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Keith Cunningham: Paintings



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The first publication dedicated to the paintings and drawings of artist and graphic designer Keith Cunningham, created between 1952 and 1966.

Keith Cunningham was one of the most compelling and mysterious artists of the twentieth century. Born in Sydney, 1929, he left school at 15 to start work as a graphic designer. In 1959, he moved to London where he studied at the Central School of Design (now Central Saint Martins) before pursuing painting at the Royal College of Art in 1952.

A very private man, Cunningham stopped exhibiting his paintings in 1967; his paintings from the 1950s and 60s were sealed inside his flat in Battersea for half a century until his death in 2014. Keith Cunningham: Paintings is a landmark publication that presents his paintings and drawings for the first time. The book features full colour reproductions of 108 paintings and 33 sketch drawings, with visible influences from Spanish masters such as Goya and his contemporary Francis Bacon.

The artworks are accompanied by a chronology, an illustrated essay from art historian James Cahill, as well as personal texts from Cunningham’s wife, Bobby Hillson, and abstract painter Frank Bowling, who modelled for Cunningham before attending art school himself. Published in a large-format hardback book, this is a unique title showcasing the work of a private yet remarkable artist.

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September 2023




225mm x 272mm





No. of pages:


Keith Cunningham (1929–2014) was born in Sydney, Australia. He worked as a graphic designer before moving to London in 1949 where he studied at the Central School of Design (1949–51, now Central Saint Martins) and the Royal College of Art (1952–55). Cunningham continued to paint, but kept his work private, until the end of his life. At the time of his death, his paintings were discovered at his flat in Battersea, and debuted in an exhibition at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery in London, 2022.

James Cahill is currently a Research Fellow in Classics at King’s College London. His writing on art has appeared in publications including The Burlington Magazine, The Times Literary Supplement, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and The London Review of Books.

Bobby Hillson is a London-based fashion illustrator, former designer of children's clothing, and founder of the Saint Martin's School of Art MA Fashion course.

Frank Bowling (b. 1934) is a British artist who was born in British Guiana. He is renowned for his large-scale, abstract "Map" paintings, which relate to abstract expressionism, colour field painting and lyrical abstraction.


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