Friday, November 21, 2008
(Photo: Sacophagus of Father Serra sculpted by Jo Mora and unveiled in 1924 at the Carmel mission. Photo by J.D. Warrick. used under a Creative Commons by-nc-nd/2.0 license with approval of the photographer.)
Jo Mora's art can be seen in many places here, from his marble sculpture of Father Serra's body lying in state at the Carmel Mission to the 23 plaster and concrete heads of historic figures that rim the Monterey County Courthouse in Salinas. You don't have to wander far – maybe the Mora collection at the Monterey Museum of Art or the Harrison Memorial Library in Carmel – to learn that he was a versatile and prolific artist prized for his illustrated books, colorful posters, oil paintings, watercolors, and photographs, as well as his sculptures. His fanciful maps of Pebble Beach and Carmel, which sold for 50 cents in the 1930s, can today bring more than $1,000. Mora's legacy includes a collection in the Smithsonian. Born in Uruguay, he moved to the West in the early 20th century and ended up in Pebble Beach, where he spent 25 productive years before dying in 1947 at the age of 70.