top of page




Click on an image for enlargement and more information


John Rood (1902 – 1974)


John Rood, sculptor, was born February 22, 1902 near Athens, Ohio, the son of George D. and Frances E. (Snedden) Rood.  He left school at the age of twelve to help his widowed mother support the family, and educated himself in painting, music, and writing.  Two years in Europe fostered these interests.  Several years' work in printing and publishing culminated in the literary periodical Manuscript, published at Athens from 1934 to 1936, and edited by Rood and his first wife, Mary Lawhead.  However, Rood had begun to sculpt in 1933, and as he devoted more time to his sculpture the publishing venture was abandoned.


In 1937 Rood had his first one-man show in New York; more than a hundred one-man shows followed in venues across the United States.  His principal medium was wood, a preference reflected in his Folk Music Series and his books Wood Sculpture (1940) and Sculpture in Wood (1950).  In the late 1940s he took up stone carving; during this same time he and Lawhead divorced and Rood married his second wife, Dorothy Bridgman Atkinson in 1948.  Later he moved to metal sculpturs, using welding tools; his book Sculpture With a Torch was published in 1963.


In 1965 Rood had his first exhibition in Europe, at Milan and Rome.  Later phases of his work included "structachromes" of wrought iron and stained glass and, in the 1970s, painted wood constructions.


Most of Rood's career was spent in Minneapolis, and many examples of his work are located in the Twin Cities area.  His affiliation with the University of Minnesota began in 1944 as resident artist, and he won successive promotions until his appointment as professor in 1957.  He spent a few years in Washington, DC but returned to Minneapolis, where he died in March 1974.

bottom of page