Kenneth Kendall experimented with a variety of techniques and mediums when creating art and often looked to the 18th century for inspiration. It was his fascination with the tradition of the portrait miniature that led him to the creation of some of his finest works. He used a combination of hand ground pigments, which were mixed and then painted on porcelain plaques that were fired in a small kiln at temperatures exceeding 1200° F. Each work received multiple firings as the details were added, some taking over 50 hours to complete.
Starting in the late 1960s, he continued to paint miniatures intermittently for the next 30 years. Many of Kenneth’s friends and family received portraits of themselves and loved ones. Some of the lucky recipients included Adeline Nall, Bette Davis (who purchased several), Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Kenneth Anger, Maila Nurmi, Pablo Picasso, Tennessee Williams and Chris Jagger. He exhibited at the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers in London and was included in Daphne Foskett’s book Collecting Miniatures. The estate has documented and catalogued over 133 portrait miniatures so far.
Tennessee Williams, 1972
enamel on porcelain
4 ¾" x 3 ¾"
May 24, 1972: Showed it to T.W.: “very good, but too young! You painted that?? Ver-good [sic] !”