Artist of the moment…….Kiowa Five

The group known as the Kiowa Five or six artist was a group of native american artists that were encouraged by Oscar Jacobson to learn traditional painting techniques. Jacobson was born in Sweden and was hired by the University of Oklahoma to start a traditional art school. The Kiowa Five or Six if you include Lois Smokey all received traditional academic training. Smokey left after one year to pursue a family, she was the lone female artist of the group. All of the artists jumped onto the world art scene after the International Art Congress in 1928 that took place in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

In this clip we see the Jacobson house. Yes, built for the professor and its still standing! A brief background of the Kiowa Five is given also.

Price range information: Not enough results to form a consistent pricing schedule.

A brief history of the group. As children they attended St. Patrick’s  Catholic Children’s School. Whilst there they would draw and paint the rituals performed by their tribe. A woman named Susie Peters organized them into a group. This took place at a time when the native peoples were turning land over to the United States. Painting and making art was a way to preserve their culture and heritage. Eventually their art work came upon Oscar Jacobson who was heading the new art department at University of Oklahoma. Here is an example of Jacobson’s artistic style. Jacobson obtained a masters art degree from Yale University.  The Kiowa five was exactly that, but in 1927 Lois Smoky left to begin life as a wife and mother and was replaced by James Auchiah.


Stephen Mopope was born in 1898 on the Kiowa Reservation located in Oklahoma. He was seen as an artist from a young age. Mopope would go on to paint murals and do projects with the Works Progress Administration. Below is an example of his style. He passed away in 1974.
Another of the group was James Auchiah born in 1906 in Medicine Park, Oklahoma. He died in 1975. Here is an example of his style.

Here is a great link to view additional drawings of the Kiowa people that are held at the Smithsonian:

Lois Smoky left school in 1927 and passed away in 1981. Her works are the most expensive as she had the least output. Below is an example of her style. All are very similar in manner and in many ways their story is similar to the Highwaymen Painters I wrote about. A group of African American painters, like the Kiowa Five it was one woman and the rest men. They learned some painting techniques from a college educated painter and despite not being able to sell in galleries due to race,when on to achieve a fair amount of fame and financial success by painting on location and selling their works right on the spot!


When I first saw this painting I immediately thought of Thomas Kinkade! It is by Spencer Asah. He also worked in the traditional Native American style but I love this work! Asah lived from 1905 until 1954.


And lastly we have Monroe Tsatoke. This artist lived from 1904 to 1937. Again a similar manner of expression as the rest of the group. It must be said that all had great drawing skills in part due to Jacobson who not only was a painter but a master etcher.


I think more attention should be brought to this group, who took some lessons learned at the collegiate level and were able to have very successful art careers. Hope you enjoyed looking at this wonderful group of artists.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: