John R. Stahl: Oregon Artist

Aaron Johanson, “Portrait of John R. Stahl holding his sculpture Nootka (1983),” 2000, gelatin silver print, collection of Janet Stahl.

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University is pleased to present an exhibition that celebrates the life and legacy of Oregon artist John R. Stahl (American, 1937-2017). Organized by professor emeritus and senior faculty curator Roger Hull, the exhibition features a wide range of Stahl’s artwork from the past 45 years, including paintings, assemblages, sculpture, and works on paper drawn from private collections as well as the Hallie Ford Museum of Art’s permanent collection. The exhibition “John R. Stahl: Oregon Artist” opens May 11 and continues through August 11, 2019 in the Study Gallery and Print Study Center.

John R. Stahl (American, 1937-2017), “Pictures at an Exhibition,” 2015, acrylic on canvas, 70.5 x 73.5 in., John R. Stahl estate. Photo: Aaron Johanson

Hull says, “From childhood on, Stahl aligned with nature—in its terrain, waterways and rhythms. He was a modern artist interested in pattern and abstract forms, and he was also a traditional artist who created realistic images of birds and landscape. He investigated both these aesthetic realms throughout his long life as an Oregon artist with the result that his art appeals to a broad and varied audience.”

John R. Stahl (American, 1937-2017), “Ambling,” 1990, mixed media construction, 42.5 x 97.75 x 1.75 in., John R. Stahl estate. Photo: Aaron Johanson

In addition to being an artist, Stahl was an educator, and environmental activist who was born and educated in Michigan. Stahl and his wife Janet moved to Portland in 1967 where he enrolled in the Museum Art School (now the Pacific Northwest College of Art). Stahl’s instructors at the Museum School included midcentury Northwest artists Louis Bunce, Jack McLarty, George Johanson, Manuel Izquierdo and Eunice Parsons. He came to be recognized as a younger member of this cohort while also identifying with artists who had been his classmates such as Jack Portland and Orleonok Pitkin.

John R. Stahl (American, 1937-2017), “Round Butte View” (detail), 1984, 39 x 49 in.,
Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University, Salem, Oregon, Maribeth Collins Art Acquisition Fund, 2007.026.001. Photo: Dale Peterson

Attracted by the beauty of the Oregon Coast, the Stahls built a house in 1979 on Netarts Bay near Tillamook and settled there permanently. Stahl continued to draw artistic inspiration from the landscape and nature throughout the rest of his career.  

John R. Stahl (American, 1937-2017), “Buffleheads,” 1982, hand-colored etching, 30 x 22 in., John R. Stahl estate. Photo: Aaron Johanson

A complimentary lecture will be presented by Roger Hull on June 23 at 2 p.m. in the Roger Hull Lecture Hall at the museum and will further explore the art and life of Stahl.

Book Cover: “John R. Stahl: A Life in Art”
Essays © 2019 by Roger Hull, Lucinda Parker, Bonnie Laing-Malcomson, and Janet J. Stahl
Book © 2019 by the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University
Hardcover, full color, 136 pages
Available at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art starting 4/11/2019

The exhibition is also presented in conjunction with the publication of a full-color, 136 page hardcover book on Stahl’s art, life and career, written by Hull with additional short essays by Janet Stahl, former Portland Art Museum curator Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson and Portland artist Lucinda Parker. The book will be available at the museum for $24.95 starting May 11.

Financial Support

Financial support for this exhibition and accompanying book was provided by generous contributions from numerous private individuals, as well as by general operating support grants from the City of Salem’s Transient Occupancy Tax funds and the Oregon Arts Commission.


About the Hallie Ford Museum of Art

Oregon’s third largest art museum features works by Pacific Northwest and Native American artists, and includes a diverse collection of traditional European, American and Asian art, as well as artifacts that date from antiquity. Frequently changing exhibitions include lectures, special events, tours, artist demonstrations and educational opportunities for children and adults.

The museum is located at 700 State St. in Salem. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed on Monday. General admission is $6, $4 for seniors and $3 for students 18 and older. Students 17 and under and children are admitted free. Admission is free for everyone on Tuesdays. For more information call 503-370-6855 or visit

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