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Treasures of the Rare Books Room: Kiowa Indian Art

Treasures of the Rare Books Room: Kiowa Indian Art

Sometimes the library finds that its treasures are resting in the collection, waiting to be discovered. These Kiowa Indian Art prints were shelved in the Art, Music & Recreation Department for many years. During a routine check of a rare book catalog, I read the story of the prints and was amazed by their beauty and colors. The portfolio of prints was moved to the Rare Books Room to preserve them for the future.

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In 1928 Oscar Brousse Jacobson, the director of the School of Art at the University of Oklahoma, met five young Indian artists of the Kiowa tribe. Their names were Spencer Asah, Jack Hokeah, Steve Mopope, Monroe Tsa-to-ke and Miss Bou-ge-tah Smoky.

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To preserve their work for others, an edition of their prints was published in France in 1929 using the pochoir process. Pochoir means stencil and this process employs multiple stencils and hand applied layers of paint to create prints of great beauty and vibrant colors. These beautiful images show us the life of an Oklahoma Indian tribe.

If you are interested in viewing this set, call the Art, Music and Recreation Department at 414-286-3071 to arrange a visit.

Patricia DeFrain, Rare Books Librarian

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