John Lunghi was born in England of Swiss parents and studied at The Central School of Art in London. He moved to Western Australia in 1937 partly at the urging of his friends Jamie Linton and Hal Missingham and mainly because his future wife Barbara, had returned to Perth from London.
Soon after his arrival Gibbney and Sons a commercial art and block-making firm in Hay Street employed him as a graphic artist. He was eventually appointed director of the art department and remained with that company until his retirement in 1975.
As an important member of the local arts community, Lunghi held the presidency of the Perth Society of Artists and was awarded the Festival of Art painting prize in 1958. His work was included in the prestigious Whitechapel Gallery exhibition of Australian art in 1961. Many young artists (including Robert Juniper and Leon Pericles) found employment in Gibbney’s art department while Lunghi was in charge. He is considered to be the link between the older and younger generations of Perth modernists and was a pivotal influence in the career of many painters.
Lunghi used a variety of styles ranging from impressionism through to abstraction – his position with Gibbneys afforded him that privilege, as he was not exposed to the small and conservative art market of the time to provide for his family. He painted for himself and a selected audience, and because of his financial independence he was able to produce outstanding uninhibited works that rarely come before the today’s audience.