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Oklahoma Arts CouncilOklahoma Arts Council

Buffalo Hunter

by Stephen Mopope

Tempera on paper
Dimensions: 19.5 x 24.75
Purchased through a National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1972

Buffalo Hunter by Stephen Mopope

The Artwork

In this tempera on paper artwork, a male American Indian on horseback spears a buffalo. The painting was produced in the "flat" style that is reminiscent of ledger art. By creating the image primarily devoid of a background, the artist keeps the emphasis on the action. The artist heightens the tension by depicting the legs of the horse and buffalo parallel but arranging the spear so that it appears perpendicular to the other angles.

The Artist

Stephen Mopope, Kiowa, was born August 27, 1898 on the Kiowa Reservation in Indian Territory. Mopope was one of the famed “Kiowa Artists,” a group of artists which are credited with developing the "flat" contemporary style of Native American painting.

Mopope was one of six young Kiowa Indians who were afforded the opportunity to attend the University of Oklahoma in non-accredited painting instruction under Oscar Jacobson's leadership of the art department. It was at the university that his talent began to develop and he became an accomplished painter. During his career had several government commissions, including the Anadarko Post Office, which he painted murals of traditional Kiowa life. Mopope was one of Oklahoma’s great cultural treasures. He passed away on February 3, 1975 in Ft. Cobb, Oklahoma.