Francis Luis Mora USA

7-27-1874 Montevideo, URU - 6-5-1940 New York, USA

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Mora, Francis Luis

Francis Luis Mora was born in Montevideo, Uruguay to Domingo Mora, a noted sculptor and  Laura Gaillard, her two sisters, Ernestina and Gabriella, married into the Bacardi family, famous for its rum. Mora was close to the Bacardi family all of his life.

The Moras left Uruguay during an insurgency in 1877, when they went to Catalonia. In 1880, they arrived in New York City.

Francis Luis Mora was a precocious young artist, drawing historical scenes and scenes of his contemporary environs. At the age of fifteen Mora enrolled in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he studied under the American Impressionists Edmund Charles Tarbell and Frank Weston Benson. In 1892, Mora went on to complete his education at the Art Students League of New York, studying with Henry Siddons Mowbray. His formal art education was complete in 1893, when he was just 19 years old.

In 1896 when he was 22 years old, Francis Luis Mora traveled to Europe with his mother, his third trip to Europe. The two visited family in Barcelona and then headed to Madrid, where Mora coincidentally saw William Merritt Chase in the Museo del Prado. It was there, that Mora became inspired by the art of Diego Velázquez and other Spanish Old Masters. Over the course of many visits to the Prado, Mora practiced and refined his technique by painting copies of Velasquez's works.

Francis Luis Mora taught illustration and life classes at both William Merritt Chase's Chase School of Art (later to become Parsons) and the Art Students League. Among his students was Georgia O'Keeffe, who studied with him between 1907 and 1908.

Mora was also a successful portraitist who counted Andrew Carnegie among his subjects. Mora was selected by the Fine Arts Commission to paint a posthumous portrait of President Warren G. Harding. That portrait remains on permanent display in the White House.

In 1927, Francis Luis Mora had a solo exhibition in Argentina at the Buenos Aires Museo de Bellas Artes, which received glowing reviews in The New York Times.

Although he continued to exhibit, he won no further medals and few, if any, of his easel paintings were selling. Because of the Great Depression, he also suffered a dearth of portrait commissions, and his illustrations became few. Mora gradually ran out of money, and in 1939 he rented his beloved Gaylordsville property to strangers.

Francis Luis Mora had numerous solo shows in museums and in galleries. He was famous in his lifetime, but was quickly forgotten because his works were poorly handled after his death.

Influences: Diego Velázquez, Edmund Charles Tarbell, Frank Weston Benson, Henry Siddons Mowbray
Traveled: Spain, USA, Argentina
Influenced: Georgia O'Keeffe
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