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 Jo Lee Rodke  (1893 - 1978)

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Lived/Active: Oklahoma/Arizona      Known for: portrait and desert landscape painting, design, illustration, pottery

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Ad Code: 4
Jo Lee Rodke
from Auction House Records.
elderly gentleman.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

Best known for her portraits in oil, Jo Lee Rodke was born in 1893 in Paris, Texas and died in 1978. She lived in Paoli, Oklahoma and later in Arizona.

Instruction from Frederick Becker, Oklahoma City.
Broadmoor Art Academy at Colorado Springs.
Martha Avery, Oklahoma City.
Mr. Good and Mr. Taylor from Oklahoma University, Norman Oklahoma.

Association of Oklahoma Artists, annually.
Midwestern Artists Association at Kansas City.
Art Association in New York.

WPA (New Deal) text:

"Jo Lee Rodke, one of Oklahoma's portrait artists, lives at Paoli, near Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.  Here she manages a house-hold and works on her art career, constantly studying to improve her work.
She was born in Paris, Texas, and came to Oklahoma at an early age.  After graduating from a teacher's college, she taught in the schools of several towns in Oklahoma before she married Leo B. Rodke of Pauls Valley.  Although she has painted since she was a child it was not until after her marriage that she had any instructions in this line.  Her first teacher was Frederick Becker of Oklahoma City.  Later she attended the Broadmoor Art Academy at Colorado Springs where she studied with Randall Davey and Ernest Lawson.  She has studied from Martha Avery of Oklahoma City; also from Mr. Taylor and Mr. Good of the University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.

Mrs. Rodke is best known for her portraits in oil.  One very interesting portrait is of the late Major F. J. Pearce, which is an admirable example of character delineation.  Her portrait of Mrs. Jane Blanton show poise and graceful dignity, to quote from the press notices from the Pauls Valley Enterprise of March 5, 1931.

She also does charcoal, pen and ink work, pencil sketches and water color.  In the commercial field she works as an illustrator, cartoonist, and designer.  She has created several patented designs which were purchased by pottery manufacturers. Her pictures have been bought by calendar companies and her illustrations and cartoons by magazines.

Jo Lee Rodke makes interesting linoleum blocks and does nice modeling.  She recently modeled a doll's head she sent east to a large manufacturing company.  She has made some clever marionettes of historical characters that were used in puppet shows given at the Seminole High School.

She taught art for a year in the Pauls Valley high school.  She enjoys this work very much and takes keen pleasure in the social life of the community in which she lives.  People interest her more than places or things, and she is never at a loss in finding material to paint.

She was represented in the exhibit of the College Art Association in New York City held at the Cooper Union Free Art School and at Fieldston, an outstanding private High School for the wealthy, when a student at East Central.  To this exhibit she sent two oil portraits,  Indian Girl and Young Dancer.

Information provided by Janis Williams who has compiled a book about the artist's life and work.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information is from Janis E. Roelofson, who entered it on a blog,

My step-grandmother, Jo Lee Rodke, was an artist who taught at the “Art Barn” in Mesa before it burned down. She was active in the Mesa Art League and won many awards. I compiled a book about her life and art, the Mesa Room at the Main Library has files on Mesa Artists and it houses the archived scrapbooks of the Mesa Art League. I remember my grandmother having “one man (woman) shows” at the old location of the Main Library when it was on the south side of the street it is now on – there was a wonderful arched stairway to go upstairs. She would set her paintings up in the seating area in front of the check-out desk in front of the stairway.

I had book signings for the book about Jo Lee Rodke (Storm) at Shawnee, Oklahoma where she taught Art and was very active in the Oklahoma Artists Association (which no longer exists), and at the Pinal Country Historical Society Museum in Florence, Arizona where she and my grandfather were charter member. She taught school (5th grade and Home Economics) for several years (1956-59) at rural Kenilworth School which at that time was part of the Florence District but is now owned by the Coolidge District. Her art studio was at her home on Cactus Forest Road where she taught art classes privately, and through Central Arizona Community College (I think). She became quite well known for her desert landscapes in the central AZ area, especially for her beautiful Palo Verde Tree scenes.

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