James Dean was familiar with Kenneth Kendall’s artwork having admired a sculpture of Marlon Brando, which was displayed in the artist’s studio window. One evening in January of 1955, Dean stopped by the studio with his friend Toni Lee Scott and spent several hours talking with Kenneth about art, acting, opera and culture. At the end of the night, Dean asked if the artist would be interested in sculpting him. Kendall replied that he had some work to complete, but he would consider it. After seeing East of Eden, the artist was excited about the request. He sent word to Dean to acquire a life mask from Warner Brothers’ makeup department so that he could have a model for the sculpting process. Sadly, Dean died in a car crash before he could fulfill the request. The mask was discovered in his apartment and loaned to Kendall after Dean was buried. Kendall’s work on a monumental sculpture of James Dean started soon after. He also painted numerous canvases of James Dean over the years. A selection of those works are featured below.

    © All works copyrighted by the Kenneth Kendall Estate 2018

     

    James Dean in a Cap

    from Dennis Stock photos in Indiana oil on canvas signed with initials ‘KK’ (lower right) and inscribed and signed (on the reverse) with a ‘K’ burned into stretcher bar 20" x 16"