Robert Brady was an American artist, designer and art collector. After studying at the Chicago Art Institute, Temple University (Philadelphia) and the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania, he travelled throughout Europe and while living in Venice became friends with Peggy Guggenheim, who mentored him and influenced him in the art of collecting and living in style. In 1961 he moved to Cuernavaca, attracted like many expats to the Mexican city under the volcano with the permanent springlike weather and abundant folklore. Brady bought Casa de la Torre, once part of a Franciscan seminary, situated behind the town’s famous cathedral. There, he housed his art collection and antique furniture and crafts he collected from around the world. He used it as a place to entretain his international jet set friends and made it his final resting place, chosing, like Peggy Guggenheim in her Vienna home, to be buried in his own garden along with his dogs. His last request was to make his house a museum, preserving it just as it was when he was alive. Since his death in 1986 locals and tourists can walk through his house, have a drink in the garden and look at his extensive collection of art decorative objects and personal belongings and photographs.
An open air foyer leads to the yellow living room, which features amongst many artefacts and African crafts one of Frida Kahlo’s Self-portrait with Monkey, paintings from 1945 and an oil painting by Robert Brady of his mentor Peggy Guggenheim and her beloved dogs.
The green bathroom is one of my favorite rooms in the house. The green wall colors contrast with the blue and white tiles and one of the walls is dedicated mainly to Josephine Baker. Most of the screenprints, lithographies and etchings which date from the 1920’s to the 1970’s depict the famous dancer, with one sceenprint by Robert Brady himself, showing Josephine in her famous banana skirt surrounded by geometric shapes.
Below: Paul Colin: Sidney Bechet, Louis Douglas, Josephine Baker, screenprint, 1925. Paul Colin: Bal Tabarin, lithography, 1923. Al Hirshfeld: Josephine Baker, etching, 1950. Robert Brady: Josephine Baker, screenprint, 1976.
The mainly red cross room is dedicated to various religious paintings and Jesus on the Cross representations as well as many photographs of Brady and his celebrity friends and a strange doll in a golden kaftan of Brady himself.