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In Memoriam: John Steyaert

January 3, 2020

John William Steyaert, 77, passed away from pulmonary complications on the 1st of January, 2020, in St. Paul. A Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of Minnesota, John was deeply passionate about scholarship, finding great joy and meaning in teaching undergraduate and graduate students, and having an endless fascination with a wide range of topics in cultural history, from ancient to modern.

A memorial service will be held 2-3pm on Sunday, January 12th, in Walter Library, Rm. 101, with a reception following in the Upson Room (102). Walter Library is on the East Bank Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota.

John was born in Heist-op-den-Berg, Belgium, in 1942. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from University of Leuven, Belgium, and continued on to receive his MA and PhD from the University of Michigan.

A specialist in Medieval Art History, he taught at the University of Minnesota from 1971 to 2009. His book Late Gothic Sculpture: The Burgundian Netherlands, published in 1994, was instrumental in furthering scholarly understanding of sculpture of that period. He cherished taking groups of students to Paris, France, for a university study program from 1999 to 2013.

John’s love of his family was the one thing that rivaled his love of learning. He and his wife Claire met as Art History students at the University of Leuven, and had a devoted partnership for 53 years, including raising two sons, Ian and Karl. At home he enjoyed reflective conversation, reading from an eclectic book collection, listening to classical music, and dreaming of his and Claire’s past and future adventures in Italy and France. He felt and cared deeply about beauty and truth.

John is survived by his wife Claire, sons Ian and Karl, and grandchildren Emma and Alex.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Art History Department at the University of Minnesota by clicking here. Checks should be made payable to the University of Minnesota Foundation and indicate that the gift is a memorial and is designated to fund #8609, Art History Annual Fund, and mailed to the following address:

Art History/UM Foundation
P.O. Box 860266
Minneapolis, MN 55486-0266