Rare Roy Setziol Stone Sculpture Gifted to City of Salem

August 29, 2016

The City of Salem is now home to a rare mid-20th century stone sculpture by noted Oregon artist Leroy Setziol as a result of the City’s unique partnership with the Oregon Artists Series Foundation and a gift from Salem collectors, Armande and the late Daniel Ritter.  Mayor Anna Peterson will accept the work of art, now installed at the southeast corner of Liberty and Ferry streets downtown, on behalf of the City, on August 31, 2016.

“We are pleased to collaborate with the City and its Public Art Commission on bringing this unique sculpture to Salem,” said Jim Bauer, Oregon Artists Series Foundation board chair. “Our goal is to add vitality to downtown Salem by growing the presence of public art.”

The untitled sculpture was created by Leroy Setziol in 1968 when he was an artist-in-residence in Sunriver at the invitation of developer John Gray. Gray had identified a site for a work of art adjacent to the original Lodge at Sunriver – and Setziol set about finding the perfect pieces of basalt along the Deschutes River to create the sculpture. The untitled piece remained there until a subsequent addition to the Lodge eliminated the space for the artwork. At that point, the piece transferred to the Ritters, Salem residents with a second home in Sunriver, who installed the sculpture on their property there.   

The Oregon Artists Series Foundation was contacted by the Ritter family, which was delighted to gift the sculpture to it, provided the 3,800 pound work was transported to Salem and then transferred to the City. The Salem Public Art Commission approved the addition of the piece to the City’s permanent public art collection.

Recognized as the “most accomplished and respected wood sculptor in the Northwest,” Roy Setziol was born in Philadelphia and grew up in cosmopolitan Buffalo. After graduating with a degree in art from Elmhurst College, he completed a theological degree and then worked as a minister in Bennington, New York. During WWII he served as a chaplain with the U.S. Army 43rd Infantry in the South Pacific. After the war, Setziol began his career as an artist, first in Portland, and then in Sheridan. He developed relationships with architects and developers, like John Gray, and his public works were commissioned for projects including Salishan Lodge, the Menucha Conference Center in the Columbia Gorge and the University of Portland Chapel designed by Pietro Belluschi.  In Salem, Setziol created large interior works for the Salem Public Library and Salem Hospital.