Marion Cunningham (1908-1948), née Osborn moved from South Bend, Indiana to Bakersfield, California in 1911. While attending high school (then named Kern County Union High School) she received her first formal art training from Ruth Heil Emerson (1890-1986), who was an American Impressionist. After attending Santa Barbara College and receiving her Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University, she went on to study at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco and later at The Students League of New York. She married and later divorced Ben Cunningham (1904-1975), a fellow artist.
Marion Osborn Cunningham first became known for her pastels and paintings, but quickly turned her attention to the creation of screenprints (silk screens) in the 1930s. She is said to have printed thousands and been specialized in creating greeting cards. We have thus far however been unable to locate any such card. The extent of her artistic output may be overestimated. She died unexpectedly of a brain tumor, while in New York, on her way to Europe, at the age of 39. Her family founded the Cunningham Memorial Art Gallery in her honor in 1956, and it is today known as the Bakersfield Museum of Art.
Marion Osborn Cunningham, born in South Bend, IN, May 29, 1908, died New York, NY, March 25, 1948.