Dr. Richard Ettinghausen, 73, Hagop Kevorkian professor of Islamic art at the New York University Institue of Fine Arts since 1969 and former head curator of the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, died of cancer Monday at the Princeton (N.J.) Medical Center.

A world-renowned authority of Islamtic art, Dr. Ettinghausen supervised the installation of the Islamic art galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where he had been consulative chairman of the Islamic art department since 1969.

He joined the Freer in 1944 and was head curator from 1961 until 1967.

Before joining the Freer, he was associated with the American Institute for Persian Art and Archaeology and the Institue for Advanced Study in Princeton.

From 1967 to 1969, he was adjunct curator of the Los angeles County Museum of art.

Dr. Ettinghausen was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and earn a doctorate in Islamic history and history of art from the University of Frankfurt in 1931. He also studied at universities in Munich, Germany, and Cambridge, England, before leaving Germany in 1933 because of the Nazis' rise to power.

He lived in England and was an assistant to the edition for the Oxford University Press' publication, "A Survey of Persian Art," before coming to this country in 1944.

His book, "Islamic Art," published in 1962, is considered to be a definitive work on the subject.

Dr. Ettinghausen also helped organize the "Art Treasures of Turkey," a 1966-68 travelling exhibition jointly sponsored by the United States and Turkey. He collected material for and arranged the permanent exhibit of Islamic art at the Mayer Memorial Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem.

He was a member of numerous learned societies.

His awards include the Order of the Imperial Crown of Iran and, in 1976, he recieved the Pour le Merite from the German Federal Republic, West Germany's highest honor.

Survivors include his wife, the former Elizabeth Sgalitzer, and a son Thomas Andrew David, both of the home in Princeton, and another son, Dr. Stephen Edmund, of Philadelphia.