Robert Loescher (1937–2007) was a well–known art historian, beloved educator, and lively lecturer who taught at SAIC from 1972–2006.
Robert Loescher (1937–2007) was a well–known art historian, beloved educator, and lively lecturer who taught at SAIC from 1972–2006, also serving as Chair of the Art History department. During his tenure, Loescher renamed the department, formerly Art History and Aesthetics, to Art History, Theory, and Criticism to widen the field of study and recruit students who favored theory over studio practice. He also developed social issue–based classes that addressed the importance of culture and gender in art.
Loescher was known and loved for his Survey of Art History lectures, which he taught to more than 9,000 students over his 30-year career. According to a 2008 F Newsmagazine article, “Lecturing, for Loescher, was a whirlwind event of images, associations, stories, quotes, and anecdotes, the experience of which was recounted by almost every speaker of the day.”
A fan of food, Loescher often held his classes in local restaurants, lecturing over feasts spread across tables. One of his personal scholarly pursuits was investigating the role of gastronomy in art and culture.
Loescher received a master's degree in art history from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, becoming a specialist in Spanish and Latin American art. He later did his doctoral work at the University of Mexico in Mexico City and the University of Madrid in Spain, and traveled extensively in those regions (both on his own and with students) to study the art beyond the traditional Western European canon. In 1990 King Juan Carlos of Spain knighted Loescher in honor of the educator's contributions to the dissemination of Spanish culture.