Jo MoraPosted: January 19, 2016
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:
Here is Mora’s 1946 book Californios: The Saga of The Hard-Riding Vaqueros, America’s First Cowboys:
“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:
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:
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:
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:
How about his map of Los Angeles?
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.