Press Release

PAFA Acquires Hundreds of Works from the John Rhoden Estate

PHILADELPHIA (January 8, 2018) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is proud to announce that the academy is taking responsibility of more than 275 works by American sculptor John Rhoden.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1918, Rhoden specialized in bronze and wood, was named a Fulbright Fellow in 1951, and has had his work displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

“PAFA is committed to elevating the reputations for artists whose accomplishments have not been fully recognized, often for reasons of race and gender. Through a comprehensive study, traveling exhibition, and distribution of his work, PAFA will give John Rhoden the attention he deserves,” said David Brigham, President and CEO of PAFA.

In 1950, Rhoden’s work was displayed at PAFA’s annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture. In the Philadelphia-area, Rhoden is best known for Nesaika, a nine-foot-high bronze in front of the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) which they commissioned at the time of their founding in 1976.

In 2001, Rhoden passed away at the age of 82 and was survived by his wife, Richanda, who passed away in 2016. The executor of the Rhoden estate, Robert T. Anker, is now entrusting PAFA to gain John Rhoden his long overdue recognition within the art world.

In addition to Rhoden’s work, PAFA will also receive $5 million to fund a curator of the Rhoden Collection, a book and exhibition about Rhoden, a full scholarship for a PAFA student and construction of a new Arts Center at PAFA.

Approximately 8-10 sculptures by Rhoden will be permanently installed in the new auditorium of the John and Richanda Rhoden Arts Center in the PAFA building on North Broad Street. PAFA will also select a representative group of sculptures in bronze, wood and stone for the permanent collection. The rest will be placed by PAFA into museums across the country.

Last Updated
April 9, 2019 - 12:52 PM

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is the United States’ first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers a world-class collection of American art, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and educational opportunities in the fine arts. The PAFA Museum aims to tell America's diverse story through art, expanding who has been included in the canon of art history through its collections, exhibitions, and public programs, while classes educate artists and appreciators with a deep understanding of traditions and the ability to challenge conventions. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.