Photograph by Phil Stern
Kenneth Gordon Kendall (November 27, 1921 - September 3, 2006, Los Angeles, California)
Kenneth Kendall was a man of discerning taste whose interest in art and culture led him to assemble a unique collection in his Hollywood home. As an artist, designer, occasional actor and art, theatre and opera aficionado, Mr. Kendall surrounded himself with art and objects that exemplified his pursuits.
It was a visit as a young child to the Huntington in San Marino, California, where Kenneth discovered his love for 18th century British portrait painters, whom he would study and collect throughout his life. As a passionate art collector, Mr. Kendall maintained regular correspondence with British art scholars Sir Ellis Waterhouse, miniatures expert Daphne Foskett, and Dr. Robert Wark, former curator of the Huntington Art Collections.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, his father was a theatrical agent and former vaudevillian; his mother was the sister of silent film actress Patty DuPont who had a leading role in Eric von Stroheim’s 1922 film “Foolish Wives.” Kenneth was encouraged at a young age to pursue his talents as an artist as well as become involved in the film industry. He was an extra in “Citizen Kane”, “The Story of G.I. Joe”, “Julius Caesar”, and “Let’s Make Love” to name a few. It was during this time he was inspired to sculpt Marlon Brando as Mark Antony after witnessing first-hand his “Friends, Romans, countrymen” speech. This Brando sculpture, on display in Kendall’s studio window, would attract the then unknown James Dean in for a visit. The actor asked if the artist would be interested in sculpting him, which eventually resulted in the memorial sculpture of James Dean at Griffith Park Observatory.