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 Samuel P. Rodman  (1906 - 1979)

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Lived/Active: Illinois      Known for: portrait, figure

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A portrait and figure painter in pastels and oil and art educator, Samuel Rodman was active in the Ridge Art Association of Ridge Park, Illinois. He took his art training at the American Academy of Art and was active in Chicago in the Palette and Chisel Academy, a group founded in 1895 to promote art education and exhibitions. Rodman often judged exhibitions and did demonstration programs for the organization. One of his specialties was "doing half hour or less quick pastel portraits". (Smith). Rodman was also a trustee of the Vanderpoel Association, a Ridge Park collection, education and exhibition venue named for John Vanderpoel, long-time teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago.

During World War II, Rodman served in the 303rd Bomb Group and did several tail art paintings, meaning images painted on the tails of airplanes. One of them was on the Group's main bomber, the "Idaliza", which completed over one-hundred successful missions. Rodman's image was a pin-up girl with a face that much resembled that of actress Ida Lupino, whose photo he had seen in a press release. Another tail art painting by Rodman, also for the 303 Bomb Group, was for "Lady Luck". The tail of the plane was huge, which made the job easier for Rodman, who again painted a pin-up, sensual looking, partially clothed female figure. "Lady Luck", however, was not as fortunate as "Idaliza", as she crashed near Winchester, England in September 1943 after twenty-five missions. A third tail-art decoration by Rodman was for "The Little Woman". Again the image was a female figure. The plane flew numerous missions, was shot up, and finally "withdrawn from operations", having survived the war with dignity.

Describing his good friend, Samuel Rodman, Chase Smith wrote: "Most unforgetable was Sam always putting a Christmas tree in the front window and actually enjoying all the decorations everywhere. He said, 'I'm proud to be jewish. I just don't want to be the only dark unlit house on the block when all around looks so festive and bright."

Sources include:

Chase Smith, Letter to Water Renn, former president of the Ridge Park Art Association, March 19, 2005. Courtesy, Sidney Hamper, President, Vanderpoel Art Association.
Nose Art Research Project, Ray Bowden, April 28, 2005.
Courtesy, Sidney Hamper, President, Vanderpoel Art Association.

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