|Following is the obituary of the artist from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 28, 1903.|
John Wilton Cunningham ( 1868-1903)
A special dispatch to the
Post-Dispatch from San Antonio, Texas, announces the death of
John Wilton Cunningham, the St. Louis artist, Thursday night at Camp
Reliance, a health resort near there.The dispatch states that Mr. Cunningham’s death was
due to consumption. He arrived at Camp Reliance nearly two months ago,
expecting to return in the fall and complete pictures for Harry R. Hawes
and others by whom he had been engaged,
but grew constantly weaker until the end came.
Mr. Cunningham was a son of Rev. J. W. Cunningham, a
Southern Methodist minister, who resides at 14124 Locust street. He
was about 35 years of age and unmarried.
To his friends in St. Louis and elsewhere – and he had thousands of them – the dead artist was affectionately known as “Jack.”
He was born in St. Louis, did newspaper illustrating
here, and made St. Louis home, except during the four years he studied
his art in Paris. His paintings adorn the homes of many prominent St.
The people of Missouri know much of his work. He
excelled in portraits and several of these hang in the governor’s
mansion at Jefferson City.
Mr. Cunningham painted life-size portraits of Gov.
and Mrs. Lon V. Stephens about four years ago and since then made
paintings of Gov. Dockery and his late wife. The painting of Mrs.
Dockery was his last important work.
The following information is from the Art Department Files of the St. Louis Library (undated)
John Wilton Cunningham (1868-1903)
Once in a blue moon an old scrapbook yields
treasure. Here is a bit of paper, yellow with age, which came to light
about the time John Cunningham’s mural decoration from the old Planters’
Hotel was presented to the City Club. It was found
among the possessions of one of the members, and passed along to your
Art Advocate and thence to readers of the art column. t is headed, “A
Promising Young Artist,” and if Robert Bringhurst were still with us, it
might evoke a reminiscent smile, for he was
of the same vintage.
“Another young St. Louisan has achieved distinction
in Paris – J. Wilton Cunningham. He received “Honorable Mention” at the
Salon for his painting, For My Rabbits, which represents a girl in a
vegetable garden gathering herbs for her
bunnies. The picture is simply a study, but Messrs. Howe, Gutherz and
his teachers advised him to send it to the Salon, with the result
stated. He would have been awarded a medal but for the fact that he was
only 21 years old and had been in Paris but a
year, and they thought it might have a bad effect on his future to
confer such a distinction. The picture was obtained for exhibition in
this country, and has already been shown in New York, Philadelphia and
Chicago. It will be seen in St. Louis this week
at the Museum of Fine Arts.”
Submitted by Edward P. Bentley, Art Researcher and Collector, Greenville, Michigan