“F. Luis Mora was born in Uruguay, the son of the Catalonian sculptor, Domingo Mora, and a cultured French mother, Laura Gaillard. He was related to the Cuban Bacardi family, famous for its rum.. Mora’s family immigrated to America in 1880 before he could speak English. Yet, at fifteen he was one of the youngest students to train at the venerable Boston Museum School of Fine Arts. In New York, he soon earned a distinguished career as an easel painter, portraitist, muralist, and illustrator for the finest magazines of his era. He was also a popular teacher initially hired by the master of American Impressionism, William Merritt Chase, who became his mentor. Mora won almost every award and medal that was possible for an American artist. Today, his works are held in thirty-four major art museums.
Peter Falk notes, “Only a tiny fraction of the 65,000 artists listed in my Who Was Who in American Art have Hispanic roots. Fewer still are those Hispanics who won significant critical recognition. In 1906, Mora was the first Hispanic elected to the prestigious National Academy of Design, likely its youngest member ever.” Professor William Gerdts agrees, adding that “Mora was an artist of exceptional ability, too long overlooked in the history of twentieth century American art.”
Mora’s…life-long goal [was] to bring the techniques of the Spanish Old Masters into modern American painting. He traveled extensively through Spain; and later, he traveled throughout the American Southwest capturing village scenes, inspired by the Hispanic-Native American culture. Throughout Mora’s work, the Hispanic spirit is the common thread of this most unusual of American masters.” ("F. Luis Mora: America’s First Hispanic Master [1874-1940]" by Lynne Pauls Baron, Falk Art Reference, Madison, CT. 2008).