6300 N. Swan Rd., Tucson
HOURS: Daily 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
I used to turn up my nose at Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia. His little sad-eyed native children are ubiquitous here, on mugs and Christmas ornaments and whatever else, and all the work seemed to me to look the same and offer little in the way of depth. A visit to DeGrazia’s amazing foothills home and Gallery in the Sun, which he largely built himself, changed my opinion of the artist.
When you see the home he built, and get a close-up look at the more serious paintings that hang throughout the gallery—epic cycles about the Mexican Revolution, the “founding” of the Southwest by Cabeza de Vaca and his doomed companions, and the lives and traditions of Tohono O’odham, to name just a few—you may conclude, as I did, that, far from being a hack, DeGrazia actually created some of the most enduring impressionistic visions in the Southwest.
A native of Southern Arizona, DeGrazia attended the University of Arizona  and published his first work in Arizona Highways magazine. He went on to study in Mexico with muralists Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. He died in 1982 at the age of 73, but the DeGrazia Foundation carries on his memory at the Gallery in the Sun, DeGrazia’s first studio and gallery in Tucson , built in honor of Padre Kino and dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
A mission on the grounds features DeGrazia murals, with a roof open to the sky. The gallery has a gift shop stocked with DeGrazia reproductions for sale.
Even if you can’t muster an appreciation of this admittedly overexposed artist’s work, go for the native architecture and design to be found at his Gallery in the Sun, which may, after all, be DeGrazia’s greatest work of art.