Cecil Dick

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Cecil Dick
Dá-Ga-Dah-Ga Standing Alone (Cherokee Name)[1]

DiedApril 25, 1992[2]
NationalityCherokee Nation-United Keetoowah Band
EducationThe Studio at the Santa Fe Indian School
Known forPainting, murals
MovementStudio style, flat-style
AwardsSequoyah Medal

Cecil Dick, or Degadoga (1915–1992)[3] was a well-known Cherokee artist often referred to as "the Father of Cherokee Traditional Art".[4] Cecil, born near Rose Prairie, Oklahoma,[2] was one of the pioneers of 20th-century, flat-style painting among Eastern Woodland tribes in Oklahoma. He was enrolled in the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.

During childhood, he spoke only Cherokee. He became an orphan when he was 12 years old, and was raised in Cherokee boarding schools.[a] After one year, he left Santa Fe and returned to Oklahoma.[1]

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[1]

Cecil Dick became the first Native American to win the Oklahoma Artists Exhibition at Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa.[2] In 1983 Cecil was honored for his intellectual and artistic achievements with the Sequoyah Medal by the Cherokee Nation.[1][b] 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.[2]

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. He was a great man who loved the earth.

In 1996, a group of Talequah physicians donated an original Dick acrylic mural to the Cherokee Nation. One of the physicians, Dr. 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.[5]

Native American art experts reportedly appraised the auction value of the mural in the range of $65,000 to $100,000.[5]


  1. ^ One of these was the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School in Oklahoma, where the superintendent recognized Dick's artistic talent, and arranged for him to attend the Santa Fe Indian School for one year. Dick attended the Santa Fe school, where he found that he disliked the flat painting style, which was taught in the school. Instead, he preferred to paint in the Woodland Style, showing the plants, trees and hills that were a part of his experience. The school allowed him to continue in this style.[1]
  2. ^ He was the third person to receive the award.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Cecil Dick (1915-1992) Dá-Ga-Dah-Ga Standing Alone." AdobeGallery. Accessed August 11, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Indian Artist Cecil Dick Dies." Tulsa World. April 26, 1992. Accessed August 11, 2018.
  3. ^ "AskArt". Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  4. ^ "Cherokee Nation Receives Art Donation" (Press release). August 4, 2006. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  5. ^ 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.