexican congregation was “undisciplined” or practiced “Folk” Catholicism20 and retained their own beliefs along with a reputation of re sisting authority. For example: The Mexicans rang church bells for civic occasions, conducted costumed and noisy public processions, brought food and music into ceme teries. They decorated churches with retablos and ca rvings, painted and hewed in ‘primitive’ manner, with “staring eyes and raw colors...”21 If the priests wanted to maintain their congr egations, then they had to be flexible in allowing integration of syncretized religious customs. From the pers pective of his childhood, with a birt hright as an Arizona native, De Grazia observed, participated in, and understo od the different languages, religions and customs of the culturally diverse populations of Southern Arizona. In addition, he was exposed to European culture when his family re turned to their homela nd of Italy for five years in 1920, when De Grazia was eleven. By the time they return ed to Morenci, De Grazia had lost his knowledge of English and ha d to relearn it. A native born Arizonan, he had to re-enter first grade at the age of sixteen because he could not speak English—an experience that taught him what it was like to feel like an immi grant in the land of his birth. 19 Gordon. P. 103. 20 Gordon. P. 82. 21 Gordon. P 82.


13 At that time, anyone in the United States w ho could not speak English was marginalized or considered to be unedu cated or unintelligent. As De Grazia matured, he absorbed and in tegrated the customs and spiritual beliefs of his cohorts with his own Roman Catholic religion and his Italian-American cultural heritage. As an adult, he acknowledged be ing deeply spiritual, but claimed not to be religious. Religion is based on adherence to a certain faith while spiritu ality has more to do with “the meaning of life, inner peace, and a connection to something beyond ourselves.”22 De Grazia said of himself, “I’m a part of ev erybody, part Italian, part Indian, part Mexican, part Jew, part are just a part of all that you’ve been through, all that has been around you.”23 It is ironic that the disadvantages to being an outsider would become the very experiences that would best serve his artistic cr eative process. De Grazia’s “outsider” class and cultural identification also served to gi ve him unique “insider” access from childhood to the domestic lifestyles a nd customs of his Mexican and Native American childhood friends in Morenci, Arizona. In 1 954, an article about De Grazia in Western Ways Magazine mentioned that, “[De Grazia’s] earliest playmates were fun-loving Mexican children with whom he ran wild in the mountains playing at looking for gold and absorbing the legends with which Mexican life abounds.”24 This close cultural contact and bonding gave him an authenticity which he translated to his art. He identified, culturally, with the Mexican and Native American populations of his youth and later rejected authoritative 22 Storms, Valerie Rev. and Rabbi Aaron Lever. Partners: Newsletter of the Patie nt & Advisory Program at Moffitt Cancer Center “Addressing Spiritual Issues.” Winter 2006. 5. 23 DeGrazia’s Borderlands Sketches. Native People of Arizona and Sonora as Drawn by Ted DeGrazia Tucson: The Southwest Center. 1997. P. 22. 24 Western Ways Magazine “Mission in the Hills.” April, 1954. P. 12. Copied from Ephemeral Files on Ted DeGrazia in Special Collections Section at the University of Arizona: Tucson.


14 academic sanction in the same way colonized cultures have of applying control by failing to acknowledge customs imposed by colonial po wers, choosing what to accept and what to ignore. This defiance can be seen in De Graz ia’s paintings of individuals and cultural groups of the Southwest. Except for the It alian Jesuit missionary, Father Kino, or the Spanish explorers like Cabeza de Vaca, De Gr azia does not depict Angl o individuals. His series of rodeo paintings depicting cowboys on horseback, for example, were inspired by the “Papago” cowboys from the rodeos on the Tohono O’Odham Reservation in Sells, Arizona rather than the popular “Western” cow boy of the mythical West as depicted in John Ford movies or on cowboy televisi on shows which were popular at the time.25 This omission cannot be accidental and implies a so cial consciousness from the perspective of one with “insider” experience wh o used his creative powers, w ith an assertive degree of control, to exclude and leave the Anglos on the outside. 25 Carol Locust, Ph. D. Author Interview. May, 2006.


15 Chapter Two: Middle Class Culture of Kit sch Changes in Social Class and the World of Art “Since the avant-garde forms the only living culture we now have, the survival in the near future of Culture in general is thus threatened.”26 Clement Greenberg “It is too easy to analyze so mething out of existence…Don’t underestimate the people.”27 Ted De Grazia De Grazia identified, not only with the lifestyle and cultural practices of the Mexican and Native American, but also with th e working class and emerging middle social classes that began to grow with the indus trial and technological prosperity Americans shared after World War II. Wh ile he was waiting for his “beard to turn gray,” dramatic demographic shifts made it possible for an im migrant or member of the working class to break through lower class economic barriers, even if that individual could not quite command the respect bestowed up on the more cultured, elite me mbers of society. All his life, De Grazia was denied en franchisement by the leader s of the university and art intelligencia which refused him le gitimacy. He in tu rn, rejected their authority and sought and gained approval of the newly emerging mi ddle class market of post-World War II America. 26 Greenberg, Clement. Art and Culture: Critical Essays “Avant-Garde and Kitsch.” Boston: Beacon Press. 1989. P. 8. 27 Brooks, Gene. Tucson Citizen-The Citizen On the Town: Your Week End Magazine “What’s With This Guy?” 28 January 1961. P. 15.


16 According to the cultural anthropologist, Edward W. Said, “Ideas, cultures, and histories cannot seriously be understood or studi ed without their force of configurations of power also being studied.”28 De Grazia’s attitudes toward art were clearly formed by his early childhood experiences; however, events we re taking place in the art world and across the United States that also had significant im pact on his manner of production and choice of audience. His working cla ss background and cultural prefer ences may have isolated him from an elite art world, but hi s ability to tap into a growing mass culture indus try ultimately created opportunity. He was able to maintain control or agency over his own success while taking advantage of a popular vehicl e to introduce his ar t to the public. De Grazia fully expected to follow in his father’s and gr andfather’s footpaths in the mining industry and actually did so following graduation from high school. When the mines closed during the Depression years of th e 1930’s, however, he followed another path and enrolled at the University of Arizona in 1933. The mines in Morenci would reopen, but De Grazia continued his acad emic studies, eventually earn ing three degrees by 1945; two undergraduate degrees (Bachelor of Arts in Music Education in 1944 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1945), in addition to a Masters of Arts Degree in 1945. This was quite an academic accomplishment for that time period. In 1929, three out of four Americans did not get beyond the eighth grade, let alone graduate from college.29 In the 1940’s, only 4.6% of th e population in the United States ages 25 and over had graduated from college In comparison, by 1970, 10.7% of the population had earned a college degree, and to day only 25% of Americans possess one or 28 Said, Edward. As quoted in Richter. P. 12. 29 Leuchtenberg, William. A Troubled Feast: American Society Since 1945 Boston: Little Brown. 1973. P. 49.


17 more college degrees.30 De Grazia had come a long wa y from the days he thought he was destined to be a miner. For De Grazia, exposure to the world of academia served to hi ghlight rather than erase his rough-cut rural roots and cultural pr eferences. He consciously refused to use his advanced education, and later his economic su ccess, to try to break out of the social systems with which he identifie d and belonged. He emphatically stated that he painted for the masses and not only for the elite few who could affo rd original art. Ted De Grazia had already begun his studies at the Un iversity of Arizona when Clement Greenberg’s 1939 essay “Avant-Garde and Kitsch” appeared in Partisan Review, warning the art world against the onslaught of mass-produced art; i.e., kitsch. Greenberg felt that bad art would drive out good and that the art world was in danger of disappearing altogether. He was especially critical of ma gazine cover art (De Grazia’s popularity as an artist increased with his exposure in side and on the covers of many Arizona Highways magazines between the years 1941 to 1982). Greenberg was at the opposite end of the ideological chart from De Grazia, positing co mplicated and cerebral highbrow art for the few against simple and undemanding low or middlebrow art which was mass-produced for the middle-class majority. Greenberg influentially labeled the production of mass culture for the public, “kitsch,” which he defi ned as “popular, comm ercial art and literature...magazine covers, illustrations...”31 He called upon an avant-garde to re sist the hegemony of capitalist massproduction. De Grazia, on the ot her hand, felt that an elite few should not dictate aesthetic criteria. 30 U.S. Census Bureau Decennial Census of Population, 1940 to 2000 Internet Release date: April 6, 2006. 31 Greenberg, Clement. Art and Culture: Critical Essays 1965 Boston: Beacon Paperback. 1989. P. 11.


18 It is significant that De Grazia was atte mpting to make a name for himself as an artist and at the same time an ideological ar gument was being made against the aesthetics of a bourgeois public who wanted an art th ey could afford and understand. Modern technology provided the means fo r mass produced magazines and artifacts while an eager consumer market, with newfound leisure time on their hands, sought ways to display their items of conspicuous consump tion. Mass production of maga zines and artifacts made it possible for the average person to emulat e the wealthy by acquiring art. After World War II, the aver age person had more discretionary income to spend on cultural acquisitions like novels (paperbacks became popular with the middle-class), concerts (records were mass produced) and art (re prints of original art were mass produced along with pictures in magazines which were suitable for framing.) The affluent society “gratified uncritical admirers of the American way as much as it depressed the mordant mandarins who watched over the country’s aesthetic well-being.”32 The avant-garde critics were not pleased with the in flux of mass-produced art, or kitsch, which was flooding the consumer market. Previously, criteria for memb ership into elite upper-cla ss society had always been determined by wealth or nobility The prosperity of the Post WWII years brought an increase in wealth and purchasi ng power to the middle class. However, increase in income was not equivalent to increas e in class position. “Lateral mobility,” exemplified by owning a better car or more expensive house repl aced the “upward mob ility” concept of the “American Dream.”33 Wealth alone no longer implied worldliness or sophistication, for while, “...the newly rich were vying for pres tige with an established aristocracy, certain 32 Leuchtenberg. 64. 33 Leuchtenberg. P. 52.


19 forms of symbolic goods and the connoisseur ship required for their appreciation were valued highly because such cultural capital was a way of asserting the status of the traditional ruling class.”34 Connoisseurship, not money alone, became a standard to delineate cultured versus uncultured or common individuals. Greenberg felt that the common person, middle-class and middle-brow, could never appreciate highbrow avant-garde art, which took time and intellectual study, not money, to understand. Ru ssell Lynes’ article “Highbrow, Lowbrow, Middlebrow” appeared in the February 1949 issue of Harper’s Magazine declaring that “social change in America had evolved to the point where...prestige had finally come to be based more on taste than on wealth or breeding.”35 He maintained that “millionaires could be low-brows in cultural affi nity while high-brows tended to be in “ill-paid” professions, notably the academic...”36 The snobbishness of the blue-blood society had been replaced by intellectual snobbery and elitism. It wa s against this snobbis hness and pretentiousness that De Grazia set out to survive as an artist. De Grazia soon discovered ho w difficult it was to break into the elite art world. His early years of trying to sell his paintings himsel f were unsuccessful. His first gallery was at an intersection on one of Tucson’s main street s, and he would try to attract customers by propping his paintings outside—sometimes leavin g them outside all ni ght long. He would be disappointed the next day when they would all still be there, complaining that “people wouldn’t even steal them.”37 He could not find a gallery in Tucson to represent him, and 34 Richter. P. 1215-16. 35 Lynes, Russell. “Highbrow, Lowbrow, Middlebrow.” Harpers Magazine February 1949. P. 19. 36 Lynes, Russell. P. 20. 37 Martin, J. C. Arizona Daily Star “De Grazia at 69.” Section J. 12 June 1977. P. 1.


20 his offers for comprehensive showings of hi s work were turned do wn, even by his alma mater, the University of Arizona.38 His later success, in spite of this rejec tion, made him critical of the art world. In a 1952 article he submitted to a Tu cson newspaper, he complained about the jury system for art shows. He vowed that he would never submit to that system and that the “Lord is the only true judge of my work.”39 One of De Grazia’s str ongest characteristics was his unwavering belief in himself and his artistic talent. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno noted that many in the middle class and middle class cultural groups in mid-twentieth cen tury America had the same attitude as De Grazia. In their essay, “The Culture Industr y: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,” they wrote: “The connoisseur and the expert are de spised for their pretentious claim to know better than the others even though culture is democratic and distributes its privileges to all.”40 Frustrated at the art world that would not accept him, De Grazia continued to paint and found a market with which he identified and that he embraced —mainstream America. He ameliorated his marginalized status as an outsider in the art world by finding a niche in the kitsch market. By targeti ng this market, he wa s able to take himself from a place of having no power and no appreciation, to a pl ace where he was appreciated, and where he exerted complete power and control. The surge in mass production after the wa r and the euphoria of prosperity brought about by the consumer culture affected the way De Grazia ultimately would promote his art. Increased leisure activity in the form of family vacations brought thousands to Arizona 38 Arizona Daily Star DeGrazia: “The Irreverent Angel.” 1971. Copied from Arizona Historical Society, Tucson Library Archives. 39 De Grazia, Ted. “Artist De Grazia Thinks Painters Should Paint.” July 7, 1952. Article copied from Tucson Museum of Art ephemeral file on De Grazia. Newspape r clipping did not identify name of newspaper. 40 Horkheimer, Max and Theodor Adorno. Dialectic of Enlightenment New York: Continuum. 1998. P. 134.


21 in their family cars. De Gr azia entered into a partnership with the tourist market by offering inexpensive reproductions of his art for sale as souvenirs. He did this consciously, and as a serious businessman, even paying for business advice on how to market his early books. Ada McCormick, publisher of LETTER a successfully done local (Tucson) journal—“published for a high purpose...light hearted and without pretence [sic] or front...”41 mentored De Grazia in the business of publishing. Always the storyteller, with a good eye for businesses, De Grazia wrote and illustrated several small books and desired to market them to tourists. McCormick suggested that “an envelope with a drawing of [De Grazia’s] own and a statement such as: ‘De Grazia Book Souvenir of Tucson’ or ‘o f the Southwest’ or ‘of the West’ or ‘of America’ would help [De Grazia’s] new booklet to sell in gift shops.”42 (It is interesting that she noted that the same book could be a souvenir of “Tucson” or “America” or anywhere in between!) De Gr azia paid $200.00 for this advice and took control of his own creative instincts. He would pursue his own a udience as an artist. He did not need the approval of the avant-garde critics. De Grazia enjoyed the fact that the public could acquire his work without having to pay expensive prices, and he deli ghted in the fact that he c ould make a living at being an artist. While Greenberg argued that art was being degraded, De Grazia was selling large quantities of items in his gallery for inexpensive, affordable prices. Ron Bu tler, writer and author of Dancing Alone in Mexico and De Gr azia’s friend states “De Grazia said he made 41 Reid, Ira De A. Phylon “Persons and Places.”1945 Vol. 6, No. 3. p 277. Retrieved online Dec. 6, 2006. 42 McCormick, Ada. Letter to Ted De Grazia dated Februa ry 9, 1951. Copied from University of Arizona Special Collections.


22 $140,000 a year in magnets, alone.”43 The value of an inexpens ive souvenir may represent the tastes of popular culture and not appeal to the aesthetics of high-brow avant-garde devotees, but to a tourist on a tight budget, the value of a magnet or picture card is not in the cost; it is in the memory. Fine art, which was also us ually expensive, was becoming less and less accessible to the general public. De Grazia sold reprints of his popular art to those who were being excluded fr om the realm of the wealthy, and they appreciated it. The middle-class consumers, like De Grazia, knew wh at they liked without being told. Similar to De Grazia, his customers did not n eed the approval of the intelligencia. De Grazia’s blue collar background formed his attitudes toward art and he chose to appeal to a middle class population—a ch oice which ultimately compromised his reputation as an elite artist. Pierre Bourdieu states in his essay, “The Market of Symbolic Goods” that “middle-brow art is aimed at a public frequently referre d to as average…these works are entirely defined by their public.”44 In other words, art aimed at an average market is average art. It is true that De Grazia made a conscious decision to assign his work to the technical and aesthetic preferences of the average person A newsletter from his gallery in Arizona plainly states, “Thos e who knew Ted DeGrazia are aware of his philosophy that art in any form no matter how simple, produced a creative partnership with the public.”45 De Grazia knew his market well and as a businessman took complete control of the ways in which his art was promoted. Rich Br own, owner of Sunstone Creations in Phoenix 43 Author interview with Ron Butler. Tucson, Arizona. 30 Aug. 2006. 44 Richter, P. 1242. 45 DeGrazia News: Official Newsletter of the Gallery in the Sun, A Place of Art and History Winter 2003. P. 2.


23 represented De Grazia and sold the artist’s pr ints. He remembers disagreeing with De Grazia about the commercial merits of certain paintings: Ted and I had gone ‘round and round’ about wh at I wanted to print. He wanted me to do bullfighters...religious scenes...e ven a pink mouse eatin g a watermelon. He wanted me to print that mouse and I sai d, ‘Ted, that’s not going to sell for me.’ And he said, ‘Just watch.’ So, a busload of people was coming and he went over to meet them. And, of course, the first question that most people ask is, ‘What’s your favorite painting?’ And he said, ‘this pink mouse eating a watermelon.’ So twenty people bought a print and he came back to me and said, ‘See?’46 De Grazia’s resourceful marketing instincts along with his unique sense of creativity ensured his ability to make money. De Grazia made sure th at he was never again to be as poor as he was as a child. The fact that he was able to mass produce and commercialize gave De Grazia financial equality with the Establishment and allo wed him to have the independence to reject it. He was able to c onform and to non-conform at the same time. He was able to be in control of his own fi nancial success. His financial success enabled him to concentrate on his own uni que expressionistic style. Throughout this time, De Grazia conti nued to paint serious works depicting the Spanish explorers and their enco unters with Arizona tribes and the changes that contact wrought in terms of religious beliefs and practices. These paintings, though more substantive in subject matter, are less familiar to the general public. Even though different examples appeared in the Arizona Highways magazine over the y ears, they are less well remembered. But, these paintings had great significance to De Grazia. They are the paintings he chose to hang in his gallery on a permanent and/or seasonal basis. 46 De Grazia’s Borderlands Sketches: Native People of Arizona and Sonora as Drawn by Ted DeGrazia Tucson: The Southwest Center. 1997. P. 22.


24 More popular to the general public were De GraziaÂ’s colorful drawings and paintings of children and little angels who frequently gr aced the holiday covers and decorated the pages of many Arizona Highways magazines. From an economic point of view, De GraziaÂ’s association with Arizona Highways gave him continuous exposure and assured a steady market for his note cards, magnets, prints and books.


25 Chapter Three: Tourism and Arizona Highways Magazine De Grazia lived at a time when cultural demographics and lifestyles in the United States and Arizona were changing dramatica lly. Families spent mo re leisure time on family vacations and were able to travel, inexpensively, in the family car. Nationally, salaries increased and the number of hours of the work week decreased; the baby boom began and the station wagon became an icon of American family t ogetherness. This automobile tourist market was recognized early on as a viable income producing enterprise and many states set out to highlight their regions as worthy vacation destinations. These changes, caused and influenced by post-World War II prosperity, coincided with De Grazia’s development as an artist. He was able to take advantage of the vehicles of modernity to achieve economic independe nce by targeting a hungry tourist market— Americans who had more leisure time and di scretionary income than ever before. Prior to World War II, Arizona offered few amenities other than a “splendid winter climate” and easy access via rail route to the visitor or new resident.47 Tucson and Arizona’s sunny and healthy climate had long been promoted in “medical and popular journals,”48 and were popular destina tions for people with respir atory illnesses. Tourists originally came by train to Tucson, lured th ere by concerted efforts of economic minded 47 Kimmelman, Alex. The Journal of Arizona History “Luring the Tourist to Tucson: Civic Promotion During the 1920s.” Summer, 1987 (Volume 28, Number 2) Tucson: Arizona Historical Society. P. 135. 48 Kimmelman. P. 136.


26 citizens as early as the 1920s. However, civic boosters of the 1920s wished to expunge the idea of Tucson as a place for sick people an d began to advertise the city as a “winter vacation spot.”49 Tucson’s entry into the winter tourist market was “both representative and unique for its time...In the early 1920s, few municipalities outside of southern California and southern Florida promoted tourism.”50 Tucson’s promoters realized that the wide open landscape of southern Arizona would please the inhabitants of crowded cities back east. They adopted an advertising stra tegy similar to one used in San Diego, targeting tourists who had the means to come a nd stay for several months.51 The invention and subsequent manufacture of the automobile, popularized and revolutionized by Henry Ford, had a powerful effect on the tourism industry. Pe rsonal automobiles gave American drivers independence and control over their chosen destin ations. This was especially important to the tourism industry which could entice travelers further into their towns to experience the local culture (for sale by the busload). Initially, not everyone could afford, or even wanted a car. Owners of the first motor vehicles, which were expensive and unrelia ble toys for the rich, shared the road with horse and carriage.52 Drivers needed to carry spare part s and a full set of tools as they took their chances on the rough ungrad ed or graveled roads. In 1903, the speed limit in Tucson was 7 mph and it was not rais ed to 10 mph until 1913—still t oo slow for many to justify trading in their horse-driven carriage. 49 Kimmelman. P. 136. 50 Kimmelman. P. 135. 51 Kimmelman. P. 138. 52 Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies New York: W. W. Norton & Company. 1999. P. 243.


27 Eventually, better road c onditions improved the quality of the driving experience while technology improved the quality an d speed of automobi les. In 1925, Arizona Highways magazine was established to “[tell] the people and other states of the work being done by the Arizona Highway Department”53 and to entice motorists to travel to the state by car. By 1927, more tourists were arriving at the Grand Canyon by automobile than by railroad.54 After World War II, the availability of eas y credit terms democra tized travel for the middle class consumer by making a car affordab le to everyone. In 1956, Congress took the first steps toward building a national, li mited-access highway system to facilitate highspeed travel.55 The government sponsored interstate highway system, signed by President Eisenhower in 1956, gave the country good roads on which to travel. No longer dependent on train schedules to predetermined destinations, the traveler was free to get off the beaten path to explore at his own leisure, stay ing as long or as little as he wanted. Eventually, the tourism industry in Ariz ona overtook the copper, cotton, and cattle industries as the leading factor in the state’s economy. Visitors needed hotels, restaurants, places to go, and things to buy along the way. Coincidi ng with the appearance of a prosperous middle-class culture, the consumer ma rket of products and services was already soaring as businesses sought to keep up with th e number of babies bo rn between the boom years of 1946-1964. As the number of child ren per family grew from a pre-war two per 53 Riley, Sam G. and Gary Selnow, Ed.. Regional Interest Magazines of the United States New York: Greenwood Press. 1991. P. 11. 54 Sheridan, Thomas. Arizona: A History Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 1995. P. 239. 55 Leuchtenburg. P. 47.


28 family to post-war four or more, short-term credit made it easy to add the family station wagon as a second car.56 Travel conditions were improving while workers were enjoying longer vacations and had more time for leisure activities. By the 1960’s almost all workers could count on an annual paid vacation (which most had not received in 1940) and the typical vacation ran at least two weeks, contrasted with one week on the ev e of World War II.57 These conditions created a demand for thin gs to do; and states were co ming up with ways to lure the tourist to spend time (and money) in their re gions. Amidst all th e tourists and visitors to Arizona, permanent residents were moving to Arizona as well. W ithin the span of De Grazia’s lifetime, the population of Arizona in creased from just ove r 200,000 in 1920 to well over 2,000,000 in 1980. (In Phoenix alone, the po pulation jumped from 65,000 in 1940 to 439,000 in 1960.)58 These increases in populati on coincided with De Grazia’s efforts to make a name for hi mself as an artist, and he wa s prepared to offer these new consumers a sampling of items to purchase as souvenirs. Arizona Highways and the Impact of Tourism “Wherever water flows, civilization grows .” Author unknown “Civilization Follows th e Improved Highway.” Arizona Highways59 De Grazia’s financial succe ss was not strictly due to hi s ability to market himself but on his innate ability to make a connectio n with a diverse group of people including 56 Leuchtenberg. P. 43. 57 Leuchtenberg. P. 47. 58 Leuchtenburg. P. 41. 59 Riley, Sam G. and Gary Selnow, Ed. Regional Interest Magazines of the United States New York: Greenwood Press. 1991. P. 11.; Arizona Highways Phoenix: Arizona Highway Department Vol. 18, No. 7. July 1942. P. 3.


29 Native, Mexican and middle-class Americans. He never spent m oney on advertising.60 His personal and long time friendship wi th Raymond Carlson, the editor of Arizona Highways magazine for over 33 years, ensured the visibility of his art. Carlson, like De Grazia, was the son of a mine r, and like De Grazia was a college graduate. Both men immediately took a liking to each other. A de scription of Carlson sounds remarkably like a description of De Grazia: Carlson grew to be a powerful yet enigma tic figure in the Southwest, variously described as brilliant, shrewd, uncommun icative, straight forward, visionary, reclusive, and hard to get along with. With a mystic ’s love for the physical Arizona, his was a clear vision of the ki nd of magazine that would extol its beauties. His special genius was to know what his reader s wanted and to give it to them—chiefly in spectacular art and photography.61 Peter Aleshire, Editor of Arizona Highways confirms Carlson’s and De Grazia’s close relationship: “I did hear recently that wh en Mr. Carlson was imp overished and dwindling away in a nursing home that Mr. DeGrazia paid the monthly medical b ills, which speaks to the close relationship between the men.” Ales hire adds, “One of the reasons Mr. Carlson was such a crucial figure was the way in whic h he mentored the careers of writers, artists and photographers during Highways ’ glory years.”62 Raymond Carlson became the first non-en gineer to run the magazine when he became editor in 1938.63 The magazine was originally published in black and white, and began printing color photographs inside its co vers in December 1940. The following year, the magazine began giving exposure to De Grazia’s art for the first time. 60 Butler. Author interview. 61 Riley. P. 13-14. 62 Aleshire, Peter, Ed. Arizona Highways E-mail correspondence between Aleshire and author dated August 2, 2006. 63 Online. Arizona Highways “Gateway to an Inspiring La nd.” P. 3. Retrieved 8 Jan 2005.


30 De Grazia’s financial success and reputati on as an artist was positively reinforced by his friendship with Carl son and his exposure in Arizona Highways magazine. De Grazia’s association with the magazine facilita ted his success as an artist by validating his art with a degree of auth enticity. De Grazia and Arizona Highways targeted the same audience or consumer; i.e., the middle-class au tomobile tourist. Th e magazine highlighted De Grazia’s off the beaten path gallery as a tourist destination and praised his skill as an artist. In return, De Grazia’s popular illustrati ons helped magazine sale s. In its fiftieth anniversary issue (April 1975), the magazine pr esented a retrospective of popular artists who had appeared in its pages and said: “Sin ce [De Grazia’s] first exposure in the early 1940’s, [his] art has made more fr iends and sold more copies of Arizona Highways than [all the other popular artists] combined.”64 The magazine format was warm and frie ndly, even folksy. Editor Carlson’s monthly letter to the readers used informal language in telling the reader about the content inside each issue. In 1942, uplifting a war torn nation by talkin g about the Salt River Valley irrigation project as a great triumph of (American) man, he said, “…In the article appearing in this issue of Arizona Highways and in subsequent articles we’ll get all the drama, all the romance, all th e disappointments and all the tr iumphs that ha ve been written in connection with the greatest irrigation projec t ever conceived by hu mble man. This is good and inspiring reading for Americans these days. We can crow t oo, you know…” He ended that month’s letter by saying, “We wish you health and happine ss as ever. And if you can’t get out this year to drive along our highways into this Land of the Sun we hope you’ll let us drop in again soon and take you westward through the pages of our little book. 64 Arizona Highways Magazine Phoenix: Arizona Department of Transporta tion. April, 1975. 35. Artists mentioned in the article include: Nicolai Fech in, John Hilton, R. Brownell McGrew, Larry Toschick and Ross Santee.


31 So long!”65 A year and a half later, in the Se ptember/October issue of 1943, he bid the readers a longer adieu as he was no longe r a “name, but a number” in “Uncle Sam’s Army...” and was destined for action in the P acific. He hoped to drop them a card from Tokyo.66 Arizona Highways was, and still is, published by th e Arizona Highway Department. When the magazine was first published, the nation had 500,000 miles of paved roads of which Arizona could only claim to have “2 ,000 miles of ‘better-than-average graded, graveled or paved’ roads.”67 (In fact, only 219 of those miles were paved.)68 If Arizona did not seem quite “civilized” by highway standa rds, it gave visitors a chance to see the wild and natural condition of a st ate that seemed that much le ss spoiled and more appealing to a traveler looking for a real Western experience. The West, as depicted and romanticized in the early days of television, fascinated the American population with its beauty and wide open spaces. The land was portrayed as beautiful but brutal, the cowboys and the I ndians were valiant, honest, and more than a match for the brutal land. The “good” Indian s of television land and movie land were those who helped the white man conquer the “bad” Indians who stole from and murdered good Americans.69 Many American citizens were unfamilia r with the history of the Southwest and were intrigued by Native American cultures. Prior to the 1950s, it was not common for people to venture far from home and family. Someone from Indiana (which means “the 65 Carlson, Ray. Arizona Highways July 1942. P. 3. 66 Riley. P. 13. 67 Riley. P. 11. 68 Sheridan. P. 239. 69 Berkhofer, Robert F. The White Man’s Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to Present New York: Vintage Books. 1979. P. 98.


32 land of Indians”), for instance, may have ne ver met a “real” Indian. If all of their information came from television, then they had never seen one either. The Western theme of dude ranches and rodeos with cowboys (and cowgirls) was of popular interest in the early issues of Arizona Highways Stories and photos in Arizona Highways presented an exotic land full of beauty and diverse cultural experiences in which a visitor or tourist could participate. Beauti ful photographs of the grandeur of the natural scenery filled the pages. Natu re hikes, fishing, and skiing were high lighted as popular activities in which a visitor could easily particip ate. The July 1942 issue had a lead article highlighting the “Smoki” peopl e, a group of white men and women “who have consecrated themselves to the cause of perpetuating the an cient, legendary dances, chants and folklore of the Indians of the Southwest.”70 In retrospect, a story of white people representing “Indians of the Southwest” who were still around and fully capable of representing themselves seems ludicrous, but the myth of the disa ppearing Native American was believed by many. The disappe arance was believable because the Native Americans were invisible and absent, for the most part, in representations to and experiences of the American public. De Grazia’s colorful and whimsical ar t depicting Native Americans was given a widespread distribution amongst the readers of Arizona Highways who found his art charming and emotionally appea ling. At a time when c onditions on Native American reservations were deplorable, with the United States trying to terminate the reservation system across the nation, De Gr azia depicted Native Americans as colorful and beautiful, simple and uncontaminated by the problem s of the modern worl d. His depiction, 70 Arizona Highways July 1942. P. 1.


33 contradictory to reality, gave vi sibility to these cultural groups whom he also felt were in danger of disappearing due to Governmental re gulations and the intr usion of the modern world. De Grazia, especially through his seri ous art, was able to present the cultural groups as human, devout in their religious practices an d their spirituality. Their beliefs transcend the changes introduced by colonizing cultures and bind them as a community. The relationship between Arizona Highways magazine and De Grazia is not unlike the relationship between the Saturday Evening Post and Norman Rockwell. Both magazines presented an optimistic version of America that eliminated difficult or controversial subjects. Americans had suffer ed through the Depre ssion years and World War II and did not want to be reminded of th e dark side of life. They were focused on themselves. Author Loren Baritz noted: “After being coerced by external and impersonal events for so long, [Americans] now demanded control of their private lives...[they] went in quest of the prosaic—small, domestic, personal daily events.”71 Illustrations by Norman Rockwell whose work regularly a ppeared on the covers of the Saturday Evening Post charmed consumers with romantic images of family life and childhood events which were universally recognizable, making the common man seem heroic. De Grazia’s appeal crossed cultural bounda ries, but is reinforced by the myths surrounding the man himself— many for which he is resp onsible and many of which Arizona Highways reinforced. He was photogenic, with a creative and charismatic personality, which played out we ll in the pages of the magazine. Ra ymond Carlson and De Grazia both profited from their long and lasting personal and professional friendship. De Grazia’s popular illustrations added color and interest to the articles of the magazine. 71 Baritz, Loren. The Good Life: The Meaning of Success for the American Middle Class New York: Knopf 1982. P. 182-83.


34 The magazine served as the vehicle for peopl e throughout the world to see the unique land and cultures of Arizona. Succeedi ng editors of the magazine c ontinued to use De Grazia’s work in the magazine until the artist’s death in 1982. Even after hi s death, De Grazia’s illustrations appeared on Arizona Highways calendars and note cards that the magazine offered for sale. Art of De Grazia and Arizona Highways De Grazia’s early works, which did not se ll well, are extremely different in style from the later body of work fo r which he is popularly known. The early works, some of which appeared in the February 1941 issue of Arizona Highways make social statements about oppression, bordering on avant-garde subj ect matter. Although it can be generally declared that his early works are “rough,” on e could get a sense of where he was going. 72 In those early days, De Grazia was looking fo r his own voice and experimenting with the different techniques originated by artists su ch as Van Gogh, Gaugui n, and Thomas Hart Benton. For instance, De Grazia’s 1936 painting entitled, Mining (Fig. 7.) demonstrates his understanding of Benton’s brand of American Regionalism shown in Steel (Fig. 8.), honoring the worker. De Grazia’s triptych is painted in black and white and shows the effects of a modern industrial world. In the first panel, smoke stacks emit pollution while the lone worker, faceless and a nonymous in full-body protective gear, is working. Links of chains from the industrial machines hang above his head, figura tively chaining him to his position in life. The second panel highlights the machines of industry in the foreground 72 Paula Lee, Ph. D. and Gladys Kashdin, Ph. D., January, 2006. Author Interview.


35 while the faceless throng of laborers is faci ng away from the viewer as it enters the mineshaft. In both the first and second pane ls, the worker is dehumanized and devalued anonymous and interchangeable with any other laborer as a link in the chain. Finally, in the third panel, the strong, chis eled miner is given a face and takes center stage, his body almost completely fillin g the canvas while he operates the hydraulic hammer. Mindful of his own heritage as a third generation mi ner, De Grazia honors the laborer by demonstrating that it is the worker who op erates the machine and without whom the corporation not could survive. De Grazia’s affinity for the oppressed is also demonstrated in the painting entitled Defeat (Fig. 9.) that appeared in the Arizona Highways in February of 1941, introducing De Grazia to the public for the first time. This painting shows the infl uence of Diego Rivera and Jose Orozco who used art as a “vital weapon against class struggle”73 and with whom he studied in Mexico City in the early 1940s It shows a Mexican woman, head defiantly looking out at the viewer, mout h turned down, being led down the street to an uncertain future by soldados with big guns. 73 Doss, Erika. Benton, Pollock, and the Politics of Modernism: From Regionalism to Abstract Expressionism 1991 Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1995. P. 119. Figure 7. Mining, 1936, De Grazia Figure 8. Steel Thomas Hart Benton


36 The influence of Impressionist artists li ke Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh can also be seen in the early work of De Grazia. De Grazia ad mired the way Ga uguin, one of his favorite artists, traveled to Tahiti to live among and paint the nativ e people. In 1947, De Grazia painted Isthmus Tehuantepec (Fig. 10.) which is remarkably similar to Gauguin’s Beneath the Pandanus Tree (Fig. 11.) painted in 1891. In the 1948 painting entitled Ranchita (Fig. 12.), De Grazia demonstrates the influence of Van Gogh as he portrays th ree women in a disturbingly distorted and disfiguring manner. The wome n are wearing jewels and make-up but are barefoot and disheveled. The woman in the mi ddle is exposing much of he r thigh while the one on the right is exposing her breasts. The background space is a black a byss. It is clear that these women are prostitutes. Their “business” app ears to be one of seduc tion—a topic that the avant-garde artist of the 1950s might tackle bu t surely not the mainstream artist who was trying to appeal to the masse s in post-WWII America. Sexua l tension was a controversial subject that was not meant for public consumption. Figure 9. D efeat 1940 Figure 10. I sthmus Tehuantep ec, 1947


37 While De GraziaÂ’s early wo rks make a social statemen t by concentrating on the conditions of the oppressed, the general public only remembers De GraziaÂ’s paintings and illustrations that are aesthetically free from any dark or distur bing signs of political controversy or social statement. The tran sition in style was immediate and dramatic. Illustrations like Young Hoop Dancer (Fig. 13.) and Festival of Lights the little Indian girl holding a menorah (a Jewish Indian?) (Fig. 14.) decorated the pages of Arizona Highways in the 1960s. People l oved his whimsical pain tings of little Indian children with two little dots for eyes and another for th e mouth. Many of the figures only had eyes and some faces were entirely blank. Wh en his painting entitled Los Nios (Fig. 15.) was selected in 1960 to be reproduced as a UNICEF Christmas car d, De GraziaÂ’s art found an international audience that liked his paintings of Native Am erican children. As a Christmas card, it sold Figure 11. B eneath the Pandanus Tree 1891 Paul Gauguin Figure 12 R anchita 1948 De Grazia


38 by the millions for several years.74 It touched upon the universal sentiment for children and kept a fairly consistent level of popularity. Figure 13. Figure 14. Young Hoop Dancer 1958 Festival of Lights 1965 If one is cognizant of the events in th e United States of the late 1940Â’s and 1950Â’s, then it is apparent that De Grazia was enjoyi ng the commercial success of mass production. He has been called the Disney of Southwest Art because of his output of happy, sweet, nostalgic appearing illustrations of Native Amer ican children. These illustrations appeared in the pages of Arizona Highways and in the form of souveni rs in gift shops across the Southwest, including his own gallery. During this period of time, the Native American reservations were having many problems. De Grazia had first hand knowledge of those conditions; as an adult his closest compani ons were the Yaqui Indians who helped him build his home and gallery an d mission in the hills. By ro manticizing an d commodifying the Native American culture, De Grazia subjected himself to criticism that he intentionally misled the public for his ow n personal gain. The highbrow art critics accused artists like De Grazia, Norman Rockwell a nd other popular artists, who pa inted for a mass audience, 74 Online. Retrieved 13 Oct. 2003.


39 of pandering to common or second-rate, ignorant tastes... mass produced art that was all emotion with no substance. Figure 15. Los Nios 1957 Dr. Carol Locust, Director of Education at the De Gr azia Gallery in the Sun, maintains that while De Grazia was aware of the conditi ons on the reservations through personal relationships and first-hand experience “he would never be so disrespectful as to depict the Native American conditions as degrading.”75 Locust, a Native American (Cherokee) maintains that th ere are fundamental difference s in the way Native American Indians and non-Indians look at things. She advi ses that De Grazia’s paintings take on a different meaning when viewed from the perspective of a Native American. For example, a painting of a child flying a kite (Fig. 16.) might appear cute or whimsical to an Anglo. Howeve r, a Native American would see the print and be aware that the child could not be flying that kite alone—tha t an adult or older child would have helped the child get it in the air. Kite string is something that need s to be purchased, so an adult 75 Locust, Carol, Ph. D. Author interview. August, 2006.


40 would have to provide or purchase the string fo r the childÂ’s use. Newspaper or paper bags would be recycled to make the kite and an ol der sibling or family member would take the child out to find the twigs to make the frame. The seem ingly whimsical painting is a metaphor for a network that in volves family and community.76 The painting and others like it, according to Locust, is also something that can be found decorating the walls in tribal health centers an d homes on reservations.77 A very different example of profound and powerful meaning in a painting of a papoose (Fig. 17.) was also offered by Dr. Locust whose doctorate is in education, specializing in communication. On an occas ion, while she was working with a young autistic boy who was completely non-verbal, Dr. Locust showed the child a picture of the De Grazia My Very Own Papoose She pointed first, to the papoose, then to the child, and back again to the papoose. Then she made a cradle with her arms as if she was lovingly rocking a baby, letting the child know that he was lovable like the ba by. The boy reacted visibly and indicated an interest for her to co ntinue her mimetic activity She then took out a photo of Ted De Grazia, made a drawin g motion with her hand while moving it, alternately, between the picture of the papoose and the photo, indicating that De Grazia had drawn the picture. The little boy reached for the photo of De Grazia and hugged it to his chest, gently cradling it like a papoose, and walked around with it for the rest of the visit with Dr. Locust.78 76 Ibid. 77 Locust. 78 Locust.


41 De Grazia reaches people on many different levels. One of his fans is a retired Vietnam veteran who acquired an original De Grazia midnight sketch of a clown over 30 years ago. Ginger Boyce-Rogers a nurse in the United States Army, was stationed at the VeteransÂ’ Hospital in Tucson, Arizona in the 1970s. She befriended one of her patients who had an acquaintance within the De Grazia circle of friend s. The patient had acquired the midnight sketch and insisted on giving it as collateral to Ginger in appreciation for a $200.00 loan she gave him the night before she left for duty in the Philippines. She returned to Tucson several years later and tried to find the patient to return the sketch. He had disappeared. She saved the sketch, carefu lly preserved and valued and later had it authenticated at the De Gr azia Gallery in the Sun. Ginger is a charming, wa rm, positive, friendly person who is well ed ucated, has traveled around the world, comp liments of Uncle Sam, and jo ined big game hunts with her husband. Her home is full of ex otic and priceless treasurers from her travels. The pleasure she derives from De GraziaÂ’s art is contagious and palpable. A De Grazia print, one of a Native American girl at an an tique sewing machine, is proudl y displayed on the wall in her Figure 16. F lying a Kite Figure 17. My Very Own Papoose


42 “De Grazia yellow” sewing room above Ginger’ s own antique sewing machine. Arizona holds special memories for her and De Grazia’s art reminds her of her experiences there. Ginger lives in Florida now, but the colors in the De Grazia print remind her of her fondness for Arizona. Native American and Mexican ceremonies abound with color that served as inspirations to De Grazia’s painterly palette. Glorious evening sunsets are a rule rather than an exception. A comparis on of a painting of an Apache hunter beside a photograph of a Native American horseman that appeared in Arizona Highways reveals the red background in the painting is a mimesis of the red sky of an Arizona sunset (Fig. 18. and Fig. 19.) Colors in the painting of the Little Drummer Boy (1958) (Fig. 20.) are remarkably like the colors in the photogr aph of a Mexican drummer youth that appeared in the August, 1987 issue of Arizona Highways (Fig. 21.) The 1987 phot ograph appeared after De Figure 18. A pache, De Grazia A rizona Highways July 1962 Figure 19. D ay’s End in Navajo Land Ray Manley A rizona Highways December 1957


43 Grazia’s death in 1983, but the colors of the re gion are transcendent of time and space and captured in the painting by De Grazia. Native American and Mexican children were favorite subjects of De Grazia’s. The public purchased reproductions of his art wo rk in the form of posters, note cards, refrigerator magnets, and collector’s plates an d ceramic figurines. The artist’s professional reputation suffered, however, as the critics considered hi s paintings of children too obviously commercial to be important. De Grazia made a conscious decision to stop painting children after the success of Los Nios Aware of the criticis m, he said, “I had decided not to paint children agai n. But we went to Guatemal a and there was a little girl of six or seven, standing on a corner, boiling coffee Beautiful! I liked that beloved little kid and just had to paint little kids again.”79 79 Redl, Harry. The World of De Grazia: An Ar tist of the American Southwest Phoenix: Chrysalis Publishing, Ltd. 1981. P. 34. Figure 20. L ittle Drummer Bo y 1958 Figure 21. Mexican drummer youth, 1987 A rizona Highways August 1987


44 Historically, there is something about an innocent child that stirs the sentimental feelings of the viewer. The editors of Arizona Highways knew this as well as De Grazia. A beautiful photograph of female child identified as an Apache (F ig. 22.) appeared in the July 1962 issue of the magazine. The photograph could have been an inspiration for De Grazia’s Sunflower Girl released in 1988 as a collecto r’s plate by the DeGrazia Foundation after his death (Fig. 23.) Th e photograph in the magazine por trays a little girl of about 2 years of age, standing in a field of desert brush with mountains in the background. Her hand gingerly surrounds the stalk of a sunflower that is about as tall as she. She is facing the camera, but not looking into it. Her eyes are focused ab ove, and to the side of the camera lens, at someone or something unseen by the viewer. Several more sunflowers are in the background, but not in fo cus. This is obviously a st aged photograph as one can see wooden blocks placed for support at the bottom of the stalk she is holding. The caption for the photo explains further: “Photograph take n in the vegetable garden of the Lutheran Mission on East Fork Road, about four miles fr om Fort Apache. The little Apache girl was very shy and posed for the photographer with reluctance.”80 She is absolutely adorable but the little knit of her eyebrow indicates that she is a little bit anxious or tense about being put into a constructed situation. This particular painting has been reproduced onto an “original” collector’s plate. In an interesting way, this satisfi es a middle-class need for “art” by allowing them to purchase one of only several thousand copies. These plat es are not to be used for consumption of food, but are supposed to be hung on the wall for display, filling a middle-class need for conspicuous consumption which imitates the way the wealthy acquire art. The plates are 80 Arizona Highways Magazine July 1962. 44.


45 collectible and as such are cons idered to be art by the public who purchases them. They are considered “kitsch” though, because they cater to a mass audience that has no sense of “taste.” The problem with the word “kitsch” is the connotation of inferiority and lack of sophistication of both the object and the audien ce to whom it is sold De Grazia’s and Arizona Highways ’ audiences were interested in the su bjects of the stories and pictures depicted in the magazine and in De Grazia’s art. Tourists were interested enough to travel hundreds of miles and spend hundreds of dollars tr ying to absorb as much “culture” as they could in a few days. The fact that the storie s and art were presented in a pleasing manner does not negate the fact that they also served to educate. The hoi polloi were not looking for long scholarly lectures or copies of co mplex government reports; they were looking for something they could understand quickly—not because they were ignorant, per se, but because of time constraints. One can only absorb so much in a given amount of time. Thrusting a heavy-handed lecture onto an uns uspecting consumer who had no previous Figure 22. L ittle Apache Girl Charles Herbert Figure 23. Sunflower Girl De Grazia


46 knowledge of the many diverse cultures in Ariz ona would not be benefi cial. On the other hand, a souvenir may remind them of their visit to Ariz ona where they learned about Native Americans living on reservations. People on vacations are looking for ne w experiences, good times and happy memories. They want an experi ence; they want to be enriche d. De Grazia is too easily dismissed by those critics who turn away once the term “kitsch” is applied to his art. They, like Greenberg, are not only critic izing the art, they are judging the audience as well. De Grazia ensured that his art was introduced as being easily accessible, easily understood by the general public. Once he had their atten tion, he could then introduce his more complex and informative works of art. He had a distinct talent for painting simple pictures that imparted accurate informa tion in memorable ways. There were two sides to De Grazia. Po pular artist De Grazia who painted cute pictures and targeted the gr owing tourist market of 1950s Arizona, was an extremely successful businessman and entrepreneur. Seri ous artist De Grazia was an educator and educated artist who painted thoughtful, but le ss popular, pictures to convey a message. De Grazia was not concerned with boundaries that prevented one group of people from interacting with another just as he was not concerned about the bounda ries between popular art and high art. He saw the physical interactions of differ ent cultural groups and how they came together, figuratively and literally. He interpreted these meetin gs of the different cultural groups as ultimately enriching one another, yet allowing each to remain distinct and separate. He also saw how art coul d communicate and mediate the differences.


47 Chapter Four: De Grazia Gallery in the Sun The Permanent Collection The Gallery in the Sun is part of an adobe complex in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson, Arizona. De Grazia crafted these bu ildings with his own hands out of the dirt of the desert—his Yaqui Indian friends and workers by his side. Together they used the architectural buildi ng methods introduced by the Spanish in the 1600s. Adobe bricks, made out of mud and dr ied by the sun on site, were used as the building material. The buildings are an example of the Sono ran style of architecture and are rectangular in shape with th ick walls and flat roofs. The Gallery houses the permanent collecti on of De Grazia’s original paintings which he created to honor the cu ltural diversity of the people and the history of Arizona. The paintings tell the stories of several distinctly differ ent cultural groups existing and living side by side in the Sonoran Desert. As one wanders through the gallery, each room illustrating a different theme or culture, the complex stories ar e told with simplicity. De Grazia combines the paintings with written texts in a way th at communicates the separate stories of the Arizona cultural landscape, its people and myths. These paintings are not commissioned pieces; but inspired by his personal experiences and augmented by research. They are creative and artistic texts meant to hon or Arizona’s historical past and to pass on its story.


48 De Grazia uses visual images as narratives. He sees Arizona as a place of antiquity embodied by stories, personifi ed by mythologies; and he uses the tools of modernity which enabled him to reproduce and distribute his in terpretations on a world wide basis. He wanted to share these stories w ith the average person. Each of the series of paintings in the permanent collection has been published in book fo rm and a portion, at least, of all of them has appeared within the pages of Arizona Highways Padre Kino Collection It is not an understatement to say that Father Eusebio Francisco Kino is one of the most important people in ArizonaÂ’s history. Kino was a Jesuit missionary sent to Mexico by Spain to expand its empire in the New World in the late 1600s. He traveled extensively and tirelessly throughout Mexico and Arizon a, bringing Christianity to the Native Americans he encountered, but also introducin g them to cattle ranching and new methods of farming and irrigation. W ithout the cruelty of military conquest or forced labor, he established twenty-four missions in his twenty-four years of working in the Southwest and Mexico. He won the confidence and friendships of the Native Americ ans he met along the way. The state of Arizona honored him in 1965 by placing his statue (as one of the two statues every state is invited to place on perman ent display) in the National Statuary Hall of Congress. De Grazia honored Pa dre Kino with twenty painti ngs, each telling a different episode of KinoÂ’s story, helping the viewer, whether visitor or resident, to better understand why Kino was significant to ArizonaÂ’s history.


49 The first showing of the De Grazia Padre Kino collection was at a western conference for the Pioneers’ Hi storical Society (later known as the Arizona Historical Society) in 1961.81 The paintings impressed Jack Cross, historian and director of Arizona Press, who encouraged De Grazia to “make ava ilable sets of reproductions of the paintings to collectors of De Grazia prints and Kino Memorabilia.”82 De Grazia sent one of the sets to Pope John XXIII who thanked De Grazia for the gift. In a letter, the Pope bestowed his Apostolic blessing on De Grazia and his fa mily and sent a commemorative papal medallion.83 Kino’s story begins when he was born in 1 645 in Segno, Italy. He was Italian, like De Grazia. And like De Grazia, he lo ved Arizona and its inhabitants. When Arizona Highways devoted an entire issue to the life of Fa ther Kino in March, 1961, De Grazia was selected as the artist to illustrate the stories “because of the artist’s great interest in the subject.”84 The front and back covers of the magazine depicted De Grazia’s paintings of the Kino story, and another painting was featured in the center of the magazine with a two page spread. De Grazia sketch es, in black and white and in color, decorated the margins and blank areas of most of the other pages. The painting on the front c over of the issue is entitled Padre Kino Enters Altar Valley (Fig. 24.). It is also the first painting of the Kino series on permanent exhibit in the Gallery of the Sun. The painting po rtrays Kino as a solitary figu re, looming larger than life, larger than the grand saguaro cac ti which can grow to a height of forty feet. He is riding a grey horse that seems to be floating above the ground because it has no hooves. Kino was 81 Shaw, Elizabeth. Arizona Daily Star “Kino Exhibit.” October 21. 1962. (T he Arizona Pioneers’ Historical Society changed its name to the Arizona Historical Societ y in 1971.) 82 Shaw, Elizabeth. Arizona Daily Star “Kino Exhibit” October 21, 1962. 83 De Grazia and Padre Kino Tucson: DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun. 1979. Title page. 84 Arizona Highways March, 1961. P. 1.


50 an intrepid horseman, often referred to as th e “Padre on Horseback.” Herbert Bolton noted in his biography of Father Kino that “[Kino] made more than fifty journeys inland, an average of more than tw o per year. These tours varied from a hundred to nearly a thousand miles in length...all made on horseback.”85 Figure 24. Padre Kino Enters Altar Valley From De Grazia and Padre Kino Series The Saguaro cacti place Kino firmly in th e Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona and Mexico, for they are only found within its boundaries. He is carrying the symbol of his trade, a large cross, another hangs around his neck, and another hangs from beads attached to his belt. He has no weapons or need for them. He is we aring a black robe, as befitting a Jesuit priest. De Grazia por trays him with a grey beard (like De Grazia) and a sharp Roman nose (also like De Grazia). Anyone fam iliar with De Grazia’s painting knows that 85 Bolton, Herbert E. Rim of Christendom: A Biography of Eu sebio Francisco Kino, Pacific Coast Pioneer Tucson: University of Arizona Press. P. 588.


51 it was highly unusual for him to indicate these facial features. This was a man whom De Grazia deeply admired and with whom he identified. The padre is riding in the desert, which is depicted with many shades of brown. Using a palette knife, De Gr azia indicates a brown and gr ay streaked background—much the way a desert sky looks during the rain of the monsoon season. He is shown riding alone, without military escort, for it was Kino, not the soldiers who we re important to the Indians in Arizona and Mexico. Kino was able to promise the potential converts that they would not and could not be used as slaves by th e Spanish soldiers as had been done in other areas of the Spanish colonial empire. Ki no’s converts, by royal decree and Kino’s leadership, were not required by Spain to give tr ibute, or to serve in estates or mines for the first twenty years after conversion “since this [was] one of the reasons why they refuse[d] to be converted.”86 The Spanish soldiers were a familiar presence near the missions, however, as they were needed to protect the newly establishe d Spanish colonies. The Native Americans who affiliated with the Spanish mi ssionaries were often targeted by hostile groups who “were intent on plunder and destruction of the Spanish towns.”87 The Native Americans with whom Kino worked in Arizona an d Northern Mexico “spoke mu tually intelligible dialects of the same language and all referred to themselves by a common term, ‘O’odham.’”88 Father Kino and the Spanish referred to them as “Sobas” or “Pimas” and referred to the region as “Pimeria Alta.”89 Soldiers were nece ssary for protection of Spanish settlements, including the mission villages of Pimeria Alta. But the Native Americans were not 86 McDermott, Rev. Edwin J., Arizona Highways “The Saga of Father Kino.” P hoenix: Arizona Highway Department. March 1961. P.8, 10. 87 Arizona Highways March, 1961. P. 14 88 Fontana, Bernard. Of Earth and Little Rain: The Papago Indians Flagstaff: Northland Press. 1981. P.33. 89 Fontana. P 35.


52 defenseless by themselves and were brave and fierce in ba ttle. De Grazia depicted one specific event in a painting entitled, Kino and his Soldiers Join the Indians in Celebration (Fig. 25). On November 2, 1697, Father Kino and the soldiers arrived at Quiburi where Chief Coro and the Sobaipuri Pimas were celebrating a recent conqu est. They were having a scalp dance and “were in the mi dst of celebrating a victory over their hostile neighbors, the Jocomes and Janos...” The soldiers and Indians traveling with Kino “entered the circle and danced merrily in comp any with the natives.”90 On the frontier, “ it [was] alwa ys a cause for joy when one’s allies [wer e] strong and effective.”91 Figure 25. Kino and his Soldiers Join the Indians in Celebration From the De Grazia an d Padre Kino Series The painting depicts a scene crowded w ith people embracing in dance under a starlit night and symbolizes many alliances which allowed the continued expansion of Father Kino’s missions. Mission communities we re targets for Apache attacks because of 90 Arizona Highways March, 1961. P 14. 91 Polzer, Charles. S. J., Kino Guide II: A Life of Eusebio Francisco Kino, S. J. Tucson, Southwestern Mission Research Center. 1982. P. 13.


53 the prosperity they enjoyed from raisi ng cattle and adopting new farming techniques introduced by the Spanish. Father Kino, depicted in the painting in a black robe, could not have protected his missions from Apache raid s by himself. Spanis h missionaries had to ally with the Spanish militar y. The Spanish military, on the other hand, coul d never have succeeded without the help of alliances with the Native Americans who acted as guides and taught the Spanish how to survive in the desert land. Furthermore, various Native American tribes allied against common Apache enemies (and sometimes against the Spanish). Within the painting, on the right hand si de, one sees a deer dancer joining the Sobaipuris and Spanish soldiers as they all dance to the music provi ded by a flute player and tambolero. It is well known that the Deer Dancer is a very significant and dramatic figure in the Easter ceremony for the Yaqui I ndians, whose language shares a linguistic root with the Sobaipuris and the Pima Indians.92 It is less well known that the Pima Indians also consider the deer dance to be a part of th eir sacred tradition. Ruth Underhill, author of The Papago and Pima Indians of Arizona noted that the deer dance “always took place in the autumn just before the people moved to the winter village...”93 Long before Christopher Columbus happened upon the New World, as it was then called, Native Americans had been exchanging and adopting spir itual and social ideas from one another. A painting which De Grazia called An Indian Wedding and Baptism (Fig. 26.) is more recognizable as a “De Grazia.” The painting merges the popular a ppeal and best-selling style of De Grazia’s art with the deeper, more complex and rea listic events of the 92 Fontana, Bernard L. Of Earth and Little Rain: The Papago Indians Flagstaff: Northland Press. P. 33. According to Fontana, “The language spoken by the various groups of no rthern O’odham is related to the Uto-Aztecan family of languages, a family whose members include Nahuatl, the cla ssic language of the Aztecs; the speech of Tarahumaras, Yaquis, and Mayos...” 93 Underhill, Ruth, Ph.D. The Papago and Pima Indians of Arizona Palmer Lake: The Filter Press. 1979. P. 46.


54 missionary period of Arizona. The compos ition of the painting is a very simple representation of a featureless group of sixteen Native Americ ans. The painting depicts a wedding party of a bride and gr oom, who are so designated by their white clothing. But, the husband is holding the coup leÂ’s baby who will be baptized at the same time that the couple is married by the Church. Catholic tradition would prefer that a couple be married well before the birth of their child, but w ith twenty-four missions stretched out over hundreds of miles, Father Kino was unable to visit each mission community in time to bless and perform marriage ceremonies for coupl es who did not want to wait. Marriages and births which occurred between visits we re blessed whenever the priest arrived. Figure 26. An Indian Weddi ng and Baptism From the De Grazia an d Padre Kino Series Herbert Bolton describes one of KinoÂ’s vis its in 1687 to his mi ssion of Delores: Kino took with him more th an a hundred Pimas from Dolo res, forming a procession as they descended the sandy river trail. What a picture they made! In the


55 ceremonies some forty recently baptized Indi an children occupied the center of the stage. In their childish innocence they warmed the hearts of the spectato rs, especially of the senoras. “The Spanis h ladies of the mining town of Opedepe,” says Kino, ‘dressed them richly and adorned them with their best jewels, like new Christians, for the Procession of the Blessed Sa crament, to the delight of all’”94. The children and baby are the only figures in this painting to have eyes and mouths. This is a very well known De Grazia technique which he never fully explained. Most or many of the figures in his popul ar paintings had faces with no facial characteristics. He never fully explained his concept other than to say that he was “going for the feeling” of the piece. In this particular painting, the ch ildren stand out, with their eyes openly staring out at the viewer. They are young and in nocent and the most precious part of any community. They have a large family of relatives and friend s who will watch out for their safety. This simple picture brings together the two sides of De Grazia—the one side who loved children and could not stop painting th em along with the other De Grazia who portrayed important and educational informa tion in an unco mplicated manner, making it easy to understand and remember. A first time visitor to Arizona who is unfamiliar with Arizona’s history will not typically spend much time re searching the story of Kino and the O’odham (Pima and Papago) Indians. Many scholars, on the othe r hand, have devoted a lifetime to studying Kino and his work. Kino’s st ory is fascinating, but it is also overwhelming. Many well documented biographies and hi stories have been written a bout him. Historians are fortunate to have discovered Ki no’s diary and the diary of his military escort, Captain Juan Manje which offer eyewitness accounts of Kino ’s activities in Arizona De Grazia used 94 Bolton, Herbert. Rim of Christendom: A Biogr aphy of Eusebio Francisco Kino, Pacific Coast Pioneer P. 254.


56 Manje’s diary, “Luz de Tierra Incognita: Unknown Arizona and Sonora 1693-1701,” for inspiration for many of the ev ents portrayed in the De Graz ia Padre Kino collection. It is noteworthy that De Grazia presents Kino’s story in a straightforward and simple manner which pleasantly, but honestly comm unicates a feeling for Kino’s activities and significant contribution to Arizona. Papago Indian Legends Collection One of the largest Indian reservations in the United St ates is the Tohono O’Odham Indian reservation located just south of Tucson Arizona. It is second in size only to the Navajo reservation, which is also located (partially) in Arizona. Twenty-five thousand Tohono O’Odham live on almost three million acr es, but few people outside of the state of Arizona have heard of this tribe. They inha bit the same land their ancestors did when the first Spanish missionaries entered the area in the late 1600s. In the 1970s, when De Grazia was worki ng on this particular series of paintings depicting Indian legends, the Tohono O’Odha m were popularly known as the “Papago” Indians. The term “Papago,” which means “Bean Eater,” was a term by which the Spanish referred to this group of Native Americans. In 1986, however, the tribe rejected the “Papago” name because it was not what they called themselves They officially changed their name and began to refer to themselves more appropriately, as the Tohono O’Odham, a name which means “Desert Pe ople” and the term by which they have always identified their tribe.


57 It is interesting to note that the Tohono O’Odham did no t have a written language at the time De Grazia was painting the “Papa go Indian Legends” collection and few Tohono O’Odham children, today, are l earning the native language of their ancestors as a first language.95 De Grazia used his art to preserve and instruct visitors to Arizona about some of the stories which are still passed down in th e oral tradition. In 1975, he published these paintings in a book using picture language augm ented with the written wo rd. In his gallery, the Papago Indian Legends room has printed gu ides which accompany the painted stories. The paintings, alone, are intrigui ng; but the written information in the book or in the gallery guides unlocks the mysteries a nd brings a deeper level of cultural understanding to the viewer. The first painting in the series is of Baboquivari Mountain on a moonlit night (Fig. 27.) This sacred peak is where I’Itoi, Creator of the Tohono O’Odham, lives. De Grazia tells the viewers that storytelling is done in the winter time when “the snakes, the gila monsters, and the sting ants are asleep.”96 “Only then,” he says, “w ill the stories be told, at night by a fire.”97 The bluish tones of th e painting lend an air of se renity and tranquility as one imagines the elder family me mber repeating the important stories of creation and life to the younger members of the tribe. The first story De Grazia depicts is the mo st important in any culture, the “Creation of the World.” Earthmaker created the earth out of clay and then created the animals and plants to inhabit it. He hung the sun and the moon and stars. De Grazia’s portrayal of 95 Miyashita, Mizuki and Laura A. Moll. Revitalizing Indigenous Languages “Enhancing Language Material Availability Using Computers.” Retrieved online. http://jan.uc Retrieved 4 Feb 07. 96 De Grazia, Ted. DeGrazia Paints the Papago Legends Tucson: De Grazia Gallery in the Sun. 1975. Introduction. 97 Ibid.


58 Earthmaker shows him overlooking the world he has created—the part of world that is important to the Tohono O’Odham, stretching into Mexico. Fig. 27. Baboquivari Mountain From “Papago Indian Legends” Collection The Tonoho O’Odham believe th at their land is the center of all things and that they should never leave their land. Earthmaker’s s acred stature is indica ted by the halo around his head. De Grazia, a Roman Catholic by birth, bestowed Earthmaker with a Christian icon designating the highest level of holiness. It is out of religious respect, not confusion, that he did so. The Tohono O’Odham have integrated Ro man Catholicism into their culture while keeping their own native tribal religious practices alive. The halo is a universal symbol that both the Native American tribe and Christian Anglo can understand. The first world became over populated and the people were fighting and killing each other, according to the legend De Grazia presents in his book of the Papago Indian


59 legends. Earthmaker, I’Itoi, and Coyote made th e decision to destroy the world by flood. After the flood, Earthmaker, I’Itoi and Coyote made new people out of clay which they needed to bake. Coyote burned his batch and they were too da rk; Earthmaker did not bake his long enough and they were too pale; but I’It oi’s creation was a perfect brown color. “The creators breathed life into them, and they were the Papagos.”98 Thus every Tohono O’Odham child knows that they are the perfect creations of a Maker who resides in the mountain they can see from thei r home. Furthermore, the land on which they reside is and always has been theirs; they have been told ne ver to leave it by their Creator. Their sense of place and identity is complete. According to noted Southwestern author Byrd Baylor, “When Indian legends are told today, they never end with the feeling that they are something out of the past and finished. Instead, the storyteller will probabl y say, ‘It can happen like that now,’ or ‘We 98 Ibid. P. 15. Figure 28. E arthmaker From “Papago Indian Legends” Collection Figure 29. Untitled. From “Papago Indian Legends” Collectio n


60 still know such things,’ or ‘And it is still that way.’”99 De Grazia’s rendition of the Tohono O’Odham creation story is compelling and im pressive in its simplicity and gives the information that the O’Odham cultural beliefs are not diminished in any way by co-existing with Christian principals and beliefs. Another Tohono O’Odham legend that was painted by De Grazia is the story of Ho’ok. The first lovely painti ng shows an Indian maiden in a yellow deerskin dress with a burden basket filled with beautiful children (F ig. 30.) The immediat e emotional response to the painting is a feeling of tenderness or affection for the seemingly maternal representation. But, the next picture shows the real Ho’ok with cl aws extended, chasing the children and capturing them to eat for her supper (Fig. 31.) Through the series of paintings which tell the story of Ho’ok, De Grazia explains the story of the Hansel and Gret el-like witch who is always hungry and satisfies that hunger by eating children. De Grazia’s version says that Ho’ok would go to homes where she heard a child crying to collect the children fo r her supper. No doubt, this story is one that children would hear when they misbehaved! However, the children would outsmart the witch by placing stones in the basket and es caping by grabbing tree branches when the witch passed a tree. I’Itoi was called to help th e villagers be rid of the witch. De Grazia artfully and skillfully depicts ho w I’Itoi danced with the witch a nd told the villagers to also dance with her until she would “become so tired that she w ould fall into a deep sleep.”100 Thereupon, I’Itoi was able to put her in a cave and light a big fire so that her evil nature could never bother the Indians agai n. It is said that she trie d to escape, but “I’Itoi placed a 99 Baylor, Byrd. And It Is Still That Way: Legends told by Arizona Indian Children Charles Scribner’s Sons 1976., Trails West Publishing. Reprint 1988. Introduction. 100 Ibid. P. 36.


61 rock on the opening and closed it up...She tried to escape th rough the crack, but I’Itoi put his huge foot on it.”101 “And it is still that way...” is ec hoed in De Grazia’s gallery guide which states, “So, if you go there perhaps you will see the cracks or you may find the footprint of ‘I’Itoi!’”102 De Grazia is able to share his know ledge of the Papago or Tohono O’Odham legends in a way which validates the T ohono O’Odham worldview while celebrating diversity. His representations do not justify, defend or authen ticate any one point of view. Rather, he had a post-modern acceptance and cu riosity of all religious philosophies, giving each and all, including the Christian beliefs, equal validation. De Grazia’s paintings contemplate and simplify co mplex subjects and allow the viewer to have a better understanding of an unfamiliar culture. 101 Ibid. P. 39. 102 Gallery guide. De Grazia Gallery in the Sun. Papago Indian Legends Room. C. 1994. Figure 30. H o’ok Figure 31. H o’ok the Witch


62 The next group of paintings, about the journey of Cabeza de Vaca, focuses on a sixteenth century explorer who spent te n years encountering many unfamiliar Native American groups and whose written accounts ar e portrayed, in a stra ightforward manner, by De Grazia. The painted te xts help the uninitiated viewer comprehend the drama and significance of the fascinating expediti on. Communication and miscommunication between different cultural gr oups, religious syncretism, myth and superstition are interwoven in the paintings. Cabeza de Vaca: The First Non-Indian in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona 1527-1536 The October, 1954 issue of Arizona Highways extolled the beauty and excellence of Arizona in its usual effusive manner, and no ted that the Arizona Highway Department had a new highway map ready to distribute. The new map included “an abbreviated but accurate map of Mexico’s west coast ...all the way from Nogales to Guadalajara” and suggested that it would be “of considerable help to travelers this winter down the new highway south into Maanaland.”103 The October issue also carried stories of the modern way to travel to Arizona—by airplane (“Sky Ha rbor: Airport of Phoenix...”) and of the earliest form of travel to the region—by foot (“First to See the Suns et...An Account of the Wanderings of Spanish Explor er Cabeza de Vaca”). The story about Cabeza de Vaca, survivor of the ill-fated expedition commande d by Panfilo de Narv ez, was authored by Harold McCracken and illustrated by Ted De Grazia. 103 Arizona Highways “What’s New Under the Arizona Sun.” Phoenix: Arizona Highway Depart ment. October 1954. P.1.


63 While editor Raymond Carlson’s monthly le tter to the readers usually tantalized them by mentioning the interesting stories within the magazine’s pages, he made no mention of the four-page Cabeza de Vaca article in his October 1954 message. Nineteen years later, Arizona Highways again published an article abou t the Cabeza de Vaca journey, this time authored as well as illustrated by Ted De Grazia. Editor Jo seph Stacey (who had replaced Carlson in 1971) called attention to the story with a review entitled, “The Greatest Story Ever Documented Glorif ying the Miracle of Man and Hi s Immeasurable Capacity of Heroic Qualities.”104 Ten pages were devoted to the Cab eza de Vaca story, three of them full page reproductions from the series of pain tings De Grazia had recently completed and published in a ne w book entitled, De Grazia paints Cabeza de Vaca—The First Non-Indian in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona: 1527-1536 (University of Arizona Press, 1973). Stacey noted that “No name in the history of the New World is entitled to a greater measure of distinction and greatness than that of Alva r Nunez de Cabeza de Vaca.” At the same time, he stated that, “It [was ] strangely paradoxical that no name is as little known to Americans as that of Cabeza de Vaca.”105 Recently, Paul Schne ider, author of Brutal Journey: The Epic Story of the First Crossing of North America (Henry Holt and Co., 2006), made a similar observation in the introduction to his book. Schneider states that, “Though well known to scholars of the European invasion of the Ne w World, Panfilo de Narvaez’ s expedition is surprisingly unfamiliar to most North Americans.”106 Cabeza de Vaca, Es teban and two other companions were the only su rvivors out of six hundred of that expedition which sailed 104 Stacey, Joseph. Arizona Highways “The Greatest Story Ever Documented Glorifying the Miracle of Man and His Immeasurable Capacity of Heroic Qualities.” Phoenix: Arizona Highways Department. August, 1973. p. 34. 105 Ibid. 106 Schneider, Paul. Brutal Journey: The Epic Story of the First Crossing of North America New York: Henry Holt and Company. 2006. P. 2.


64 from Spain to Cuba in 1527, and eventually la nded off the coast of Florida, near Tampa Bay in 1528. Their incredible journey of surviv al, with the help of and at times, in spite of Native Americans they encountered between April, 1528 (the date they landed in Florida) and March, 1536 (the date of their extraordinar y reunion with Spanish soldiers in Arizona) is, indeed, fascinating but not given much notice in chronicles of American history. The story of Panfilo de Narvaez, Cabeza de Vaca, Esteban and th eir companions is more a story of Spain than of the United States Most Americans in De Grazia’s time grew up learning the story of the United States beginning with the Pilgrim settlement at Plymouth Rock in 1620. However, Harold McCracken’s 1954 article tells us that by 1536, about eighty-four years before the Mayflowe r landed at Plymouth Rock, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca and his three co mpanions had already crossed our continent and were “the first to see and report on the bu ffalo of our Great Plai ns and the Indians as they were before Columbus crossed the Atlantic.”107 Arizona’s history, like the st ory of Cabeza de Vaca, is al so more a history of Spain than of the United States. Th e Spanish explorer Francisco Coronado was sent into the land that is now known as Arizona in 1540 as a re sult of the stories about rumored golden cities told by Cabeza de Vaca and Esteban. Si nce Father Kino’s visit in 1691 and the establishment of a Spanish Presidio at Tuba c in 1752 until Mexico won their independence in 1821, the land that is now Ar izona was long considered to be part of the Spanish colonial empire. It has only been part of the United St ates since 1848, when the U.S. claimed most of it after initiating a war w ith Mexico, and ultimately pur chasing the last segment of 107 McCracken, Harold. Arizona Highways. “First to See the Sunset.” Phoenix: Arizona Highway Department. October, 1954. P. 14.


65 Arizona from Mexico in 1854 (the Gadsen Purc hase) just 55 years before De Grazia was born. The first painting in the De Grazia series (Fig. 32.) is an illustration of something that De Vaca lacked—it is a map showing the United States and Mexico and the route, mostly along the coastline of the Unites States through Texas and Ariz ona, that De Vaca traveled from Tampa Bay to Me xico City, roughly along what is now Interstate 10. The map is an excellent example of how De Grazia was able to simplify complex topics. De Grazia indicates the empty land and immense distance into unknown territory which the explorers traveled. Figure 32. Cabeza de Vaca Route De Grazia’s series of paintings about de Vaca reveal the story of the Spanish conquistadors who confidently landed in th e Tampa Bay area and took possession of the land in the name of the king (F ig. 33.); their surprise at fi nding so few Indians (who were hiding); and the difficult conditions of th e Florida swamp land which was nearly impossible for horses to cross (F ig. 34.). By September, the Spanish had traveled into


66 northern Florida, but were sick and starving a nd had eaten their last horse. Indians finally did appear who, after seeing the desperate situ ation of the Spanish men, wailed and cried for them... “The Indians of Malhado Island tu rned out to be fantastic weepers. They positively howled for more than ha lf an hour and carri ed on ‘so sincerely that they could be heard a great distance away’”108 (Fig. 35.). The Indians then helped the Spanish men to the village and fed them...and enslav ed them. The paintings in the Gallery in the Sun and in De Grazia’s book, creatively relate the pr edicament of the Spanish explorers. Figure 33. Figure 34. Figure 35. Land, In the Name The Florid a Swamp Indians Wailing for of the King the Spaniards Misery A visitor to the De Grazia Gallery in the Sun in 2006 expressed surprise upon viewing the originals of this pa rticular collection of paintings. She said, “I am familiar with De Grazia and his paintings, but I didn’t know he painted anything like these.”109 The paintings were done after De Grazia had alr eady achieved financial success and artistic independence. They are indicative of his ac ademic ability as well as his personal interest and artistic flair for telling a st ory. Though the historical narrative tells the remarkable 108 Schneider. P. 207. 109 Visitor to De Grazia Gallery in the Sun. Overheard by author. Summer 2006.


67 journey of the survivors of the Narvaez e xpedition—Cabeza de Va ca, Esteban the Moor, Andres Dorantes, and Ca pitan Alonso Castillo, the significanc e is about cultural exchange. “The great value Native Amer icans placed on their own tr aditional beliefs made them especially curious about the magical deeds of [the] new Medicine Man, ‘Son of God.’”110 While the Spanish conquistadores were as inte nt on spreading Christia nity as the Spanish empire, it is interesting to note that thei r own Roman Catholicism was a mixture of different religious and superstitious beliefs. Indeed, the honorary title, “Cabeza de Vaca” was awarded to Martin Alhaja (ancestor of Al var Nunez) for his assi stance in marking an important pass through the mountains with the head of a cow as the Spanish Christians fought to rid their country of eight hundred y ears of occupation by th e Moroccan Muslims. Etymologically, the name Alhaja has an Arabia n root. The forced conversion of Moors and Jews during the Spanish inquisition superimposed Christianity onto those equally devoutly practiced religions. Paul Schneider mentions th at the Spanish, “like most Europeans of the period...had no trouble mixing large doses of secular superstition in with the ‘revealed miracles’ of their Christianity.”111 He says, “With their long heritage of religious miscellany, Spaniards were particularly goo d at picking and choosing whatever wisdom suited them from a wide range of sources.”112 A case in point is made by noting that the failure of th e Cabeza de Vaca expedition had been predicted by a fortune teller in Spai n before the explorers ever left Spain. De Grazia begins telling the story of Cabeza de Vaca with the words, “It was foretold...”113 In addition, Esteban, one of the survivors and a major figure in the survival was a “black 110 Nabokov, Peter. Native American Testimony Penguin: New York. 1992. P. 51. 111 Schneider. P. 112. 112 Schneider. P. 113. 113 De Grazia, Ted. De Grazia Paints Cabeza de Vaca: The First Non-Indian in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, 15271536 Tucson: The University of Arizona Press. P. 1.


68 Moor” from the Atlantic coast of Morocco. He was a slave an d was most likely a Christian since he was owned by a Spaniard and traveling with the Spanish soldie rs; but, “The fact that he spoke Arabic and was from Morocco certainly implies...that he was a Muslim by birth.”114 Jewish Spaniards, or conversos, we re also common on Spanish expeditions according to Schneider. He points out that Ca ptain Alonso del Castillo “has some of the characteristics often associated w ith conversos of the period...”115 Castillo was the son of a doctor, and had two uncles who were judges (law profession) all professions closely associated with Jews and conversos.116 In addition, Schneider st ates that, “many Spanish Jews changed their surnames when they co nverted, commonly selecting a geographical description as a new identity.”117 Certainly, the name Alonso del Castillo implies that the man was from Castile. In 1492, the Queen of Castile, Queen Isabella and he r husband, King Ferdinand of Leon instituted religious cleansi ng of Spain with the expulsion of all Jews, the same month that she authorized the sailing exploration vo yage of Christopher Columbus. Many Jews and Muslims chose to convert rather than leave the country of their birth. It is interesting to observe how the theme of religious syncretism is woven in the paintings by De Grazia, most certainly, uncons ciously. In the 1970’s, while De Grazia was painting this series of paintings, many mino rity groups, including the Native Americans, were voicing their right to be an American wh ile not having to be white or Protestant at the same time. The continuation of religious cerem onies in modern times enables the tribes to 114 Schneider. P. 27. 115 Schneider. P. 29. 116 Schneider. P. 29. 117 Schneider. P. 29.


69 keep their identity distinct fr om other cultures. Religion pe rmeates family and community activities uniting cultural groups with a strong sense of identity. The next series of paintings, depicting specific religious public pa geantry and ritual processions indicates how one tribe, the Yaqui Indians fr om Mexico, was able to integr ate and adopt the religion of the Spanish culture and form a religion that was not purely Ca tholic or Native American, but a unique fusion of the two. De Grazia Paints the Yaqui Easter One of the most anticipated events for Tucson, Arizona re sidents and visitors is the performance of the Yaqui Indian Easter ceremony. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, members of the Yaqui tribe solemnly pay Chri stian tribute while they perform a dramatic re-enactment of certain events leading up to the death and resurrec tion of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Virtually every member of th e tribe participates in some way. Their elaborate passion play contains elements of the style taught to the Yaqui by the Catholic missionaries, but it is embellished and performe d in a style that is uniquely Yaqui. The drama reaches its highest point on Easter Saturd ay when the Fariseos (Pharisees) and their soldiers, the Chapayekas (literally, sharp-nosed ones), are conquered by a shower of flower petals. The Yaqui believe that the blood of Christ, as it fell from the cross, was miraculously transformed into flowers. The forefathers of the Pa scua Yaqui Indians living in Tucson, Arizona first encountered the Spanish Jesuit missionaries in the 1500s in their ancestral homeland in Sonora, Mexico. A large tribe of 30,000 at the time of first contact, th e Yaqui were able to


70 incorporate Spanish agricultural practices an d religion without comp lete submission to Spanish rule. Because of th eir insistence on independence while adopting many Spanish customs, the Yaqui were able to control the terms of peace wi th the Spanish to maintain a peaceful coexistence. When Me xico won independence from Spain in 1821, however, the Yaqui were in constant and often violent co nflict with the new Mexi can government over control of agriculturally rich lands. During the period from 1821 until the last skirmish with the Mexican government in 1927, many of the Ya qui families migrated to southern Arizona, eventually arriving in Tucson. The United States government granted the Yaqui Indians political asylum. Because they were not “native” to the United States, however, the Yaqui were not granted reservation status or treated as a sovereign na tion. Finally, in 1978, Federal legislation was enacted that gave them a reservation and r ecognition as a tribe. Since 1994 they are entitled to the same privileges and rights as the “historic tribes” of the United States.118 The reservation in Tucson, Arizona is indistin guishable from any other small southwestern neighborhood or barrio. Small rectangular houses, neighborhood schools and an urban setting disguise the federal status of their la nd. Located centrally in the city, the Yaqui tribe keeps a low profile and keep s its culture alive while partic ipating in the everyday life of a modern city. One very distinct aspect of the Yaqui ce lebration is the Deer Dance, which does not take place until the Saturd ay before Palm Sunday.119 Originally a hunting ritual, it is a remnant of the Yaqui religion before conversio n by the missionaries. The Deer Dancers’ supernatural powers do not come from the Christian deity or sa ints, but from the animals of 118 Bahti, Tom and Mark Bahti. Southwestern Indian Tribes Las Vegas: KC Publications. 1999. P. 62. 119 De Grazia, Ted. De Grazia Paints the Yaqui Easter P. 36.


71 the mystical land beyond huma n habitation, the huya aniya.120 The Deer Dancers wear head dresses in the shap e of a deer and imitate the moveme nts of a deer who realizes it is being pursued. The Deer Dancer appearances take place late in the month long ceremony, but are arguably the most popular with the audience. When the Deer Dancer is dancing and the musicians are singing in the ancient Yaqui language, it is the ancient Yaqui religion that is spotlighted. No refe rence is made in any wa y to the Christian gods or ritual during those performances.121 The continuation of this ceremony in mode rn times enables the Yaqui to keep their culture alive. It has been a long time since it has been identified with hunting, yet the Deer Dancer remains one of the most recognizable elements of th e Yaqui religion and continues to survive in spite of progress which imposes time constraints on memb ers of the tribe who also live in a modern world. Previously Ya qui were between harvests during the month prior to Easter and spent all month getting read y for the ceremony. Today, the necessity of full time employment means th at there is less time to get ready for the ceremony. Adaptations are made for the sake of progress, but the essence remain s the same. Tradition and progress intermix without blending comple tely. A visit to the Yaqui reservation for this ceremony is one of the highlights of the spring season in Arizona. De Grazia had very close long-term relati onships with the Yaqu i Indians of Tucson, Arizona—both personally and professionally. A Yaqui Deer Dancer by the name of Bernadino was one of his closest friends. In addition, De Grazia hired laborers from the Yaqui village to help him build his adobe ho me, gallery and chapel in the foothills of Tucson. De Grazia’s knowledge and respect for this cultu ral group was meaningful and 120 Smith, Susan. “Some Observations on the Yaqui Easter Ceremony.” 1983. Not published. P. 5. 121 Spicer, Edward H. Pascua, A Yaqui Village in Arizona Tucson : University of Arizona Press. 1984. P. 195.


72 multi-layered. On a personal level, he enjoye d socializing with th em. On an academic level, he understood the depth of their spirituality and religion. De Grazia painted a series of forty painti ngs (symbolic of the forty days of Lent) depicting the Yaqui Easter ceremony; and the administrators at his Gallery in the Sun display them, seasonally. The paintings were published in book form in 1968 (University of Arizona Press, Tucson). De Grazia Paints the Yaqui Easter is “Dedicated to All the Yaqui...My friends”122 by the author/artist. This series of paintings is extremely helpful to study be fore and after one visits the Yaqui reservation to observe their public relig ious ritual. Everything and every day of the forty day Lenten and Easter celebration is symbolically celebrated, but subtly presented until the final week. If one ha s not been paying a ttention and only atte nds the Palm Sunday and Easter ceremonies, it is as De Grazia not ed, “Wild complicated as the Bible...It takes a long time to live and understand it.”123 Ironically, the Spanish religious and Eur opean influences apparent today in the Yaqui culture came at the invitation of the Indians. The tribe was well aware of the Spanish mission/presidio system, sometimes referred to as the “i ron fist in a velvet glove,” that Spain effectively used to colonize Indi an villages in Mexico. They noticed that agricultural production increased dramatically un der the Spanish system while, at the same time, the native populations u nder Spanish military influenc e lost much in terms of freedom. The Yaqui were able to distinguish between Jesuit influences, both religious and social versus Spanish military martial law. In 1616, the Ya qui Indians asked Padre Andres 122 De Grazia Paints the Yaqui Easter Dedication. 123 De Grazia, Ted. Arizona Highways “Arizona South.” Arizona Highway Department: Phoenix. November, 1957. P. 24.


73 de Ribas, a Jesuit missionary, a nd his assistant to institute th e mission program among their tribe124. They did not invite the Spanish militia. The Indians were accepting the Spanish colonial presence on their own terms. Most notably, the Yaqui modified the new Christian Catholic religion introduced by the missionaries. The Indians did not accept a ll the Christian teachi ng; for instance, one legend depicts Jesus Christ as a curer who worked and lived in the Yaqui land.125 Who is to say that if Jesus existed anywhere, that he didn’t exist everywhere ? However, so strong was the Spanish missionary influence, the Pascua Yaqui tribal flag bears, today, the date March 25, 1517. The Yaqui associate that date with the introduction of Christianity to the New World.126 Historically, this is the date that Cortez and his soldiers won their first battle in Mexico against the villa ge of Tobasco. The historical significance of that date in 1517, however, is not as important as its sy mbolic significance—a new religion brought to an ancient land. The Yaqui incorporated selected parts of the new religion into their own. They view their unique religion as much a part of their everyday life as breathing. After the battle at Tobasco, several wo men, including one who became famous as Cortez’ consort and interpreter, “La Malinche, ” were “awarded” to Cortez and his men. The Yaqui have a men’s society, the Matachin es dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Young boys who are members of this society are calle d, “Malinche.” The Matachine dances are performed in many native comm unities in New Mexico and Arizona, as well as Spanish communities, and can be traced to Spain. The Matichine name has Arabic etymologic roots coming from a word for “masked people.”127 This is a good example of hybridity, 124 Spicer. P. 13. 125 Spicer. P. 15. 126 Choate, Harris S. The Yaquis: A Celebration San Francisco: Whitewing Press. 1998. P. 16. 127 Choate. P. 89.


74 clearly a combination of the Moorish, Spanis h, and Native American groups, each vying for or defending their cultural groups’ sense of power and control; coming together in such a way that a new cultural concept is form ed—separate and unique, but definitely connected. De Grazia’s portrayals of the Easter ce remony simplify the comp lex symbolic parts and help the viewer begin to develop an unders tanding of the culture that is Yaqui. His picture of the Chapayekas is full of meaning (Fig. 36.). The Chapayekas represent evil for they are the ones who want to capture and put Christ to death. They wear hooded head masks made out of animal hide. While the performers are wearing the masks, however, they also wear a rosary around their neck and keep the cross of the rosary in their mouth. In this way, they let God know that they are only acting the role of the evil ones. De Grazia mentions that the purpose of the Chapayekas is “to irritate and disturb good people.” He adds, “Imagine having a rosary in your mouth and a tight ma sk over your he ad and getting so hot you could choke to death ...and remembering to say your prayers too. On the outside [the Chapayeka] is an evil person play-acting. On the inside he is saying his prayers.”128 Figure 36. Eight Chapayekas With Their Sticks 128 De Grazia Paints the Yaqui Easter P. 28.


75 Up until the evening of Palm Saturday, most of the activities surrounding the Lenten ceremonies have a decidedly Christian an d Catholic influence. The rosary, statues of Mary, the crucifixes and Stations of the Cr oss are all familiar icono graphy. The Fariseos and their strange looking foot soldiers, the Chapayekas, represent the Roman soldiers, and Christians can relate to them as well. But the defining figures in the Yaqui Easter ceremony are the Deer Dancer and Pascola (literally, “Old Man”) Dancers, which have nothing to do with Christianity. Ac cording to H. S. Choate in his book, The Yaquis: A Celebration (Whitewing Press, 1998), “The Pascolas play several roles in the fiesta. They are the hosts of the fiesta, and at the same time their basic role in the dance that of the hunters who pursue and eventually kill the deer.”129 They are representatives the Enchanted World of the Yaqui people. The D eer Dancer and the Pascola dancers perform underneath a fiesta ramada, located to the si de of the chapel. They have their own musicians and singers and wear traditional garments. The Pascolas dance to musical instrument s derived from both European and Native American tradition...the harp and violin as well as the drum and the flute. The drummer/flutist, called a Tambolero, plays both the drum and the flute at the same time. He plays the flute with his left while he play s the drum with his right hand. The music is dramatic and eerie. De Grazia captu res the feeling of the music in Tambolero (Fig. 37.) 129 Choate. P. 25.


76 Figure 37. Tambolero After the Pascolas complete their dance, the Deer Dancer begins (Fig. 38.) He wears a white turban on his hea d, topped with the head of a small deer. His movements are furtive, light, and deer-like. He never ma kes eye contact with th e crowd and seems to ignore their presence. He does watch the Pascolas If they make a mo ve in his direction, he prances quickly away. The movement of his head, the tapping of his feet, and his posture with his torso thrust forward are gracefu l and beautiful to see. He looks like a deer in the wilderness, alert, graceful and majestic.


77 Figure 38 Yaqui Deer Dancer The Yaqui Easter series of paintings by De Grazia honors the religious traditions of this tribe. They share their religion pub licly, and ask for blessings for everyone. The ceremonies would be performed in the same way, whether or not outsiders attended. Outsiders are welcome, however, because according to H. S. Choate, “Every Yaqui fiesta is given to fulfill an obligation and it is very impor tant that the obligation should be seen to be fulfilled.”130 Thus the Yaqui, very publicly, perfor m their most sacred religious traditions and they have the confidence to know that they do so on their own terms. It is fitting that De Grazia relates so personally to this tribe. He has a high regard for the Yaqui spirituality, their independence and their courage in surviv al. They, like De Grazia, are a part of everything that they have been through. The series of paintings discussed in this chapter form a portion of De Grazia’s most important work. A visit to his Gallery in the Sun will familia rize the viewer with many 130 Choate. P. 92.


78 other paintings which communicate the multi-cultural personality of the Southwest. He created these paintings to tell th e stories of the different histories of the pluralistic societies of the Southwest. De Grazia was an observer and a participan t in the cultural diversity, the worldview, and experiences of the people living in the Southwest, both native and immigrant. He was aware of how different cultural groups affected one, another. He especially admired the Native American tribes who had survived cultural imperialism and resisted assimilation; they retained their own traditions while adopting some of the dominant society. Most importa ntly, they did so on their ow n terms and maintained their separate and unique cultural identities.


79 Conclusion In the ivory towers of academic art criticis m, Ted De Grazia is not admitted into the inner-circle of elite, avant-garde artists. It is as if he is invisible to the critics; he is in the room, but not acknowledged. Th e staff person at the Tucson Museum of Art who stated that the museum would not exhibit his work (s he believed that he came to Arizona from someplace else to make a easy money selling cheap art to the tourist market) is in accord with other arbiters of fine art who dismi ss him for producing kits ch; i.e., meaningless souvenirs. However, he remains popular with the public who find meaning in his art, and he has earned a place in the history of Tucson and the Southwest. In October of 2006, the De Grazia galle ry complex including his home, studio, Gallery in the Sun (Fig. 40. and Fig. 41.), and Mission in the Sun were listed as the “DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Hist oric District” in the National Register of Historic Places “because of its association with the lif e and art of Ettore "Ted" DeGrazia.”131 The De Grazia Gallery in the Sun Historic District is in a residential area of Tucson and is off the beaten path (unless one is stay ing in one of the two resort hot els relatively close by) but it is easy to find with directions. Vis itors are encouraged to sign a register at the gallery which is filled with the name s and comments of people from all over the world w ho appreciate De 131 De Grazia Gallery in the Sun web page. Retrieved online 5 March 07.


80 Grazia’s art and leave with a better understandi ng of the hybridity of cultures in Arizona and the Southwest. There were no paved roads to the studio and gallery that De Grazia built in the 1950s. His land was outside the city limits of Tu cson; in the foothills of the Santa Catalina mountain range. He liked its private location—and built the ga llery to exhibit his own art which had been rejected by galleries and the University of Arizona. His created his own built environment on private property where he did not have to fo llow anyone’s rules. Soon however, developers began scraping the desert vegetation away to build beautiful, new high end homes with glorio us views of the valley; for sale to the people who could afford to pay the high prices. The city was rapidly growing and expanding out to where De Grazia lived. As the city grew toward the foothills, a new Skyline Country Club (Fig. 39.), was built to provide the residents of the new, fine homes a place to golf and play tennis. It is located nearby, just north of De Grazia’s co mplex and looks down on the Tucson valley below. In the early 1960s, representatives from Skyline Country Cl ub called on De Grazia to tell him that his buildings “were a disgrace” and that he should move.132 Swallowing anger, he calmly retorted: I build my homes and galleries from dirt; so meday they will turn back into dirt, just like you and I will. So you build what looks like a dead ship on those lovely hills, and I shall hide here in my dirt buildings. History will say who respected nature.133 History has spoken. De Grazia’s gallery is no w on the National Register of Historic places, its architecture resisting assimilation and change. 132 Arizona Highways 1983. P. 6. 133 Arizona Highways March 1983. P. 6.


81 The Skyline Country Club representative s viewed the Mexican-style mud buildings as cheap and ordinary, even dirty, with no aes thetic value, like kitsc h. De Grazia, on the other hand, enjoyed the reputation for not caring what others felt about his gallery or his art. Over the years, a tolerant co-existence developed. De Grazia was occasionally a guest at the country club, and he was not approach ed again about moving or tearing down his buildings. Today, the country club sits high above his adobe buildings in stark contrast to them; modern architecture, representing the la test in building design and technology versus historical construction—made from what natu re or the environment provided and in the manner introduced by the Spanish. Mode rnism, a turning away from tradition, and Tradition, a respect for history, reside side by side. The bl ending of the ne w and the old forms a hybridity of architectural styles in a distinctly Southweste rn manner; where the blending allows room for diversity and identity. Figure 39. Figure 40. Skyline Country Club Gallery in the Sun Figure 41. Gallery in the Sun, Entrance


82 The hybridity of the land is reflected by De GraziaÂ’s self-reliance and independent lifestyle which were visible in every aspect of his life. His world view was formed early, as a child of immigrant miners growing up in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society. As an adult, he was also conscious of living within an American capitalis t society where money was power. After completing several college degrees, through the pro duction of his art and in spite of rejection of the avant-garde, he was able to become a wealthy man and exert a certain amount of power or self control over th e conditions of his life. De Grazia used his money to live his life by his own rules, taking from the dominant cultu re what he needed while rejecting what he didnÂ’t like. He chose to make his art available and affordable to the public because he felt art critics were as elitis t as the elite few wh o could buy fine or expensive art. Critics consider De GraziaÂ’s art simple too stereotypically cute to have any meaning. It is true that he did produce a large quantity of easily accessible items for quick purchase by tourists. But, even his kitsch co ntains a hybridity of me aning. For instance, his painting of an Indian girl holding a menorah (Fig. 14.) pr esents an example of both kitsch and hybridity. A Jewish Indian is not as far fetched as one might imagine. One such example was recounted by Ji m Griffith in his book, Southern Arizona Folk Arts Griffith relates the story of a family in the Yaqu i-Mexican-American community of Guadalupe, Arizona who kept a menorah on the family altar. When asked about it, the family responded that the candlestick had been hand ed down from the grandfather and they always lit the seven candles at Christma s time. According to Dr. Griffith: Obviously the candlestick was a menora h, used during the Jewish festival, Hanukkah...The implication of this stor y is that the family were Marranos [Conversos], or Spanish Jews who converted to Christianity in Re naissance times in


83 order to escape persecution, but who ne vertheless maintained certain Jewish traditions. Such families are known to ha ve come to Mexic o, and I have heard stories such as this one for many years.134 Jim Griffith headed the Southwest Folklore Ce nter at the University of Arizona for many years. Like De Grazia, he appreciated the co lorful and absorbing stories and traditions of all the different cultural groups in the Southwest. De Grazia, had never seen a person of the Jewish faith until he moved to Tucson: yet, he included reference of the Jewish religion in his paintings of hybridity and syncretism in the Southwest. It is well known that the Je ws, like the Native Americans have a long history of oppressi on. De Grazia had a particular affinity for oppressed groups, giving them visibility and va lue in a dominant culture that shuts them out. The portrayal of invisible groups is much more fully explored in the more serious and well-researched series of pa intings which are exhibited in his gallery. These are not the paintings of his early period when he studied with Jose Orozco and Diego Rivera in the 1940s, sometimes referred to as his “Mexican ” period. These serious paintings were painted much later and were preceded with much research, thought, and interpersonal contact. In spite of the opinions of most critics who have said that De Grazia’s most interesting and important work was created during his “Mexican” period, when he was working with Orozco and Rivera, this thesis c ontends that he continued to paint interesting and important paintings with complex message s throughout his lifetime. Rather than abandon his earlier “political consciousness” of the revolutions in Mexico for the cute paintings of children (his “burdensome trademar k”), he decided to tell the stories of the 134 Griffith, James S. Southern Arizona Folk Arts Tucson: The University of Arizona Press. 1988. P. 201.


84 people who lived in the Southwes t long before it became part of the United States. He did not need to travel to some other land for ar tistic inspiration. It surrounded him. De Grazia began portraying Native Americans and Mexican Americans at a time when degrading conditions on the Nativ e American reservations, espe cially the ones with which he was intimately familiar, the Tohono O’Odham (Papago) and the Yo eme (Yaqui), were exacerbated by the United States government polic ies; which in the 1950s tried to terminate the reservation system and assimilate the Native Americans into mainstream American society. The assimilation program had disast rous results for the Na tive Americans, many of whom left the familiar but financially insecure arena of the reservations in pursuit of financial security. Unfortuna tely, they faced racism and mi nimum wage jobs, barely eking out subsistence in the outside world because, cu lturally, they could not assimilate or blend in with the mainstream society. De Grazia knew of the poverty conditions for Native Americans both on and off the reservations. He was concerned that the Na tive Americans were disappearing because of American standards of conformity. Many other artists fe lt the same way and prematurely mourned the disappearance of the Native Amer icans. Disappointed with the hegemonic social and political systems of the United States the artists sought an swers by turning to the American Indian groups for their seemingly simp le lifestyles, which were considered to be more in keeping with Nature. What most artists discovered, De Grazia knew: the Native American lifestyle was not si mple, but many layere d and complex. De Grazia intuitively focused on themes of the Na tive American life with which he identified most closely—the religious syncretism which ga ve them identity and agency and a sense of community.


85 Rather than portray dark themes of life and death a nd the humiliating conditions of poverty, De Grazia chose to portray hybrid ity in the spirituality and the ceremonial traditions that bind cultural groups, providing identity an d meaning in a fast-paced, modern, rapidly changing world. The Native Americans, like De Grazia, were doubly conscious of existing within a dominant society which they could not completely understand or accept, but with which they must negotiate identity. The religious traditions practiced by each unique tribal group are ex amples of that negotiation. Native Americans chose which aspects of a largely Judeo-Christia n society to incorporate or adapt to their way of life, first from the Sp anish, then from th e Americans of the United States. The tribes controlled how they would express spirituality, incorporating elements of the Christian religion which did not conf lict with their own world views. Contrary to early predictions, the Native American cultures of the Southwest did not disappear. They have negotiated with th e American government and won many legal battles. They have learned to use the tools of oppression to their advantage to live within a culture which is antithetical to their own worldview. Neither has De Grazia’s art disappeared. His work is still enjoyed by vi sitors to Arizona an d the Southwest who purchase examples of his art in gift shops. But the authentic De Grazia exists at the Gallery in the Sun where his more serious works ar e on permanent and or/seasonal display. The university and art intelligencia refused to give De Grazia artistic legitimacy. He in turn rejected their authority and sought and gained approval of the newly emerging middle class of Post-World War II America. He used tools of technology, joining the capitalists, using their tools of mass produc tion to exclude them— by not portraying the dominant Anglo American culture in his pain tings. He catered to an eager consumer


86 market and lived the American dream of beco ming wealthy by working hard, going from rags to riches. However he consciously refuse d to use his advanced education and later his economic success to try to break out of the working class so cial systems with which he identified and felt he belonged. De Grazia was a complex an d complicated man who lived simply, and had a lovehate relationship with celebrity. He was emphatically devoted to the common man, the public who loved his work and with whom he inte racted on a daily basis during gallery hours.135 He wanted to make his ar t affordable to everybody. De Grazia’s artwork responds to the local sp ecificity of Arizona as a state, a place, and a people. His inspirations are a coalescence of his birthright and life experiences as a native Arizonan of Italian heritage and later, his academic skill as a cultural observer. Visitors to his gallery leave with a better understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultural environment of the Ariz ona Southwest. His art was and still is appreciated by those who understand his concept of cultural hybridit y and diversity where the paradigms of the modern world exist side by side with the ancient. De Grazi a, through his art, makes a unique artistic contribution by illustrating the re ligious syncretism that was and remains, an integral part of the Native Amer ican tribes in the Southwest, illustrating a part of tribal culture that is unique and indicative of United States Sout hwestern culture. 135 Scottsdale (AZ) Daily Progress—Weekend 18 April 1980. P. 32.


87 Bibliography Aleshire, Peter, Editor. Ar izona Highways. E-mail corre spondence between Aleshire and author dated August 2, 2006. Arizona Daily Star. “DeGrazia: “The Irreverent Angel.” 1971. Copied from Arizona Historical Society, Tucs on-Library Archives. Arizona Highways. “Fire on the Frontier. ” Phoenix: Arizona Department of Transportation. July 1962. Arizona Highways. “Vivan Los Celebraciones !” Photo by Eduardo Fuss. Phoenix: Arizona Department of Transportation. August 1987. Arizona Highways. “Drum Sounds at Sundown.” Phoenix: Arizona Department of Transportation. July 1942. Arizona Highways. “Gateway to an Insp iring Land.” Retrieved online. 8 Jan 2005. Arizona Highways. “Readers Determine Art. ” Phoenix: Arizona Department of Transportation. April 1975. Avey, Gary. “The Triumph of an Individual. ” Arizona Highways. Phoenix: Arizona Department of Transportation. March 1983. Bahti, Tom and Mark Bahti. Southwestern Indi an Tribes. Las Vegas: KC Publications. 1999. Baritz, Loren. The Good Life: The Meaning of Success for the American Middle Class. New York: Knopf 1982. Baylor, Byrd. And It Is Still That Way: Legends told by Arizona Indian Children. Charles Scribner’s Sons 1976., Trails West Publishing. Reprint 1988. Berkhofer, Robert F. The White Man’s Indian : Images of the American Indian from Columbus to Present. New York: Vintage Books. 1979.


88 Bolton, Herbert E. Rim of Christendom: A Biography of Eusebio Francisco Kino, Pacific Coast Pioneer. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Brooks, Gene. “What’s With this Guy?” Tucson Citizen On the Town: Your Weekend Magazine. January 28, 1961. Butler, Ron. Author interview. Tucson, Arizona. 30 Aug. 2006. Carlson, Raymond. “De Grazia.” Arizona Hi ghways. Phoenix: Arizona Highway Department. February 1941. Carlson, Raymond. “Insight to De Grazia.” Arizona Highways. Phoenix: Arizona Highway Department. September 1972. Ibid. “What’s New Under the Arizona Sun.” Arizona Highways. Phoenix: Arizona Highway Department. October 1954. Ibid. “Of Canyons and Irri gation Canals.” July 1942. Chanin, Abe. “Abe Chanin’s Scrapbook.” Arizona Daily Star. Tucson. 7/02/1972. Choate, Harris S. The Yaquis: A Celebrati on. San Francisco: Whitewing Press. 1998. DeGrazia News: Official Ne wsletter of the Gallery in the Sun, A Place of Art and History. Winter 2003. De Grazia, Frenck. Family Histories: De Grazia. 1995 November 12. Retrieved online 2006 Aug. 31. De Grazia Gallery in the Sun. Tucson, Arizona Gallery guide: Pa pago Indian Legends Room. c. 1994. De Grazia Gallery in the Sun. Web Page: Retrieved online 5 March 07. De Grazia and Padre Kino. Tucson: DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun. 1979 De Grazia Paints Cabeza de Vaca: The Fi rst Non-Indian in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, 1527-1536. Tucson: The Univ ersity of Arizona Press. DeGrazia Paints the Papago Legends. Tucs on: De Grazia Gallery in the Sun. 1975. De Grazia Paints the Yaqui Easter. De Grazia, Ted. “Artist DeGr azia Thinks Painters Should Pa int.” July 7, 1952. Article copied from Tucson Museum of Art ephemeral file on De Grazia. Newspaper clipping did not identify name of newspaper.


89 De Grazia, Ted. “Arizona S outh.” Arizona Highways. Ar izona Highway Department: Phoenix. November 1957. De Grazia’s Borderlands Sketches: Native People of Arizona and Sonora as Drawn by Ted DeGrazia. Tucson: Th e Southwest Center. 1997. Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W. W. Norton& Company. 1999. Doss, Erika. Benton, Pollock, and the Polit ics of Modernism: From Regionalism to Abstract Expressionism. 1991 Chicago: Un iversity of Chicago Press. 1995. Fontana, Bernard. Of Earth and Little Rain: The Papago Indians. Flagstaff: Northland Press. 1981. Frontain, Dick. De Grazia in Photos. “L a Vida es Tan Triste.” June 1, 1977 Ibid. “Ted De Grazia—A Pers onal View.” Arizona Highways. Phoenix: Arizona Department of Transportation. March 1983. Gordon, Linda. The Great Arizona Orphan A bduction. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 2000. Greenberg, Clement. Art and Culture: Critic al Essays. 1965 Boston: Beacon Paperback. 1989. Griffith, James S. Southern Arizona Folk Ar ts. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press. 1988. Herbert, Charles. W. Photo. “Little Apach e Girl.” Arizona Highways. Phoenix: Arizona Highway Department. July 1962. Horkheimer, Max and Theodor Adorno. Dialectic of Enlightenment. New York: Continuum. 1998. Kimmelman, Alex. The Journal of Arizona History. “Luring the Tourist to Tucson: Civic Promotion During th e 1920s.” Summer, 1987 (V olume 28, Number 2) Tucson: Arizona Historical Society. Leuchtenberg, William. A Troubled Feast: Am erican Society Since 1945. Boston: Little Brown. 1973. Locust, Carol, Ph.D. Tucson, Arizona. Author interview. August 31, 2006. Lynes, Russell. “Highbrow, Lowbrow, Mi ddlebrow.” Harpers Magazine. February 1949.


90 Manley, Ray. “Days End in Navajoland.” Phot o. Arizona Highways. Phoenix: Arizona Highway Department. December 1957. Martin, J. C. Arizona Daily Star. “De Grazi a at 69.” Section J. 12 June 1977. McCormick, Ada. Letter to Ted De Grazi a dated February 9, 1951. Copied from University of Arizona Special Collections. McCracken, Harold. “First to See the Sunset .” Arizona Highways. Phoenix: Arizona Highway Department. October, 1954. McDermott, Rev. Edwin J., Arizona Highways. “The Saga of Father Kino.” Phoenix: Arizona Highway Department. March 1961. Miyashita, Mizuki and Laura A. Moll. Revitalizing Indigenous Languages. “Enhancing Language Material Availability Us ing Computers.” Retrieved online. Nabokov, Peter. Native American Testimony: Revised Edition. New York: Penguin Books. 1999. Polzer, Charles. S. J., Kino Guide II: A Li fe of Eusebio Francisco Kino, S. J. Tucson, Southwestern Mission Research Center. 1982. Redl, Harry. The World of De Grazia: An Ar tist of the American Southwest. Phoenix: Chrysalis Publishing Ltd. 1981. Regan, Margaret. “Broad Strokes.Tucson Week ly. 19-25 March 1998. Retrieved online. Reid, Ira De A. Phylon. “Persons and Places.” 1945 Vol. 6, No. 3. Retrieved online. Dec. 6, 2006. Richter, David H. The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends. Boston: Bedford Books. 1998. Riley, Sam G. and Gary Selnow, Ed.. Regional Interest Magazines of the United States. New York: Greenwood Press. 1991. Ring, R. H. “De Grazia ‘idea lized the West,’ then shared it with the world.” The Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. 18 September 1982. Copied from Arizona Historical Society Tu cson-Library Archives. Ruffner, Budge. Prescott Courier. “Weekend Section.” 1 October 1982. Schneider, Paul. Brutal Journey: The Epic St ory of the First Crossing of North America. New York: Henry Holt and Company. 2006. Scottsdale (AZ) Daily Progress—Weeke nd. Scottsdale, Arizona. 18 April 1980.


91 Shaw, Elizabeth. “Kino Exhibit.” Ar izona Daily Star. October 21, 1962. Sheridan, Thomas. Arizona: A History. Tucs on: University of Arizona Press. 1995. Smith, Susan. “Some Observations on th e Yaqui Easter Ceremony.” 1983. Not published. Spicer, Edward H. Pascua, A Yaqui Village in Arizona. Tucson : University of Arizona Press. 1984. Stacey, Joseph. Arizona Highways. “The Gr eatest Story Ever Documented Glorifying the Miracle of Man and His Immeasurable Capacity of Heroic Qualities.” Phoenix: Arizona Highways Department. August 1973 Ibid. “De Grazia—A Permanent Personality.” Arizona Highways. Phoenix: Arizona Department of Transportation. March 1983. Storms, Valerie Rev. and Rabbi Aaron Lever. Partners: Newsletter of the Patient & Advisory Program at Moffitt Cancer Ce nter. “Addressing Spiritual Issues.” Winter 2006. Underhill, Ruth, Ph.D. The Papago and Pima Indians of Arizona. Palmer Lake: The Filter Press. 1979. Western Ways Magazine. “Mission in the Hi lls.” April, 1954. Copied from Ephemeral Files on Ted DeGrazia in Special Collections Section at the University of Arizona: Tucson. U.S. Census Bureau. Decennial Census of Population, 1940 to 2000. Internet Release date: April 6, 2006.

PAGE 100

About the Author Karen Dalton received a BachelorÂ’s Degr ee in Marketing from Indiana University in Indianapolis in 1975. Shortly thereafter, she and her hus band moved to Tucson, Arizona where they resided for seventeen years. Karen fell in love with the geography and cultural history of the Southw est and was a docent for the Arizona Historical Society, specifically conducting walking tours of the dow ntown historical districts from the SosaCarrillo-Fremont House Museum. While in the MasterÂ’s program at the Un iversity of South Florida, Karen was an active volunteer for the Henry B. Plant Museum in Tamp a. She is particularly interested in the multi-cultural and multi-ethnic history of Florida and enjoys being a part of its historymaking present.


Download Options

Choose Size
Choose file type
Cite this item close


Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.


Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.


Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.


Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.