Francis Luis Mora

Painting of two clowns and two tight rope walkers at the circus
Painting of two clowns and two tight rope walkers at the circus, framed

Francis Luis Mora
Uruguayan-American, 1874 – 1940

Untitled (Circus Scene)
Oil on canvas
20 H. x 24 W. inches

Pencil drawing of children seated around a table eating cake and wearing festive hats at a birthday celebration

Francis Luis Mora
Uruguayan-American, 1874 – 1940

Birthday
Pencil on paper
8 ¾ H. x 10 W. inches

Artist Description

Francis Luis Mora was one of the better-known American artists of late 19th and early 20th centuries. His illustrations were found in magazines and periodicals such as Harper’s Weekly, Scribner’s and Century Magazine. In 1903, with Robert Henri, Mora taught a class at Bayport on the South Shore and another class at Good Ground in 1904.  Both classes were identified as continuations of Chase’s Shinnecock School on Long Island.

As well as teaching these classes, Mora also taught and exhibited extensively at the Art Students League of New York.

Born in Uruguay in 1874, he moved to America with his family when he was a child. His father, Domingo Mora, was a well-known Spanish artist who gave his son his early artistic training.  Mora also attended the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School where he studied drawing and painting under Frank Benson and Edmund Trabell. Later he studied under H. Siddens Mowbray at the Art Students League in New York City.

As did most promising artists of the time, Mora traveled to Europe to study the great paintings of the Old Masters. The influence of the Spanish Masters, especially Velazquez, is evident in Mora’s choice of subject matter and style throughout his career. “Perhaps it is these very conflicting conditions in the life of Mr. Luis Mora that have evolved the unusual quality of his art, an art essentially Spanish in subject and feeling and wholly modern and American in expression…(Craftsm, 17:402).”

Over two-hundred of Mora’s sketchbooks are conserved at the Archives of American Art.  The particular sketchbooks from which the exhibited drawings are derived can be dated back to the early 20th century when Mora resided in Gaylordsville, Connecticut, New York City, and briefly in Carmel, California.

Mora was also commissioned to paint the portraits of Andrew Carnegie and President Warren G. Harding, both of which hang in the White House.

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