From Jo Mora’s Californios; dust jacket

Joseph Jacinto 'Jo' Mora

     Joseph Jacinto “Jo” Mora, born 22 October 1876 in Uruguay, died 10 October 1947 in Monterey California, just short of his seventy-first birthday.
     Jo Mora came to the United States as a child, he studied art in the New York, then worked for Boston newspapers as a cartoonist. He was a man of many other talents, artist-historian, sculptor, painter, photographer, illustrator, muralist and author. Later in life, he became quite a renown artist.
     In 1903, Mora came to California, then in 1904 he moved to Keams Canyon in northeast Arizona, living with the Hopi and Navajo Indians. He learned their languages and photographed and painted an ethnological record, particularly of the Kachina ceremonial dances. In 1907, he marred Grace Needham and they moved to Mountain View California. He moved to Pebble Beach in 1922 and established a home and large studio there, it being near the Carmel Mission (San Carlos Borroméo De Carmelo Mission) after being commissioned to do the Serra Sarcophagus* for Padre (Father) Ramon Mestres. The bronze and travertine marble sarcophagus showing Padre Serra lying in state with his friends Padres Crespi, López, and Lasuén around him was unveiled on 12 October 1924. Note that Padre Crespi died before Father Serra; Mora took a bit of artistic license here, but his work is certainly in keeping with the spirit. (* Note that a sarcophagus is an above ground box or tomb that contains a body. The memorial never contained Padre Serra’s remains. The correct name for the monument is Cenotaph.) Mora also worked in ceramics, wood and stone. “The Greeting” from 1928 is still a Carmel delight. Another of his tributes to Padre Serra greets new arrivals to Carmel (detail).

Poppy Nymph or Poppy Girl, ca 1930
From the Studio: Jo Mora Exhibition
Maritime Museum, Monterey California, 2004.
Photo © Patty Sokolecki Smoot.

     During his long and productive career, Mora illustrated a number of books including Animals of Aesop (1900), Dawn and the Dons - The Romance of Monterey (1926), Benito and Loreta Delfin, Children of Alta California (1932), and Fifty Funny Animal Tales (1932). He authored three books, A Log of the Spanish Main (1933), Trail Dust and Saddle Leather (1946) and his posthumous publication, Californios (1949).
     Cartes (charts, maps, posters) include California, first version (1927), Grand Caynon (1931), Yosemite (1931), Ye Old Spanish Main (1933), Indians of North America (1936) (see below), Carmel-By-The-Sea (1942) The American Cowboy Rodeo, a.k.a. Salinas Rodeo, Sweetheart of the Rodeo (Detail) (1932), California (1945) (large and small versions), Map of Los Angeles (1942), Salinas Rodeo (Levi version, 1950), Monterey Penninsula (date unknown), and Seventeen Mile Drive (date unknown) (Pebble Beach). His cartes are extremely collectible.
     In 1996, the Book Club of California selected Mora as one of the state’s outstanding book illustrators. Mora is also listed in Jeff Dykes’ Fifty Great Western Illustrators: A Bibliographic Checklist.



Por Favor

Por Favor

     Please do not send emails to me with questions about the various editions of Jo Mora’s work or about the value of those editions. I do not specifically collect original Jo Mora cartes and I am disinterested in how much profit may be made by selling an original Mora carte. Be aware that the publication rights to certain cartes were sold by Jo N. Mora (the artist’s son) to Jim Meyer Graphics, Inc., so therefore, the Meyer reprints are legal and authorized. The reprints are excellent.
     The 2005 retail price of authorized reproduction cartes usually is in the thirty-five to forty dollar range, while a pristine (unfaded, untorn, unfolded, etc.) original carte may run as high as twelve hundred dollars.

    1.  All images that appear on this page are used under the Fair Use provisions of United States copyright law, and are presented in this non-commercial venue strictly for pubic benefit (educational). All images appearing here are presented in low resolution and as thumbnail versions and have no commercial value. Be aware that any of Jo Mora’s work that was published after 1922 may still be in copyright.
     All images here were either scanned or photographed digitally from items in my collection, photographed by my wife Patty Smoot in Monterery and Carmel, or contributed by friends.

    2.  Used copies of Jo Mora’s books may often be found at Antiquarian Book Dealers. Many of those dealers offer their holdings through Advanced Book Exchange (ABE). A search of the ABE website is recommended.

    3.  The Pat Hathaway Collection of Historical Photos offers for sale, over 100 images by Lewis Josselyn of Jo Mora at work.

    4.  Today, you can see in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco CA), the Jo Mora sculpture of Don Quixote and his squire, Sancho Panza kneeling before and paying homage to the bust of their creator, Don Miguel of Cervantes Saavedra (Cervantes). (Area temporarily closed during construction of the new but grossly uninspired de Young Museum.)

    5.  Jo Mora’s book, A Log of the Spanish Main, was purchased by the Grace Steamship Line (W. R. Grace & Co.) and they offered it to their passengers. The pages could be changed to conform to different routes sailed, and ample space was provided for the passengers to write in their experiences. Therefore each used copy is unique and charming.

    6.  Two excellent sources for identifing most if not all of Jo Mora’s work is Collecting Jo Mora by Joss Grandeau and Don Short, 1995, and Back to the Drawing Board with Artist Jo Mora, by Julianne Burton-Carvajal, 2003, Noticias del Puerto Monterey, Quarterly Bulletin of the Monterey History and Art Association.

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