Robert J. Loescher – A Greater Art History Professor There Never Was!

Robert J. Loescher was the director for art history, theory and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was the most stimulating and illuminating professor of Art History that I have ever known.

As a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I majored in Drawing & Painting I took a number of Art History courses under professor Loescher. His classes were always sought after and you had to get in line early in hopes to get in.

As a senior editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica it went without saying that you knew that you were dealing with a first rank scholar. However, what one never knows is how good is the professor at delivery and instruction? You can be the greatest authority on a topic but if you fumble around and grope over papers you are of little value to your students. This was certainly not the case with professor Loescher!

If there is one word that I could use to describe professor Loescher (and there are many) I would say that he was inspiring! He possessed the uncanny ability to take his vast knowledge and delivery it to you in such a way that it all made sense. Further, professor Loescher had a gift for keep his students spell-bound. He was always up beat and jovial, it was common for him to make witty side commentaries such at turning the Pantheon into a disco when teaching on that subject, or his famous “more is more” in his Baroque Art History classes.

In my last year at the school I was one credit short for graduation and he gladly made arrangements for me to take his East Asian Art course for 4 credits and in turn I did a special project for him and on the last day of class gave my presentation to the class, which was on Japanese Art. I had lived in Japan for two years and had much to offer the class with my drawings and slides. Being a man of vision professor Loescher grasped this when I approached him and was pleased to be of assistance in helping me and at the same time offer something more to his students. He always put the students first and for that I am grateful and will always remember him. Because of professor Robert J. Loescher I was able to graduate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago!

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