Gallery Artists > Francis Luis Mora Biography :

Francis Luis Mora (1874 - 1940)  Artworks >>

Francis Luis Mora was one of the most versatile early 20th Century American painters. He was an easel painter who did formal portraits, a muralist, as well as a painter of allegorical scenes and lush nudes. Mora also produced a large body of work devoted to romantic Spanish subjects that reveal the influence of Ignacio Zuloaga Zabaleta (1870-1945), one of the great Spanish masters of the 20th century. Finally, Mora was also an excellent painter of plein-air landscapes and a well-recognized illustrator. Mora was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1874 to a Spanish father, the Catlan sculptor Domingo Mora and Laura Gaillard, who was from a highly cultured French Basque family. In 1880, when Uruguay was struck by civil unrest, the Mora family moved to the United States, settling in New Jersey where Domingo Mora took a job designing architectural terra cotta. Luis Mora grew up in New Jersey and Massachusetts and began his studies with his father, who first taught him to draw and the precocious young man drew and painted ceaselessly. At fifteen he enrolled in the famous Boston Museum School where his art improved rapidly and the young talent was illustrating professionally by the age of eighteen. Mora studied with the figurative painters Frank Benson and Edmund Tarbell in Boston and then with H. Siddons Mowbray at New York's famous Art Students League. He was under the thrall of Spanish painting from early in his career, and he made many trips to Spain to view and copy the masterpieces at the Prado and to paint with the prominent Spanish artists of the day. Like many painters of his era, the works of the Spanish Baroque painter Diego Valesquez were a major influence on the course of Mora's art. In 1900, he married Sophia Brown Compton, who was to prove to be a great asset to his career. By 1904 he was elected as an Associate Member of the National Academy of Design, and in 1906, he was made a full academician. He began his career as a muralist in 1900 and then decorated the Missouri pavilion for the 1904 St. Louis World Fair. As Mora's career advanced, he began to earn important portrait commissions including the dancer Isadora Duncan and President Warren G. Harding. During the First World War, he did a series of paintings dedicated to France, which was then America's ally. By the 1920s, the art world began to change, and there was less demand for the works of traditional painters, even ones as talented as Mora. The artist's life took a turn for the worse when his wife died in 1931, and the Great Depression made life even more difficult for an artist who relied on commissions and the sales of paintings. Mora married a wealthy widow May Safford in 1932, and eventually passed away in her New York apartment in 1940. Reference:

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