Thursday, June 7, 2012

The DeGrazia Collection

I have been raised to collect.  It's in my blood and I just can't escape it.  Just like my folks, I have collections here, there and everywhere.  Some of them I've just acquired and others I have slowly put together over the years.  If someone asked me what I collect, I would probably stare at them blankly though.  It's a hard question to answer!  My collecting interests are always changing and some of my collections are done growing, in my opinion, but I'll always have them.  
In my nursery post the other day, I mentioned that I was cleaning through my trunk of wall art and snapped a shot of that in progress.  One of you with very keen eyes noticed some DeGrazias laying about which is the collection on center stage today :)

This particular collection of mine was an acquired one.  A very lucky acquisition.  Before my folks bought their cabin which was about ten years ago, they bought a small, furnished trailer on Lake Hudson to temporarily quell their need to be close to the water.  Out of that trailer, I grabbed some sheets, an awesome avocado green rocking chair and the DeGrazia collection.  The artwork isn't really my folks' style but my dad quickly thought that it may be something I would be interested in.  Living in tiny little apartments at the time without much decor at all, I quickly snatched them up, displayed the ones that really sang to me and began researching them, as I do :) 
Ettore 'Ted' DeGrazia was an Arizonian obviously heavily influenced by the culture surrounding him.  He spent time studying under Diego Rivera whose influence is also apparent to me.  DeGrazia created his vivid art prolifically and gained nationwide attention in a very bold protest against the IRS regarding inheritance taxes; he famously rode horseback with 100 of his original paintings and burned them to the ground.  He would have rather burned his paintings than allow the government to collect money from them after his death.  I find that act fascinating which makes his art that much more intriguing to me.  There is also rumor that around the time of the blaze, DeGrazia buried a few of his original paintings with a map of their location given to his family.  I'd love to know if this was true!
The couple who amassed this collection were also said to have made these prints themselves.  My mom vaguely remembers hearing this and my dad has no recollection of this information but it's something that has stuck with me since the prints came into my possession.  We're still investigating what process they would have used and if they really did, in fact, make their own prints.  Each image is on a thick board which I was surprised to find as I removed some from frames I used in a project a while back.  They also cut out their own mats out of colored printer paper and used bargain bin frames leaving much to be desired on the presentation front.
As we progress in the nursery and colors start to come together, I plan on using several of these prints on the walls.  I want to *finally* reframe and possibly mat the chosen ones to give them the facelift they so deserve and to showcase them better than I ever have before.  I'm incredibly excited about their future life in a new space.  Expect to see them again :)


  1. Yeppers, love me some DeGrazia. Someday I'll take a picture of the few pieces I have. I have a couple that I cross-stitched as well.

  2. What an amazing collection, def reminds me of AZ & so cool to have unique pieces in the family. glad the wall and everything's coming together nicely in the nursey, seems like so so much work but love how you both seem really excited about it (well I guess you'd hope so haha. glad to hear u get a summer break too!


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