Jesús Moroles

Last updated
Jesús B. Moroles
Born(1950-09-22)September 22, 1950
DiedJune 15, 2015(2015-06-15) (aged 64)
Education Luis Jiménez (sculptor)
Alma materUniversity of North Texas
Known forSculpture
AwardsUnited States National Medal of Arts

Jesús Bautista Moroles (September 22, 1950 – June 15, 2015) was an American sculptor, known for his monumental abstract granite works. He lived and worked in Rockport, Texas, where his studio and workshop were based, and where all of his work was prepared and finished before being shipped out for installation. In 2008, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. Over two thousand works by Moroles are held in public and private collections in the United States, China, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, and Switzerland. [1]


Houston Police Officer's Memorial Houston Police Officer's Memorial2.jpg
Houston Police Officer's Memorial


Moroles was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. He earned an associate degree from El Centro College in Dallas, Texas in 1975, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas in 1978. Also in 1978, he was an apprentice to sculptor Luis Jiménez. [2] After studying for a year in Italy in 1980, he returned to Texas and began producing his trademark large-scale granite sculptures. [3] Jesús also served for 4 years in the United States Air Force.

One of his first commissions was "Floating Mesa Fountain" for the Albuquerque Museum. [4] In 1987, he created one of his best-known pieces, "Lapstrake," for CBS Plaza in New York City. [4] His largest work is the Houston Police Officer's Memorial, which was installed in 1990 in Houston, Texas. [4] In 1995, he created three rose-colored granite works for the entrance to the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum in Wichita, Kansas, which are entitled Granite Landscape, Granite Weaving, and Fountain Wall. [5] In 1997, he created the public art piece "The Fallen Friend" for the New Mexico Veterans Memorial Park, which consists of 84 Portland cement pylons. [4] [6] In 2005, he installed the work Gateway Stele at Lubben Plaza in Dallas, Texas. [7] His works are displayed in numerous museums in the United States and other countries, including the personal White House Collection[ citation needed ], the Albuquerque Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Smithsonian Institution. [4]

In June 2015, Moroles's work Spirit Inner Columns was installed in the Hall Arts complex in Dallas. [8] The work consists of four 15-foot, 10,000 pound granite columns. [8]

On June 15, 2015 Moroles was killed in a car accident on I-35 near Jarrell, TX. [9] At the time of his death, he was leading a student internship program at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, where he had been artist-in-residence and primary designer for the university's Coming Together Park. [10] Moroles's studio in Rockport will work with USAO to finish the park, and the university is planning an event honoring Moroles for September 2015. [11]


Museums where Moroles's works are displayed include the Dallas Museum of Art, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Museum of Contemporary Art in Osaka, Japa), Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Albuquerque Museum, the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, Texas, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Moroles' sculptures have been included in over three hundred museum and gallery exhibitions worldwide. [1]

His sculptures are also displayed in the corporate offices of American Airlines (Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX), ATT (Dallas), City Group (NY, commissioned by E. F. Hutton), Credit Suisse (NY and Houston), American General Corporation (Houston), Texaco (Houston), Trammel Crow (Dallas), Viacom (NY, commissioned by CBS), the Woodlands Corporation (Woodlands, TX), and the lobby of downtown Houston's Hilton Americas-Houston hotel. [1]

His public art works include the China International City Sculpture in Beijing, Houston's Hermann Park, the Houston Police Officers Memorial, and Xiadu Park in Yanquing, China. [1]

Style and Technique

While he studied in Italy, Moroles was inspired by the marble-carving techniques he observed. [5] When he returned to Texas, he decided that he would focus on stone as an artistic medium. [5] To cut granite, Moroles used diamond saws. [12] Moroles's works include both polished and natural granite surfaces in what he described as a "harmonious coexistence." [13] He described his works as a "discussion" of how man interacts with nature, and he wanted viewers not only to observe his sculptures but also to touch the different surfaces. [13]


Moroles received state and national-level awards for his work. In 2007, he was awarded the Texas Medal of the Arts. [2] In 2008, Moroles was awarded the National Medal of Arts. [14] In 2011, he was designated a Texas State Artist by the Texas Commission on the Arts. [7] [15]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 "Jesus Moroles, Sculptor: Houston Garden of the Spheres," Houston-Shenzhen Sister City Association Archived 2016-02-15 at the Wayback Machine , site copyright 2004, accessed February 12, 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Jesús Moroles," Texas Medal of the Arts Awards, Accessed June 18, 2015.
  3. Pugh, Clifford. "Jesús Moroles, creator of beloved Houston granite sculpture, is killed in auto accident," CultureMap:Houston, June 16, 2015. Accessed June 18, 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Roberts, Kathaleen. "Sculptor Jesus Moroles killed in Texas car accident," Albuquerque Journal, June 19, 2015. Accessed June 19, 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 "Fountain Wall," Wichita State University, page last modified on September 16, 2011. Accessed June 18, 2015.
  6. "The Fallen Friend, (sculpture)," Smithsonian Institution, Accessed June 19, 2015.
  7. 1 2 Granberry, Michael. "Renowned Texas sculptor Jesús Moroles dies in car wreck," Dallas Morning News, June 16, 2015. Accessed June 18, 2015.
  8. 1 2 Weeks, Jerome. "Renowned Texas Sculptor Jesus Moroles Dies In Car Accident", ArtSeek, June 16, 2015. Accessed June 18, 2015.
  9. "Artist Moroles dies in accident," The Rockport Pilot, June 16, 2015. Accessed June 16, 2015.
  10. "USAO Mourns the Loss of Jesús Moroles," University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, June 16, 2015. Accessed June 18, 2015.
  11. Arnold, Kelly. "USAO campus park project continues to come together despite artist's death," The Oklahoman, June 30, 2015. Accessed July 1, 2015.
  12. Priest, Jessica. "Nave Museum features granite sculptor Jesus Moroles ," Victoria Advocate, March 28, 2013. Accessed June 18, 2015.
  13. Joel Moreau, "Stan Lee, Olivia de Havilland Win Medal of Arts Honors", Washington Post , Nov. 17, 2008
  14. "State Artists (Visual Art)," Texas Commission on the Arts. Accessed June 18, 2015.