Polk Museum of Art Receives Artwork in John Rodda’s Memory

The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College announces the donation of a Yousuf Karsh photograph of British author and playwright George Bernard Shaw.

Robert and Malena Puterbaugh donated the photograph in memory of John A. Rodda, who passed away on April 30. It will be displayed in the museum in the fall.

The Puterbaughs selected the Shaw portrait taken in 1943 because it is one of Karsh’s most important and detailed photographs, Robert Puterbaugh wrote in a memo included with the donation.

Karsh said the following about the photograph:

“He said I might make a good picture of him – but none as good as the picture he had seen at a recent dinner party where he glimpsed, over the shoulder of his hostess, a perfect portrait of himself. He pushed by the lady, approaching the living image, and found he was looking in a mirror! The old man peered at me quizzically to see if I appreciated his little joke. It was then that I caught him in my portrait.”

The museum has built a collection through the years of important photographs Its collection includes other works by Karsh, as well as photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Jerry Uelsmann, Elliott Erwitt and Herman Leonard.

“We are honored to receive this generous gift in John’s memory,” PMA Executive Director Claire Orologas said. “The quality of this work is apt for the man he was.”

Rodda, founder of Rodda Construction, Inc., lent his operations expertise to the museum through the years, and as a Florida Southern College trustee, he played an instrumental role in helping the museum’s affiliation with Florida Southern become reality in 2017. He also served on the inaugural Board of Trustees of the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College.