I visited the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun in Tucson in December 2015. To read about my visit to the Mission in the Sun, the grounds, and DeGrazia’s original home, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/01/17/gallery-in-the-sun-part-1/.
According to the informational brochure I picked up in there, the gallery
was designed and built from the ground up by Arizona artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia, who achieved worldwide acclaim for his colorful paintings of native cultures of the Sonoran desert. Using traditional adobe bricks crafted on-site, DeGrazia built the gallery so his paintings “would feel good inside.”
Ted DeGrazia said,
The gallery was designed by me, I wanted to have the feeling of the southwest. I wanted to build it so that my paintings would feel good inside.
The gallery opened in 1965 and houses over
15,00 DeGrazia originals including oil paintings, watercolors, ceramics, and sculptures. There are six permanent collections on display and several rotating exhibitions each year.
As I visited the many rooms in the gallery, I was impressed by the huge amount of art DeGrazia produced during his life. Rooms with walls hung with art opened onto more rooms with walls hung with art. How did GeGrazia find the time to build a gallery made from adobe bricks and build a chapel and create over 15,000 works of art? I think he must have slept very little and had a wife willing do to all the cooking and cleaning. Of course, he must have also been absolutely driven to create.
Flash photography is not allowed in the gallery, but I was able to get some shots using just the light in the room.
DeGrazia was friends with Native Americans and often painted scenes from the ceremonies and every day life of these people. Here are some paintings he did of the things he saw when he visited his Native American friends:
When I saw the next two paintings, I thought, that man was seriously on some LSD. But maybe DeGrazia had the vision that some folks hope to gain when they take hallucinogens.
The gallery opens into a courtyard where there are many cacti, several sculptures and lots of cool found-object art pieces.
In the center of the courtyard is a fountain. In the middle of it is a sculpture of a Native American man wearing a deer headdress. DeGrazia created the sculpture.
I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent (at least a couple of hours) at the Gallery in the Sun. I recommend it to anyone who likes art, Arizona, cacti, Native Americans and/or the Southwest.
I took all of the photos in this post.