Cecil Dick

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cecil Dick
Dá-Ga-Dah-Ga Standing Alone (Cherokee Name)

Rose Prairie, Oklahoma, U.S.[1]
DiedApril 25, 1992[1]
NationalityCherokee Nation-United Keetoowah Band
EducationSanta Fe Indian School
Known forPainting, murals
MovementStudio style, "Flatstyle"
AwardsSequoyah Medal

Cecil Dick, or Degadoga (1915–1992)[2] was a well-known Cherokee artist often referred to as "the Father of Cherokee Traditional Art".[3]


Cecil, born near Rose Prairie, Oklahoma,[4][1][5] was one of the pioneers of 20th-century, flat-style painting among Eastern Woodland tribes in Oklahoma. He was part of the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. During childhood, he spoke only the Cherokee language. He became an orphan when he was 12 years old, and was raised in Indian boarding schools. He attended "The Studio" at the Santa Fe Indian School and Bacone College.[5]

Dick did not paint on a regular schedule, but only when he felt like doing so. He regularly worked as a draftsman and as a sign painter to support himself. Hence his art work is relatively rare. He also became known as an authority on Cherokee mythology and the written Cherokee language.[4]

Cecil Dick became the first Native American to win the Oklahoma Artists Exhibition at Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa.[1] In 1983 Cecil was honored for his intellectual and artistic achievements with the Sequoyah Medal by the Cherokee Nation.[4][a] The Cherokee Heritage Association held a 50-year retrospective exhibition of his lifetime work that same year. In 1991, the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, Oklahoma named the "Cecil Dick Master of Heritage Award" in his honor. This award is given out during its annual Competitive Art Show to recognize outstanding paintings in the flat-style.

His obituary stated that some of his paintings were in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C., the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Tulsa's Gilcrease Museum and the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee.[1]

Death and legacy[edit]

Cecil died in 1992 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, (respectful correction: He died at a Tulsa Hospital but lived in Tahlequah) having spent over 50 years recording Cherokee culture and history in his art.

In 1996, a group of Talequah physicians donated an original Dick acrylic mural to the Cherokee Nation. One of the physicians, Ed Painter, had commissioned the work in 1960, and hung it in the Tahlequah Medical Center. The mural is 4 feet (1.2 m) tall by 15 feet (4.6 m) wide. Titled "The Curing of the Fever," it portrays Cherokee healing practices before the initial contact with white men.[6]

Native American art experts reportedly appraised the auction value of the mural in the range of $65,000 to $100,000.[6]


  1. ^ He was the third person to receive the award.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Indian Artist Cecil Dick Dies." Tulsa World. April 26, 1992. Accessed August 11, 2018.
  2. ^ "AskArt". Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  3. ^ "Cherokee Nation Receives Art Donation" (Press release). August 4, 2006. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d "Cecil Dick (1915-1992) Dá-Ga-Dah-Ga Standing Alone." AdobeGallery. Accessed August 11, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Power, Susan C. (2007). Art of the Cherokee: Prehistory to the Present. University of Georgia Press. p. 171. ISBN 9780820327662.
  6. ^ a b "Physicians donate Cecil Dick painting to tribe." Cherokee Phoenix. August 31, 2006. Accessed August 11, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Power, Susan C. (February 25, 2007). Art of the Cherokee. University of Georgia Press. ISBN 978-0-8203-2767-9.
  • Conley, Robert J. (2007). A Cherokee Encyclopedia. University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-3951-5.