Robert Schlegel, a Pacific Northwest artist, died of natural causes at his cabin on the Oregon Coast. He was 73.
Robert George Schlegel was born in 1947 and grew up in the foothills of the Oregon coast range on the ancestral lands of the Kalapuya people and which his family has farmed since 1877. The son of Robert and Dorothy Schlegel, Bob attended school in Banks, then studied biology at Willamette University, graduating in 1969. He taught in Vancouver, WA where he met his wife Peggy and soon after both began work at Clackamas High School. After receiving a master's degree from Portland State University, Bob started his career as a public-school administrator, with appointments in the Lake Oswego, Banks, and Forest Grove school districts, where he prioritized student learning and developed meaningful and life-long relationships with faculty, staff, and students.
Bob began painting full-time in 2002. His paintings and assemblages explore the complexities of people and the places they inhabit. He participated in group and solo exhibits in New York, California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Georgia, and Texas. In the fall of 2016, Schlegel was featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting's Art Beat. Bob recently collaborated with his son on a series of prints, Or Fact, A Formal Treatment. Editions of this work are included in permanent collections at Yale, Brown and Stanford. As an artist, Bob described himself as "tenacious with the sketch, whether it be in a life-drawing session or in the field. Through line, contrast, texture, color and composition, I explore my responses to form and shape where human-made objects collide with objects in the natural world."
Bob's spirit lives on in his wife, Peggy, a retired high school dance team coach; daughters Amelia (Dan) Schenk and Beth Bolger; son, Rob (Kisha) Schlegel; two brothers, Bill (Laurie) Schlegel, and David (Jill) Schlegel; eight grandchildren (ages 7 - 20) and dozens of extended family members. He taught his grandchildren to draw, paint, drive on farm roads, clean swimming pools, plant gardens, mow lawns, trim trees, and to support those you love; he often attended up to three activities involving his grandchildren in one day. He taught us to appreciate the trees, to notice the sun hitting the hills or the fog sitting on the horizon. He noticed things and he taught us to notice too. There are no words to say how much he will be missed.
Bob left the world too soon. His legacy will live on in his journals, art, and in everyone he encountered. George Eliot writes, "Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them." Bob lives on in each of us; in each of you that choose to remember him.
The family will hold a private service. Details of a celebration for friends and family are forthcoming. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Bob's memory to Albertina Kerr.