Francisco Mora (Biographical details)

Francisco Mora (printmaker; Mexican; Male; 1922 - 2002)

Also known as

Mora, Francisco


Mexican printmaker and graphic artist; sometimes referred to as 'Pancho' Mora; married Elizabeth Catlett (qv) in 1947.

Text from Dawn Adès and Alison McClean, 'Revolution on Paper, Mexican Prints 1910-1960', with the assistance of Laura Campbell, BMP, 2009.

Born in Uruapán, a small town in the central Mexican state of Michoacán, Mora was the son of a musician and a weaver. At primary school he demonstrated his talent for art by decorating the school walls. From 1933 to 1935 he attended the Technical School of Industry in Morelia, the state capital of Michoacán, and then moved to a regional rural school for the next four years, where he began drawing and painting. In 1940 he won a scholarship to paint a portrait of the State Governor, which enabled him to enrol at the art school of the Universidad de San Nicolás de Hidalgo in Morelia. Mora moved to Mexico City in 1941 and shortly after his arrival won a scholarship to study at the art school, La Esmeralda, where he was a pupil of Diego Rivera. He joined the TGP in the same year, and remained a member of the collective until 1965, contributing to exhibitions and publications. It was his involvement with the TGP that encouraged Mora to produce art focusing on social justice: he made posters for trades unions and prints for government campaigns against illiteracy. In 1945 the Association of American Artists commissioned him to produce a series of lithographs about mining, and in order to accurately depict their working conditions Mora spent some time in the mines. In 1947 he became a teacher of adult evening classes in Mexico City organized by the Ministry of Education.
During the 1950s and 1960s Mora began to exhibit his work in Mexico and abroad. In the early 1960s he travelled widely, visiting China, Mongolia, the Czech Republic, the Soviet Union and the Republic of Guinea in West Africa. His trip to the Republic of Guinea had a great impact on his work and he subsequently used African art as his main source of inspiration. In 1973 he was invited by the governments of East Germany and the Czech Republic to tour Europe, including visits to Holland, France, Belgium and the United Kingdom.
Mora was a founding member of the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana (Salon for Mexican Visual Arts) in 1968 and previously had a similar affiliation with the Frente Nacional de Artes Plásticas (National Front for the Visual Arts). In 1975 he received a medal from the Academia Mexicana de la Educación (Mexican Education Academy), of which he was a member. He married the African-American artist Elizabeth Catlett in 1947; the couple both had studios at their home in Cuernavaca, south of Mexico City.


Mexican Prints. From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams (Cm 5 14)