James Moore McLaughlin, 73, the curator of The Phillips Collection art museum in Washington and a painter whose work is included in The Phillips, died of a stroke Saturday at his home in Arlington.

Mr. McLaughlin, who was born in Louisville and reared in Brownsburg, Va., attended Hampden-Sydney College. He moved to Washington in the early 1930s and joined The Phillips in 1933. He became an assistant at the museum and also studied at the gallery's school.

After World War II Army service in the South Pacific, he returned to the gallery. He was named curator in 1975 and continued in that position until his death.

As a painter, Mr. McLaughlin studied with Duncan Phillips, a founder of the gallery, C. Law Watkins and Karl Knaths. His oils were exhibited at the Franz Bader Gallery, the Agra Gallery and at The Phillips Collection. They are included in that collection as well as in other private collections.

Mr. McLaughlin's marriage to the former Bernice Cross ended in divorce. His second wife, the former Nancy Pratt, died in 1966. His marriage to the former Doris Van Doren ended in divorce.

Survivors include two children by his second marriage, Laurie Moore of Arlington and Jennine Woods of Olympia, Wash.; four stepchildren, Harold Van Doren of Charlestown, W.Va., and Catherine Harris, Rebecca Shulkin and Margaret Van Doren, all of Arlington; two sisters, Virginia T. McLaughlin of Arlington and Mary Moore Temple of Richmond; and two brothers, John C. B. McLaughlin of Charlottesville and Samuel B. McLaughlin of Powhatan, Va.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the James McLaughlin Memorial Fund for the painting collection at The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.