Robert G. Stewart, 74, senior curator emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery, died of respiratory illness Nov. 17 at the Washington Hospice.

Mr. Stewart, a Washington resident, was one of the first three staff members of the National Portrait Gallery when he arrived in 1964, according to the Smithsonian archives. He worked there as curator of paintings and sculpture until 1994.

Mr. Stewart was born in Baltimore and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He served in the Army from 1954 to 1956. He was a director of the Jefferson Barracks Historical Park in St. Louis, and a historic architect for the National Park Service. From 1961 to 1964, he was director of properties for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

He was a visiting lecturer at George Washington University from 1967 to 1970 and wrote several books on curating and painting. He was a member of the Lewes Historical Society, the Walpole Society, the Association of Historians of American Art, the Four Seasons Garden Club and Zeta Psi social fraternity.

There are no immediate survivors.

Robert G. Stewart, 74, was one of the first three staff members of the gallery when he arrived in 1964.