In Search of….

It is not easy to trace most of Kendall’s work today. Some pieces are in museums, which fortunately are making digital copies. But most went into private collections a century ago. Unless they have been traded recently or sold at auction, there are no records of where they are today.

On this page you will find a small selection of his works–some that I can locate, others that I am searching for. Can you help?

BRITTANY

Desirs copy 2_Lo

Désirs (Desire)–Property of the Smithsonian Institution

Like many artists in the late 1800s, Kendall was drawn to Brittany, in the northwest corner of France. There, Therese Le Goue (above) was his favorite model. On Christmas Day, the two of them traded the only gifts they could afford—she putting candies in his sock, he filling her sabot (wooden shoe) with bonbons. When she came to the United States in 1891 to work as a housekeeper for Kendall’s parents, she continued to wear her native dress, causing a great stir on the streets of New York City.

Désirs (above) depicts Therese and her sister. Throughout my childhood, this painting hung on my grandmother’s dining room wall, but toward the end of her life, she donated it to the Smithsonian. For many years, it graced the walls of the Renwick Gallery, across from the White House. Today it is in one of the museum’s massive storage facilities.

Do you know where these other paintings from Kendall’s Breton period are?

First Communion 2_Lo                             First Communion

LePouldu_Lo

Figure on a Path, Brittany

Spinning

Le Pouldu (left)

 

 

 

On a Path, Brittany (right)

 

Two Girls Spinning

 

FAMILY PORTRAITS

TheFairyTale_Lo-res

The Fairy Tale (private collection)

Kendall was best known for paintings of his wife and three daughters—Elisabeth, Beatrice, and Alison. The oldest, Elisabeth, was my grandmother. She had the dubious distinction of having to pose most often for him in trees. Years later, she complained that her father chose the most uncomfortable poses.

The Fairy Tale (cartoon)The painting above, The Fairy Tale, is in a private collection and so it is rarely seen—unlike the Fairy Tale “cartoon” (left), the preparatory version that Kendall did as a sort of rough draft when composing the original. The cartoon has been sold several times in recent years and therefore turns up on the Internet.

 

 

 

 

Do you know where these paintings of his family members are?

PhloxBlossoms_Lo

Girl in Blue with her Dog (Phlox Blossoms)

A Child and a Mirror

 

Woman with Parrot

A Child and a Mirror (far left)

Woman with Parrot

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following four paintings I have only been able to find in grainy black-and-white photos made roughly 100 years ago. Any clues to their whereabouts would be greatly appreciated.

Midsummer Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midsummer Day

Intermezzo

Intermezzo

Intent (Through a Doorway)

Green Gnome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intent (Through a Doorway)                                               Green Gnome

 

LANDSCAPES

SunsetCloud_Lo

Sunset Cloud (private collection)

Kendall painted this landscape on the day when his first daughter, Elisabeth, was born. His wife, the watercolorist Margaret Stickney Kendall, was said to have been more than a little irritated that he was out roaming the hillsides of Gerrish Island, Maine, rather than in attendance at her bedside. I would have been, too! This painting, Sunset Cloud, is in a private collection and hence, unknown to the public.

Do you know where these paintings are?

Paradise Rocks, Newport

Paradise Rocks, Newport

Autumn Landscape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn Landscape

 

NUDES

At the end of his life, Kendall moved to Virginia with his second wife, the artist Christine Herter Kendall. There he painted a number of works with allegorical themes. Kendall called this painting Transition (though the Smithsonian now calls it Nur, which is actually the title of a different Kendall painting).

Nur (Transition)

Nur (Transition)–Property of the Smithsonian Institution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know where these paintings are?

Gloria

Gloria

Bathers

Bathers (left)

Reclining Nude (below)

Reclining Nude