De Grazia: The Man and the Myths

De Grazia: The Man and the Myths

by James W. Johnson, Marilyn D. Johnson


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Artist Ted De Grazia (1909–1982) lived life with passion and verve, embracing risk and romance, becoming a legend in Arizona and gaining international acclaim. De Grazia: The Man and the Myths is a biography that reveals the eccentric, colorful man behind the myths. This highly entertaining book by James W. Johnson with Marilyn D. Johnson looks at De Grazia’s life from his early years until his death.

Born in Arizona Territory to Italian immigrant parents, De Grazia, who was also known as Ted DeGrazia, had a humble childhood as a copper miner’s son influenced his famous persona later. De Grazia often held forth at his gallery in Tucson’s Catalina foothills dressed in a pseudo prospector’s getup of scraggly beard, jeans, flannel shirt, boots, and beat-up cowboy hat. Outrageous stories of womanizing, scores of children, and drinking binges created an eclectic image that fueled stories of mythic proportions, along with global sales of his colorful paintings inspired by the Southwest and Mexico. He made millions through his paintings and the licensing of his art for greeting cards and trinkets. Critics called his work kitsch or commercial, yet thousands of admirers continue to love it.

Calling De Grazia a complicated man doesn’t begin to explain him. He once described himself as “not saint nor devil, but both.” The first book of its kind, De Grazia: The Man and the Myths tells the story of a life remarkably lived.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780816530502
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Publication date: 02/27/2014
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

James W. Johnson is a retired journalism professor at the University of Arizona, where he taught for twenty-five years. Marilyn D. Johnson is a former reporter and copyeditor at the Oregonian, the Arizona Republic, the Arizona Business Gazette, and the Tucson Citizen.

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

1 The Miner's Son 11

2 To Italy and Back 22

3 Getting an Education 27

4 The Bisbee Years 35

5 Learning from the Masters 43

6 Back to Tucson 53

7 A Marriage Ends 63

8 Life after Divorce 71

9 Appreciating the Indians 77

10 His Fame Grows 86

11 Coming into His Own 97

12 On a Mission 108

13 On New York City, Booze, and Commercialism 121

14 Building the Gallery 136

15 Honors for the Artist 145

16 On Bullfighting and Ballet 152

17 Finally, a Retrospective 168

18 The Superstitions 180

19 The Love of His Life 193

20 On Death 202

Epilogue 210

Acknowledgments 219

Notes 221

Bibliography 247

Index 255

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