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?


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. Désirs (above) was one of the last pictures he painted there. 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, sadly, it is in one of the museum’s massive storage facilities, replaced by more modern paintings.

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

First Communion 2_Lo                             First Communion (above)


Figure on a Path, Brittany


Le Pouldu (left)

On a Path, Brittany (right)

Two Girls Spinning (below)

FAMILY  PORTRAITSTheFairyTale_Lo-resThe 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?


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 (left)


Intermezzo (below)

Intent (Through a Doorway)

Green Gnome

Intent (Through a Doorway)  left

Green Gnome (right)



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


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 (below)


Bathers (left)

Reclining Nude (below)

Reclining Nude