Jo Mora

jo mora yosemite

Jo Mora has to be in the conversation about top Uruguayan-Californian artists, yet I’d only heard of him a few weeks ago when co-worker Charles called my attention to the cover art for The Byrds’ Sweetheart Of The Rodeo album:

drawn from a Mora poster of a rodeo in Salinas:

rodeo poster

Here is Mora’s 1946 book Californios: The Saga of The Hard-Riding Vaqueros, America’s First Cowboys:

IMG_2037 (1)




Look at these fucking hipsters.



“He won added renown for his beautifully executed and historically accurate dioramas.”  What a thing to say about a man!  Let’s have a look at the dioramas for his friend Will Rogers:



will rogers diorama trip advisor

These dioramas look so great, and there aren’t many photos of them online.  This one is fantastic, and so is this one.  And don’t miss this one!  I didn’t copy them here because Flickr user Todd Carr has all his rights reserved.  I feel pretty ok about reproducing most widely-available photos, but I dunno, Todd went to the trouble of going to Claremore, Oklahoma, and since he’s pretty much the only source on these,and he did a great job, it doesn’t feel quite right.  Still, I hope Mr. Carr doesn’t mind me showing just this one, of what must be the plane crash that ended Will’s life:

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 11.11.59 AM

Hope you don’t mind Todd, you are a great photographer!

Mora was also a gifted sculptor — he made, for instance, these guys for the Pacific Mutual Building, right here at 6th and Grand in downtown Los Angeles:

mora sculpture

Here’s a list of Mora’s public artworks.  The list was put together by Peter Hiller, curator of the Jo Mora Trust Collection, and we thank him for his help and great work!  You can see and learn more about Mora over at their website, and Peter Hiller tells us he has the Los Angeles map for sale.

Mora began his career as a cartoonist in Boston.  Here’s an early cartoon, The Foolish Walrus:

the foolish walrus

How about his map of Los Angeles?

Jo Mora LA

Or this menu?


Mora visited many Spanish missions in California that summer by horseback. He followed the “Mission Trail”, also called the “Kings Highway”.

What a boss.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 11.06.26 AM


3 Comments on “Jo Mora”

  1. peter hiller says:

    Dear Helytimes,

    I appreciate your new found interest in Jo Mora! Couple of notes that I hope will guide you on your way…the sculpture you feature in your blog is actually the Pacific Mutual Building at 6th and Grand in downtown Los Angeles.
    In addition, your link to the List of Jo Mora’s Public Artworks is a list of my creation – credit is always appreciated as you noted in your struggle about credit and reproduction with the Will Rogers Diorama photos.
    I also sell the Los Angeles carte you pictured in case you are interested.
    My name is Peter Hiller and I am the Jo Mora Trust Collection Curator.
    Thanks for your consideration!

    • helytimes says:

      Duly noted and updated! Thanks Peter, and keep up the great work! If there’s anything else you’d like me to add to the post, let me know! I’m sure my literally dozens of readers would be interested.

  2. Hi Helytimes,
    Just ran across your layout on Jo Mora. It is good to see new “faces” with interest in Mora. You did a nice job on the article. I read Peter’s comments and know him well.
    I have mint unsold Kachina print sets should anyone be interested.
    I am Terry Ahlberg and I collect Jo Mora in a big way since 1995.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.