Catalog Archive
Auction 153, Lot 735

Levi's Edition of Jo Mora's Decorative Rodeo Poster

"Levi's Round-Up of Cowboy Lore", Mora, Joseph Jacinto

Subject: Prints Cowboys

Period: 1965 (circa)


Color: Printed Color

23 x 33.9 inches
58.4 x 86.1 cm
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This is the second issue of the Levi's edition of Jo Mora's iconic poster, with a lower case "e" in the Levi's logo. One of Mora's most enduring creations, the "Evolution of the Cowboy" was originally used as a promotional item for the Salinas Rodeo. Later on, the American band the Byrds used the image of the Sweetheart of the Rodeo on their pioneering country-rock album of the same name, released in 1968. The poster is a veritable illustrated encyclopedia entry on the cowboy, filled with information on the various types of cowboys, their fashions, their saddles, their horses, and their relationship to the cattle. A hectic and exaggerated rodeo scene appears in the center, with more realistic illustrations directly below depicting different rodeo activities in close-up detail. Across the top of the sheet and along the sides is a medley of cowboy types throughout history, from the Spanish conquistador of the 16th century to the modern vaqueros and cowboys. Levi Strauss & Co. purchased the rights to Mora's poster from his son, added a new title across the top, and replaced Mora's dedication with their logo. In the center of the poster's new title is an illustration of the World's Champion Cowboy Buckle from 1950, an award issued by the company to "the Champion All-Around cowboy of the year." Ad copy linking Levi's to the cowboy lifestyle surrounds the Sweetheart of the Rodeo, replacing the silhouettes of cowboys and their horses from the previous, Levi's-free issue.

Mora (1876-1947) was an Uruguayan-American artist and cowboy with a deep fascination with the American West and an inimitable style. He is perhaps best known for his "cartes", cartoonish yet precise maps of locations out west that are packed with humor and detail.


Condition: A

A clean, bright example with bold color. There are some short edge tears and a faint damp stain in the sheet's left blank margin.

Estimate: $700 - $850


Closed on 5/20/2015