Robert Brady was born into a wealthy family in Iowa in the 1920s, and from a young age showed a great interest in art, anthropology, and collecting. In his late teens, he studied fine art at the Art Institute of Chicago and then moved to Venice where he lived for much of the 1950s between travels to more far-flung corners of the world.
Brady was an exceptionally well-traveled man and made journeys to everywhere from Papua New Guinea to Bali, from Senegal to the Yukon. During his travels, he obsessively collected art pieces and ethnographic artifacts, eventually assembling an enormous and eclectic collection that covered every corner of his Venice home.
While living in Italy, Brady met the art collector and New York socialite Peggy Guggenheim, who became one of his closest friends and supporters and suggested he visit Mexico. While exploring central Mexico Brady fell in love with the city of Cuernavaca, known as “The City of Eternal Spring,” and decided it was where he wanted to spend the rest of life. In 1962 he bought a crumbling 16th-century monastery to restore and turn into his permanent residence. He promptly filled every available space of the mansion with his impressive art collection, which only continued to grow.
What emerged from this experiment in interior design was a remarkable living space where each room became imbued with different energies that evoke multiple emotions in the visitor. One of the most striking is the “Yellow Room” (the living room), where a psychedelic and primal energy presides, with African fertility fetishes and Javanese shadow puppets juxtaposed with Inuit or Papua New Guinean tribal masks and paintings by Frida Kahlo.
When Brady died in 1986 he left the house in his will to the municipal government, stating that it should become a museum for curious visitors to explore and enjoy. The fascinating house and collection were left exactly as Brady specified, and today the Museo Robert Brady is one of the most interesting attractions in Cuernavaca.
Know Before You Go
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the entrance fee is $50 pesos. The museum is easy to find as it is located on a major street in the center of the city.