Mopope, Stephen

Date of Birth: 
August 27, 1898
Place of Birth: 
near Red Stone Baptist Mission on Kiowa Reservation, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma)
Date of Death: 
February 3, 1974
Place of Death: 
Fort Cobb, OK.


     Stephen Mopope is one of the original world renowned Kiowa Five artists. Stephen was born on August 27, 1898 near the Red Stone Baptist Mission on the Kiowa Reservation, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Stephen's paternal grandfather was a Spaniard captured by the Kiowa from a wagon train crossing the prairie, & subsequently raised by Chief Many Bears. stephen's maternal grandfather was a noted Kiowa warrior Appiatan.
     Stephen's granduncle James Silverhorn (Haungooah) had a colorful history. He participated in the last Kiowa outbreak in 1874. James was a medicine man, who guarded a grandmother medicine pouch. From 1889-1894, James was a soldier under General Hugh L. Scott. James was a member of a delegation of Kiowa taken to the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C., where he sketched what he saw. James became a graphic artist, silversmith & featherworker, who was one of the most prolific & versatile plains Indian artists.
     When Stephen's granduncles James Silverhorn & Hakok found Stephen drawing designs in the sand, they decided to teach stephen to paint on tanned skins in the old Kiowa way. As a child, Stephen was educated in the Kiowa traditions by his grandmother.
     From 1926-1929, Stephen was one of six Kiowa students accepted by Oscar Jacobson for non-credit art instruction at the' University of Oklahoma. (one of the Kiowa students, a young woman decided to forego her art education & return to a more traditional Kiowa lifestyle.) Through their talents & Oscar Jacobson's promotion, these art students became known as the Kiowa Five. From that point on, although Stephen was also a farmer, he was primarily a dancer, flute player & painter. Stephen worked in watercolor, tempera & prints. Stephen made his home in Fort Cobb, OK.
     The Kiowa Five, including Stephen Mopope, were introduced to the Art World at the First International Art Exhibition in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1928. Stephen exhibited his artwork extensively at the Tulsa (OK) County Fairgrounds American Indian week, the Arizona State Museum (Tucson), the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), the Oklahoma Historical Society Museum (Oklahoma City), the Laguna Gloria Art Museum (Austin, TX), the Tulsa (OK) Garden Center Midwest professional Artists Benefit Art show, the Native American Center for the Living Arts (Niagara, NY), the Oklahoma Museum of Art (Oklahoma City), the Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa, OK), the Stark Museum of Art (Orange, TX), the 1965 Kermac Mural Design Exhibit & the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.). Stephen was given solo art exhibits at the American Indian Exposition & Congress (Tulsa, OK), the Jacobson House (Norman, OK) & the Southern Plains Indian Museum & Craft Center (Anadarko, OK).
     Stephen participated in several touring exhibits, including the Amarillo (TX) Art Center Native American painting exhibit, the Southern Plains Indian Museum & the Oklahoma Indian Arts & Crafts Cooperative Contemporary Southern Plains Indian Painting Exhibit, The College Art Association Exposition of Indian Tribal Arts Exhibit, the Joslyn Art Museum (Omaha, NE) Native American Paintings Exhibit, the University of Oklahoma European Tours, the University of Oklahoma Museum of Art Plains Indian Paintings Exhibit, the Heard Museum Shared visions: Native American Painters & sculptors of the Twentieth century Exhibit, the Philbrook Museum of Art American Indian Paintings from the Permanent Collection Exhibit & its Indianischer Kunstler tour of West Germany.
     Stephen's artwork is featuren in numerous private & public art collections, including the Anadarko (OK) City Museum, the Bank of America (Phoenix, AZ), the Cleveland (OH) Museum of Art, the Dartmouth College Collection (Hanover, NH), the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History & Art (Tulsa, OK), the Heard Museum, the Oklahoma Historical Society Museum, the Marion Koogler MCNay Art Museum (san Antonio, TX), the Katherine Harvey collection at the Museum of Northern Arizona (Flagstaff), the Museum of New Mexico (Santa Fe, NM), the Millicent Rogers Museum (Taos, NM), the Oklahoma Art Center Gallery All-Oklahoma Indian Artists Invitational (Oklahoma City), the Oklahoma State Art Collection (Oklahoma City, OK), the Gerrer Collection at the Oklahoma Art & Science Foundation Inc. (Oklahoma City, OK), the University of Oklahoma Library (Norman, OK), the University of Oklahoma Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art (Norman, OK), the University of Oklahoma Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of
Natural History (Norman, OK), the Philbrook Museum of Art, the Southwest Museum (LOS Angeles, CA), the Seminole (OK) Public Library, the Southern Plains Indian Museum & Craft Center, the Views & Visions: The Symbolic Imagery of the Native American Church at the Southern Plains Indian Museum & Craft Center, the Woolaroc Museum (Bartlesville, OK), the wheelwright Museum of the American Indian (Santa Fe, NM), the Peabody Museum of salem (MA) , & the U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Arts & Crafts Board, the Denman Collection of the U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Arts & crafts Board, & the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Museum (Washington, D.C.).
     Stephen received commissions for Murals at the U.S. Army Artillery & Missile Center Museum (Ft. sill, OK), the Oklahoma Historical society Museum, the Northeastern State university (Tahlequah, OK), the St. Patrick's School (on the old Kiowa Reservation), the University of Oklahoma, the Federal Building (Muskogee, OK), the First National Bank (Anadarko, OK), the Muskogee (OK) Junior college, the Northeastern Oklahoma A & M college (Miami, OK), the U.S. Navy Hospital (Carville, LA), the U.S. Post Office (Anadarko, OK) & the U.S. Department of the Interior (Washington, D.C.).
     In May 1957, Stephen was a speaker at the National Folk Festival Conference (Chicago, IL). In 1966, Stephen was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Arts & Crafts Board. Stephen Mopope died February 3, 1974 at Fort Cobb, OK.

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