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Hollywood Miniatures

Exhibition dates: January 11 – February 24, 2024

Daniel Cooney Fine Art is honored to announce the first solo exhibition of Kenneth Kendall’s porcelain miniatures. The exhibition, titled “Hollywood Miniatures” features 40 finely crafted cameos from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. Vintage photographs and notebooks from the artist’s archive will also be on view. A full color catalogue with an essay by critic Beth Dunlop accompanies the exhibition.

Kenneth Kendall (1921-2006) was a self-taught portrait painter and sculptor in West Hollywood, CA. He was born and raised in Los Angeles by a creative family that nurtured his talents. His father was a theatrical agent and vaudevillian, his aunt was the silent film actress Patty DuPont. He graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1940 and served two years in the US Navy. Kendall then worked as an extra in many films, including “Citizen Kane”, “The Story of G.I. Joe”, “Julius Caesar” and “Knights of the Round Table”.

Kendall maintained an art studio on Melrose Avenue from about 1948 to 1959 and later, on Flores Street. He is best known for his bronze bust of James Dean that resides on the grounds of the Griffith Observatory with the iconic Hollywood sign as a backdrop. Dean saw Kendall’s bust of Marlon Brando in the studio window and proposed the artist make one of him also. As the story goes, Kendall began sculpting on the evening of Dean’s death, September 30th, 1955.

During the late 1960’s Kendall was a regular on the vibrant Sunset Strip where he befriended many eccentric characters. His studio became a haven for both established circles and counterculture figures alike. During this time Kendall began to create his finest and most delicate work, his porcelain miniatures. The inspiration for his new medium came from a childhood visit to the Huntington in San Marino where he first discovered his love for 18th century British portraiture.

The miniatures were made with hand ground pigments painted on porcelain plaques then fired in a kiln at temperatures exceeding 1200 degrees. Each piece was fired multiple times as details were added. He often gifted his miniatures to his models, including Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Kenneth Anger, Leontyne Price, Mick Jagger and his brother Christopher Jagger.

Kenneth Kendall exhibited at the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers in London and was included in Daphne Foskett’s book “Collecting Miniatures”. In 2006, at the age of 84, Kendall passed away at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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