This past November I visited the city of Cuernavaca, Mexico which is approximately 2 hours south of Mexico City. Friends took us to visit the Robert Brady Museum which was one of the most incredible places I have ever seen. The museum was the residence of Robert Brady who was an artist and bon vivant, but most impressively a collector of incredible art, religious artifacts and textiles from around the world.
Robert Brady was born in Iowa, and studied art in college before traveling all over Europe. He eventually settled in Venice where he met and became very close friends with Peggy Guggenheim (who amazingly was his next door neighbor on the canal). Clearly the two personalities shared a love for collecting art and unique pieces.
Brady visited Cuernavaca in 1960 and purchased the house soon after, naming it Casa de la Torre. The house originally was part a Franciscan convent built in the 16th century. It is filled with Brady’s extensive collection of paintings, pre-Columbian pottery, folk art from all over the world, and countless crucifixes and santos figures. Each room also features vibrant fabrics from his travels as well as some tapestries that he designed and had woven by local artists.
Brady was a passionate supporter and collector of Mexican artists and craftspeople. His collection includes pieces by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera who both had studios in Cuernavaca and nearby Mexico City. Other works include a portrait Brady painted of Peggy Guggenheim which is displayed prominently in the main sitting room, as well as pieces by Paul Klee and Milton Avery.
Brady was a big entertainer, hosting dinners and parties for his international circle of friends. He was close with the performer Josephine Baker for whom he designed the “Oriental Room” for her to stay in. The room is a riot of pink and orange, and homages to her are all over the house in the form of portraits, statues, and photographs.
Everywhere you look in the house there are bright colors, textures, and especially a sense of whit and discovery. Brady had an amazing eye but he was also a master in how he chose to display his collections and how to successfully mix pieces from different cultures and periods.