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Setterberg exhibit opens Sept. 7 at Slayton library

BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE Loretta Pryor (from left), Virginia Hartz, Fran Pedersen, Dorothy Bloemendaal and Eleanor Norton, nieces of Rose Setterberg, stand in front of Carl Setterberg’s artwork on display at the Slayton Public Library.1 / 2
BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE One of the many works of Carl Setterberg on display at the Slayton Public Library is shown.2 / 2


SLAYTON — A coincidental meeting in New York City many decades ago planted the seed for a new art exhibit at the Slayton Public Library.

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Thirty-six works of Carl Georg Setterberg, a nationally known artist who lived from 1897-1982, will be on display in the library’s art gallery, beginning with an opening reception from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 7, and continuing during normal library hours through Oct. 31.

Rose Setterberg, a former Slayton resident and member of the extended Setterberg family who died in 2012, happened to cross paths with the artist Carl Setterberg years ago. Finding it curious that their last names were the same — and that the local Setterbergs had a family patriarch whose name was also Carl Setterberg — they (and Rose’s two sisters, Ruth and Josephine) became acquainted, and later became friends for life.

“It’s one of those things that’s just always been,” said Loretta Pryor, a niece of Rose Setterberg and one of the family members who has helped mount the regional Setterberg exhibit. “You don’t really recollect when it started.”

Rose, Ruth and Josephine began acquiring Setterberg’s paintings over the years — some were perhaps gifts, some were purchased — and at the time of Rose’s passing, the collection numbered about 40 works.

“We like his art,” assured Pryor. “It’s something the girls were really interested in, and when Rose had moved back here, she talked about the possibility of having an art show with his pictures, but it didn’t get done.

“When she passed away, we decided that before we’d divide them up, we would like to have them all together in a showing. We knew the library had different exhibits at times, so we thought that would be a good place to do it.

“We’re real anxious to share them with the community.”

Carl Setterberg’s art took a variety of forms, ranging from watercolors and oils to sketches, and including Western images, Air Force themes, magazine illustrations and women’s portraits.

“He was pretty diversified,” confirmed Pryor. “He was in the Air Force and did some art work for them, and for the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and he also sent our family annual Christmas cards with a picture on each that he’d done.

“We have a book at the library with a collection of those cards displayed, too.”

The artist was born in Las Animas, Colo., and studied art at several institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the American Academy of Fine Arts and Grand Central Art School in New York, among others. Carl Setterberg was a member of the Society of Illustrators, the American Watercolor Society and the Salmagundi Club. In 1962 he was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design.

He provided magazine illustrations for McCalls, Colliers, Women’s Home Companion and Redbook during his lengthy career.

“He liked horses and did quite a few, and several Western scenes,” listed Pryor. “He also painted portraits of women and some houses—when we started going through them, we were kind of surprised at the variety, so that made it kind of fun.”

Slayton Public Library Director Sharyl Larson and assistant librarian Becky Hudson welcome having the public visit the library to view art such as Carl Setterberg’s, though they find the Setterberg exhibit particularly interesting.

“They’ve never exhibited this collection anywhere, and the family offered it to us first, so this is pretty neat,” attested Hudson.

The Friends of the Slayton Public Library are sponsoring the opening reception on Sept. 7, which will include light refreshments.

Besides Pryor, her sister (Eleanor Norton) and their cousins (Fran Pederson and Dorothy Bloemendahl) helped select and arrange the artworks for the exhibit. Pryor and Norton are the daughters of Conrad Setterberg and grew up north of Slayton.

“After this exhibit is over, we will divide the art among family members,” shared Pryor. “But we’re very excited about this and think it’s fun to have them [the artworks] at the library.”

An extensive exhibit of Carl Georg Setterberg’s art will premier at the Slayton Public Library, 2451 Broadway Ave., Slayton, on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thereafter, the exhibit may be viewed during normal library hours through Oct. 31. The event is free and open to the public.