By: Joseph Jacinto Mora
Original Date: 1941 (published) Monterey, CA
Size of Original: 30.75 x 23.25 inches (78x 52.7 cm)
This is an exceptional example of one of Jo Mora’s most exciting prints, The Evolution of the Cowboy.” Originally done in 1933, this example is the second variation, identified by the exclusion of Salinas Rodeo scenes at the top and the addition of the JO MORA PUBLICATIONS, MONTEREY CALIFORNIA located bottom left of the image.
Like most of Jo Mora’s works, there is a lot going on with regards to its visual presentation and information given. At the top we find the variety of western horse riders presented in a historical manner from the 16th century Spanish conquistador to the modern day cowboy with the “mountain man,” “buffalo hunter,” and “Texas cowman,” included among others. The print is flanked on either side with detailed descriptions and depictions of the various garbs worn by such men.
The center portion of the print displays a chaotic, cartoon rodeo scene that is adorned with the “Sweetheart of the Rodeo,” and image that would later find its way onto the cover of an album by the Byrds, released in 1968. Below this scene are several depictions of the various events that take place at the rodeo, some of which include bull and trick riding, steer decorating, calf roping and tying.
Also included within the print are numerous drawings of the various saddles, boots, spurs, stirrups, cow brands, ropes, and just about any other element of cowboy life that one can conjure.