With his trademark bow tie, tweed blazer, matching pocket square, signet ring and fedora, Gwynn carried the style of a bygone era.
He was a fixture for eight decades at the Albany Institute of History & Art where he first took classes as a teenager in 1937 and began a quest to become an artist.
A collection of photographs from the lives of AIHA director emeritus Norman Rice and Jim Gwynn at the Albany Institute of History & Art on Thursday May 16, 2013 in Albany, N. He was 93 and just three weeks earlier completed his final window design for the spring line at Casual Set, a women's apparel shop in Stuyvesant Plaza.
Farrell/Times Union)A collection of photographs from the lives of AIHA director emeritus Norman Rice and Jim Gwynn at the Albany Institute of History & Art on Thursday May 16, 2013 in Albany, N. Peter's Hospital after a long illness related to heart complications.
Farrell/Times Union)Albany James Gwynn, an interior decorator whose dapper fashion sense and urbane personality exuded a timeless grace that made him an Albany style icon, died Monday at the hospice inn of St.
Gwynn designed the windows and interior displays for more than 50 years, starting when the store was downtown on Maiden Lane and owned by the late Leonard Tucker.
Around Albany, Gwynn was known as the longtime companion of Norman Rice, the Institute's emeritus director, who always introduced Gwynn as James — not Jim or Jimmy, as others did.
Norman and Jim, as they were called, were regular lunch patrons at the private Fort Orange Club and cultural mavens who attended a full slate of art exhibit openings, fundraising galas, lectures and special events since the 1950s.
"Jim's long career was defined by an intellectual curiosity and joyful irreverence," said Tammis Groft, the Institute's executive director.
"Jimmy sort of came with the store, like the fixtures," said Peter Weissman, Casual Set's owner, who started with the store 26 years ago.
Gwynn also designed the store's distinctive retro-style script logo.