John Ricardo Cunningham

Peru, 1918 – 1991

Cunningham was born in Cerro Azul in Southern Peru. His father was Scottish and managed a British sugar trading company. After the death of his mother, Ricardo and three of his siblings were sent to Lima to live with their aunt. Both Ricardo and his brother attended a prestigious secondary school, where he first demonstrated his interest in drawing. Shortly after turning nineteen, Cunningham got depressed and was admitted to the Victor-Larco Herrera Hospital. There he became a patient of the well-known psychiatrist and psychanalyst Honorio Delgado. He started painting his cartoonesque characters depicted in profile view that narrated stories of Europe and the Americas and served as sharp comments on class division. The colors of his works were vivid and most often selected from the primary color palette.

Photography: Courtesy of Gallery Christian Berst | Art Brut