Sir Robert J. Loescher: 1937 – 2007

January 9, 2008 · Print This Article

Robert J Loecher
Sir Robert J. Loescher, 70, died on December 8, 2007.

Mr. Loescher was Professor Emeritis at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and founder of SAIC Art History Department. He was knighted in 1990 by King Juan Carlos, of Spain.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his infant brother, George. He is survived by his brothers, Thomas Loescher, of Tucson, Arizona, and Richard Loescher, of Appleton, Wisconsin; friends, Shay DeGrandis, Nathan DeFoor, Brian Sikes and Bibiana Suarez, of Chicago; Joyce Neimanas, of Albuquerque; Wendy Woon, of New York; and many other colleagues and friends.

A memorial service to honor Sir Robert Loescher, in conjunction with the Midwest Art History Society Conference, will be held on April 4, 2008, at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Robert J. Loescher, a specialist in Spanish and Latin American art, helped revolutionize the art history program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he taught for more than 30 years.

Mr. Loescher, 70, died in his Lake View home Saturday, Dec. 8, having had suffered from heart problems and was weakened by a recent operation.

Richard & Sarah had the pleasure of knowing and working with Mr. Loescher and will miss him greatly.

3 thoughts on “Sir Robert J. Loescher: 1937 – 2007”

  1. Richard Holland says:

    Small correction, Sarah worked with him as a grad student, I merely dined with him at some outrageously nice restaurant he reccomended and argued with him about the cultural significance of anime. He was a brilliant and fascinating guy, and I’m sad I didn’t know him better.

    I know someone at SAIC is organizing a symposium in his honor, details as they become available.

  2. Un adolescent d’autrefois says:

    As with any posthumous entry, judgment tends to veer toward the eulogistic. Restraining that tendency is not easy in the case of an educator who was a giant as a popularizer, as an igniter of fire in the hearts of his listeners.

    Calling him “Sir” though strikes the ear as somehow incongruous, for a number of reasons, first of which would have to be the call-it-as-it-is no-nonsense mentality of a scholar who gave his life to the debunking of conventions (and who could have hardly encouraged such theatricality with regard to his own person); secondly, knighthood from the king of Spain does not carry with it the titles and appendages of an English baronetage, and such inaccuracies Loescher was also fond of debunking.

    While in his lectures he drew extensively on the work of others, he did so critically, and his ability to educe the meaning and full significance and ramifications of a subject under discussion and to point to its interconnectedness with other important things as well as its relevance to the universal spirit of the human as exemplified in his listeners—all this was unparalleled in the field of art history as taught anywhere in the world. Although content, to all appearance, with his relative seclusion and anonymity at SAIC, he actually had no rival at any of the major art history programs at American universities, including the University of Chicago, as however only became clear to those of his student who, after leaving SAIC, went on to experience vistas offered by broader academic horizons. If there was a seed of failure suggested by this situation, it was sown by the unfortunate circumstance that he was first and foremost an intellectual and connoisseur imprisoned in an environment of an art school whose population largely lacked that orientation.

    His worldview and philosophical outlook had much in common with that outlined by Miguel de Unamuno in his “Del sentimiento trágico de la vida”, which Loescher considered the greatest book ever written—a judgment and a text one tended to take issue with much more eagerly in one’s student years, when one was in one’s early twenties, than one is in one’s fifties, a period in life during which, on re-reading, one finds much truth in Unamuno’s questions and conclusions.

    His proud, almost heroically promethean assertion of his homosexuality and unabashed slant in favor of the view that anything good and inspired could only come from a homoerotic mind was one of the uncommon strengths of this man who was never afraid to stand for what he, rightly or wrongly, believed.

  3. Thank you for the obituary on Sir Robert Loescher. Even though we are not related, we cannot deny that there has been a positive influence on our lives by him. Thank you for your consideration.
    Robert Loescher Family
    Alaska and Washington USA

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