I was trying to find the name of a DeGrazia print for my church’s upcoming auction the other day and found a lot of information about this popular artist (but alas, not the name of the print). I find that many people have a growing appreciation for his work and that older prints are increasing in price. So here’s some information about the artist.
Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia (June 14, 1909 – September 17, 1982) was an American impressionist, western-pop painter, sculptor, and lithographer. Self-described as “the world’s most reproduced artist”, DeGrazia is known for his pastel images of Native American children of the American Southwest and other Western scenes.
Born to an Italian copper miner in Morenci, Arizona Territory, DeGrazia’s graduation from Morenci High School was delayed to the age of 23 by a four-year family trip to Italy beginning in 1920. In the early 1940s he studied under Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, assisting with murals at the Palacio Nacional and the Hospital de Jesus. He returned to the University of Arizona, studying under Katherine Kitt where he received degrees in art and music.
In 1944, DeGrazia built his first gallery from adobe on the corner of Prince and Campbell Road in Tucson, Arizona. In 1951, he started work on what would become the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Historic District with the building of the Mission in the Sun and his home near the corner of Swan and Skyline roads. The DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun was built in 1965. This gallery is still open today and run by his foundation.
DeGrazia’s work first appeared in Arizona Highways magazine in 1941. In 1960, DeGrazia received a commission to produce cover art for UNICEF greeting cards. His designs have appeared on lithographs, collector plates, greeting cards, and in a series of Goebel figurines made by the same company that is famous for its Hummel figurines.