An important and poignant oil painting by the very well listed American artist and illustrator Francis Luis Mora. This large and expressive artwork was created as the frontispiece for the December 1918 issue of Red Cross Magazine. As published this appeared atop moving poetry by Sara Teasdale reflecting on the mighty suffering and loss World War I had inflicted on the women left behind on the American home front during the bloody conflict.
A complete copy of the printed magazine with illustrated work is included in the sale. This historically significant painting was commissioned for print use shortly before the Armistices that ended conflict, and in fact, the piece represents a strange limbo in America. Though by December 1918 the war had ended, the magazine went to the presses too early to reflect this fact. From the home front cover on the magazine that was created by Jessie Willcox Smith to the Prayer of the Women, the Red Cross Magazine presents a glimpse into the shift between war and peace, and the uneasy mournfulness that accompanied it. In his depiction of two generations of American women with their eyes turned towards the angels, Mora captures this unique point in history, and the tragedy that always accompanies war. This is beautifully framed and ready for your home or gallery.
“The Prayer of the Women” by Sarah Teasdale —
“Hear us, father, we are the millions of women. We are the homeland army, the patient ones. Take the work of our hands, take our secret weeping. We who have given our husbands, our brothers our sons.
Make our courage clear as herald angels’ singing; Keep our hopes high as the star that stood above – A mother leaning, long ago, over a manger cradle…. The strength of men is their might, but a woman’s strength is love.”
From the Charles Martignette estate, the text portion that appears in the printed frontispiece usage of the illustration (lower left in the painted blank window) has been overlaid on a clear sheet of removable transparent thin plastic.
Francis Luis Mora 1874 – 1940 was one of the great American artists of late 19th and early 20th centuries. His illustrations were found in magazines and periodicals such as Harper’s Weekly, The Red Cross Magazine, Scribner’s and Century Magazine. Mora also taught and exhibited extensively at the Art Students League of New York. Born in Uruguay in 1874, his family moved to America when he was a child. His father, Domingo Mora, was a well-known Spanish artist who gave his son his early artistic training. Mora attended the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School where he studied drawing and painting under Frank Benson and Edmund Trabell. Later he studied under H. Siddens Mowbray at the Art Students League in New York City. As did most promising artists of the time, Mora traveled to Europe to study the great paintings of the Old Masters. The influence of the Spanish Masters, especially Velazquez, is evident in Mora’s choice of subject matter and style throughout his career. Mora was also commissioned to paint the portraits of Andrew Carnegie and President Warren G. Harding, both of which hang in the White House.