Saunders Schultz, acclaimed visionary artist, dies at 90

Saunders Schultz

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Saunders Schultz, known internationally as a visionary artist, died July 17, 2017, the day after his 90th birthday. He was a resident of Olivette.

Mr. Schultz was born in St. Louis on July 16, 1917, the son of Abe and Rose Schultz.  He earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Washington University and a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Illinois.

Widely admired for his bold and innovative work, Mr. Schultz was one of the the founders of the concept of Architectural/Environmental Sculpture.  “He was also a wonderful husband and father,” a family member said.

In 1960, Mr. Saunders founded the sculpture studio Scopia. He created and installed 298 pieces during his 75-year career as an artist, ranging in size from one to 27-stories tall.  They can be found in 37 states and various parts of the world, including Moscow, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.  Each piece was created to relate to its architectural and natural surroundings.

Among his works is a sculpture and fountain at Congregation Shaare Emeth, along with candelabra.  He designed projects for numerous other Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Community Center.

In addition to his pioneering work in architectural, environmental sculpture, Mr. Schultz offered classes and symposia at a variety of universities and institutions, including Harvard and Columbia, the National Conference on Art in Public Places, Clemson Architectural Foundation, the American Society of Landscape Architects, American Institute of Architects Research Foundation, American Institute of Interior Designers and the American Planning Association.  His involvement with socially conscious and visionary projects is well known.

One such concept Mr. Schultz created was for a landscaped “shadow” of the Gateway Arch, which would be located in East St. Louis.  That project was recalled at the funeral service for Mr. Schultz, where Rabbi Jeffrey B. Stiffman, Emeritus, officiated.

Mr. Schultz collaborated on projects with many of the world’s leading architects and landscape architects, including Eero Saarinen, Eric Mendelsohn, Minoru Yamasaki, Philip Johnson, Paul Friedberg, Nolan Bass, Tehodore J. Wofford, and many others.

Among the many awards received by Mr. Schultz were the Carnegie Institute Achievement Award; First Prize at the Invitational Competition,  University of Wisconsin; National Competition for the Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington,  D.C., and several others.

His work has been featured in numerous publications including ART news, Architectural Record, Architecture Forum and AIA Architect.

At the funeral last Friday at Berger Memorial Chapel, the service was preceded by a special performance of “Kol Nidre” by Bo Apple and Jerry Scott, in honor of Mr. Saunders’ life and career.

“We are gathered in sadness to remember our beloved Sandy Schultz,” said Rabbi Stiffman, “an artist, a sculpture and a brilliant and creative man.”

Mr. Schultz’s daughter, Lisa Schultz, offered an extended tribute to his life and works, and how he learned how to draw at a very early age.  She praised not only his many artistic accomplishments but his role as husband and father.

Mr. Schultz was predeceased by his wife Joan. Survivors include his daughter Lisa Schultz (Veronic Slade) and son, Neil (Karen) Schultz.

Rabbi Stiffman recalled visiting Mr. Schultz on the last day of his life, which coincided with his 90th birthday.  “Sandy was alert and smiling and looked around the room to every one there, saying ‘I love you.’  His spirit persisted to the very end, and we all looked up to him.”

Following the service, burial was at the Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol Cemetery, 9125 Ladue Road.

Memorial contributions preferred to Missouri Nature Conservancy, P.O. Box 440400, St. Louis, Mo. 63144.