Portland, OR. Rhoda Gantenbein Adams (1909-1977) was the granddaughter of Henry and Georgiana Pittock who grew up in Pittock Mansion. Her work is on display through November 13th in an exhibit called Through Rhoda’s Eyes: Balancing Art and Expectations. Included in the display is a photo of Ronda, brush in hand, in 1932. Rhoda was described as an imaginative and cultured child, she created art in the mansion’s third floor storage space and went on to study at the Art Students League of New York and Portland Art Museum School. As an adult, Rhoda embraced a traditional life as wife, mother, and supporter of the arts, but sought to continue to create art as well.

Rhoda on her wedding day: Rhoda posing on Pittock Mansion’s grand staircase on her wedding day.

Rhoda posing on Pittock Mansion’s grand staircase on her wedding day.

Watercolor painting: Rhoda’s artwork is characterized by vibrant colors and patterns, as seen in this watercolor cityscape painted during her 20s

Rhoda’s artwork is characterized by vibrant colors and patterns, as seen in this watercolor cityscape painted during her 20s

Fiber art cat cushion: Rhoda explored many art mediums, including fiber arts like this playful cat cushion.

Rhoda explored many art mediums, including fiber arts like this playful cat cushion.

“Amazingly prolific, Rhoda managed to balance family life with a life-long love of ‘making’. This in itself would have been a feminist act during her era.” Says Portland Art Museum-featured artist Anna Fidler. “Rhoda had a keen eye for what was happening in the broader art world with movements such as Cubism and Abstraction, and Contemporary Design, which she used to inspire her domestic arts.”

Rhoda found expressive outlets through fine arts like drawing and painting, and pursuits that fit well into her social and domestic life such as crafting custom hats and sweaters, designing colorful interiors and gardens for her home, creating one-of-a-kind Christmas tree decorations for her husband’s bank, and designing sets and costumes for Portland Civic Theater. In addition to her artistic projects, Rhoda continued her family’s commitment to community and used her social position to help start and raise funds for the Oregon Ceramics Studio.

Visitors can see her artwork through November 13th in the exhibit:Through Rhoda’s Eyes: Balancing Art and Expectations.

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