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 Leonard (Black Moon) Riddles  (1918 - 2003)



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Lived/Active: Oklahoma      Known for: mustangs, Indian figure, genre, mural

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Sun Dance of the Comanche
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter, muralist, illustrator and teacher, Leonard Riddles had a primary interest in mustang horses, which he depicted in highly realistic manner in his paintings and which he raised with his wife, Eva, on a ranch near his hometown of Walters, Oklahoma. These horses are known for their stamina, endurance and agility. Raising mustangs was part of Riddles' family heritage as his great grandfather had a herd of about 250 Appaloosas, one of the mustang groups. Leonard Riddles served on the Board of Directors for the Southwest Spanish Mustang Association, whose aim is to restore and preserve the breed.

Riddles, who died June 30, 2003 in Walters, was born to a father who was white and a Comanche Indian mother. His Indian name is Black Moon. He was raised in Williams, and took his art training at the Fort Sill Indian School and with Olaf Nordmark, a muralist. He served in World War II from 1941 to 1945 and then returned to Walters where he was a rancher, painter, carpenter, teacher, muralist and community activist in farm programs and Indian affairs.

He took great pride in his own culture and reflected this devotion in his artwork. He said that his purpose in painting was "to depict the Comanche people authentically and extensively" and to meet his own" requirement which was that my paintings meet the approval of my elder relatives and friends." (Lester 467)

Riddles illustration work included the 1979 book cover for the Cotton County HIstorical Society, and mural commissions were located at the Depot in Walters, Oklahoma; Fort Sill Indian School and the Riverside Indian School at Anardarko, Oklahoma. In 1988 and 1989, he had coin designs accepted by the Oklahoma Numismatic Association.

Sources include:

Barbara Goodin, "The Mustang Horse"

Patrick Lester, "The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters"

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