Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith, 2021. First printing. Hardcover. 320pp. Octavo [23.5 cm]. Taupe cloth over boards with gilt text on spine and cover. Illustrated dust jacket. New. Item #60474
Jo Mora (1876–1947) lived the Western life he depicted in his prolific body of visual art, comprising sculpture, paintings, architectural adornments, dioramas, and maps. He explored California Missions, the natural glories of Yosemite, California’s ranch life, and eventually the culture of the Hopi and Navajo in Arizona. During his travels, Mora documented observations that became the source material and inspiration for much of his later artwork. The magnitude of Mora’s insights into his life and work, as described in his own words—many presented here in this book—cannot be underestimated. Jo Mora’s many diaries, journals, and literary efforts reveal an intellectual discernment, originality, and humor that enhance our appreciation of his work. Remarkably, throughout his life Mora supported his family solely through a series of art commissions that ranged from restaurant murals to heroic-scale sculpture. He welcomed risks and challenges, was unafraid of hard work, and did nearly everything well, from writing children’s stories to commanding an army battalion-in-training to shooting mountain lions. Ever modest, he seemed to think that this versatility was nothing extraordinary. Peter Hiller’s thoughtful presentation of Jo Mora’s life is seen here in all of its creative glory.