F. (Francis) Luis Mora (1874-1940) was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, on July 27, 1874. His father, Domingo Mora (1840- 1911), was a Spanish architectural sculptor. His mother, Laura Gaillard, had two sisters who married into the extended Bacardi rum family of Santiago de Cuba.
In 1880, Domingo Mora accepted a position as Director of Design for the Perth Amboy Terra Cotta Company in New Jersey. Luis Mora was raised in Perth Amboy, receiving his first art instruction from his father. F. Luis entered the Boston Museum School of Fine Art in 1889 when he was fifteen years old. His teachers were Frank Benson and Edmund Tarbell. In 1893, Mora returned to New York to work as an illustrator and to study composition with H. Siddons Mowbray at the Art Students League. In 1900, Mora married Sophia Brown Compton, daughter of the mayor of Perth Amboy, NJ. The couple lived in New York City.
Mora's life-long artistic goal was to adapt the techniques of the Spanish Old Masters into American modern painting. Mora frequently traveled to Spain to visit his extended family, and to paint. He also copied masterpieces by Diego Velázquez in the El Museo del Prado in Madrid. His patrons for Spanish scenes were Alfred Stieglitz and William Macbeth. He had a solo show of Spanish paintings in 1910 at the New York Watercolor Club.
In 1904, Mora was elected an Associate at the National Academy of Design and became a full member in 1906. He was the first Hispanic to be elected to the NAD, and he became an exhibition jury member in 1907. Mora was also a member of The National Arts Club, The Art Students League, The Salmagundi Club, The Pen and Brush Club, The Architectural League, The American Watercolor Society, and many other art societies. Mora won three medals at National Academy competitions, and he also won medals at the St. Louis World's Fair Exhibition in 1904 and at the Panama-American Exhibition in San Francisco in 1915.