Stephen Mopope spent much of his childhood with his grandmother near the Red Stone Mission in what is now Caddo County, Oklahoma. Art played a central role in his life from a young age. His great uncle, Silver Horn, produced more than one thousand illustrations in the form of calendars and tribal histories. Silver Horn taught his nephew to paint on animal hides and tipis with earth pigments. Mopope later took lessons from Sister Olivia at St. Patrick’s Mission School in Anadarko. He was nearly thirty when he took the opportunity to study art with Oscar Jacobson at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. See page 130.
Throughout his life, Mopope’s main source of inspiration and subject matter came from Kiowa rituals and traditions. He completed many public art pieces during the 1930s, including murals at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, see page 145, the Anadarko Post Office, Northeastern Oklahoma State University at Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and the Department of the Interior Building in Washington, D.C.
Source: “Murals Completed in School Library,” The Oklahoman, June 20, 1931; Jacobson, O.B., American Indian Painters, C. Szwedzicki, Nice, France, 1950; University of Oklahoma Libraries, Western History Collection, Oscar B. Jacobson Collection, Box J-13, Folder 42; Jacobson House website jacobsonhouse.com/kiowa-five; Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.