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A. J. Speyer, Chicago Art Curator, Dies

November 14, 1986|From Times Wire Services

CHICAGO — A. James Speyer, a well-known curator of painting and sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago, has died after a long illness. He was 73.

Speyer, who died Sunday, gained a reputation as a dynamic force in the contemporary art scene during his 25-year tenure at the institute, counting as friends such artists as Jasper Johns, Frank Stella and Georgia O'Keeffe.

"Jim was unique among the curators of his generation in combining a passion for contemporary American work with a knowledge of and respect for the most advanced art that continued to be produced in Europe," institute Director James N. Wood said in a statement Monday.

Speyer studied at the Illinois Institute of Technology, served in World War II and then returned to teach at the institute of technology in 1946.

From 1957-60, Speyer was a visiting Fulbright professor at the National University in Athens, Greece.

He became curator of 20th-Century painting and sculpture at the Art Institute in 1961.

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