Ettore DeGrazia


Ettore DeGrazia : biography

June 14, 1909 – September 17, 1982

The arts department at the University claimed they did not give permission for Witzeman and DeGrazia to paint the mural on campus property. "That summer, while the rest of us were in blissful ignorance, " Witzeman said, "someone came in with five gallons of whitewash and covered it up. It was terrible."Lobez, Jesus Jr. "100 Years of the UA Student Press." The Arizona Wildcat Press 1985. The only evidence that the mural once existed is in the memories from family and friends and one oil on canvas DeGrazia painted for himself- a small excerpt from the original mural, and kept at the DeGrazia Gallery In the Sun.

In 1945, DeGrazia completed his Master’s Thesis with a sixty paged paper titled: "Art and Its Relation to Music In Music Education." "The purpose of this thesis is to establish an analogy between music and abstract painting, showing the relationship between the elements of music and painting by setting forth a method whereby music can better be understood and appreciated by the projection of its moods and feelings into another dimension."DeGrazia, Ettore (Ted). "Art and Its Relation to Music In Music Education." University of Arizona 1945.

Part of DeGrazia’s thesis included the ‘Color Machine’ which he built to measure the different levels of tone and pitch when music was being played. DeGrazia assigned specific emotions, shapes, and colors to his ‘Color Music Pattern Test’. He gave the test to over 350 students at the University of Arizona. He made each student listen to classical music, including Stravinsky’s Nightingale, and Beethoven’s Symphony #8. He would stop the music in certain intervals and ask each student what colors and shapes they saw. They would then draw what shapes they had seen.

In the archives at the DeGrazia Foundation, there are oral histories from some of the students who were given the Color Music Pattern Test. At first, they could not understand how they were going to be able to see shapes and colors. But the more they listened to the symphonies, the more the shapes and colors took form in their minds. They could literately ‘see the music.’ DeGrazia did a series of abstract paintings based from the results of these psychological, audio, and visual experimental tests. Incredibly, from these results DeGrazia was able to ‘paint’ these symphonies from the information the students had given him. They are abstract wonders of line, shape, and color. This remarkable Master’s Thesis is part of the permanent collection at the Gallery In the Sun.

In 1967, the University of Arizona granted DeGrazia the Alumni Achievement Award for all his accomplishments in art and his affiliation with the University.