Spencer Asah

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Spencer Asah
Born Lallo
c. 1905–1910
Carnegie, Oklahoma, US
Died 1954
Education University of Oklahoma
Known for Painting
Movement Kiowa Five

Spencer Asah (c. 1905/1910–1954) was a Kiowa painter and a member of the Kiowa Five from Oklahoma.

Early life[edit]

Spencer Asah was born around 1905 in Carnegie, Oklahoma. His Kiowa name was Lallo (Little Boy). His father was a buffalo medicine man.[1] Asah's father provided him with extensive cultural information that he later used in his art.

Asah attended St. Patrick's Indian Mission School in Anadarko, Oklahoma, where he received his first art instruction from Sister Olivia Taylor, a Choctaw nun. Government field matron Susie Peters arranged for Mrs. Willie Baze Lane, an artist from Chickasha, Oklahoma, to provide further art instruction for young Kiowa artists, including Asah. Recognizing the talent of some of the young artists, Peters convinced Swedish-American artist Oscar Jacobson, director of the University of Oklahoma's School of Art, to accept the Kiowa students into a special program at the school,[2] in which they were coached and encouraged by Edith Mahier.[3]

Kiowa Five[edit]

The Kiowa Five, now increasingly known as the Kiowa Six, included six artists: Spencer Asah, James Auchiah, Jack Hokeah, Stephen Mopope, Lois Smoky, and Monroe Tsatoke. In 1926, Asah, Hokeah, Tsatoke, Mopope, and Smoky moved to Norman, Oklahoma and began their art studies at OU. Smoky returned home late in 1927, while Auchiah joined the group that year.[2]

In 1928, the Kiowa Five had their major breakthrough into the international fine arts' world by exhibiting at the First International Art Exposition in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Dr. Jacobson arranged for their work to be shown in several other countries and for Kiowa Art, a portfolio of pochoir print artists' paintings, to be published in France.[2]

Public collections[edit]

Asah's work can be found in the following public art collections:

Later life[edit]

Spencer Asah was a traditional singer and dancer who was active in Oklahoma's powwow circuit. He died in 1954.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lester, 26
  2. ^ a b c Pochoir prints of ledger drawings by the Kiowa Five, 1929. Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. (retrieved 24 April 2009)
  3. ^ Campbell, Isabel (1928). "With Southwestern Artists: All Indians have Six Fingers". Southwest Review. Dallas, Texas: Southern Methodist University. 14 (3): 360–369. ISSN 0038-4712. JSTOR 43466014. 
  4. ^ Lester, 27
  5. ^ Wyckoff, 65


  • Lester, Patrick D. The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8061-9936-9.
  • Lydia L. Wyckoff, ed. Visions and voices : Native American painting from the Philbrook Museum of Art. Tulsa, OK: Philbrook Museum of Art, 1996. ISBN 0-86659-013-7

External links[edit]