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An Interlude

1907 William Sergeant Kendall Born: Spuyten Duyvil, New York 1869 Died: Hot Springs, Virginia 1938 oil on canvas 44 1/8 x 43 1/4 in. (112.0 x 109.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of William T. Evans 1909.7.36 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, East Wing

Gallery Label

William Kendall had three daughters whom he loved to paint in tender moments with their mother, Margaret. Here, the closed curtain and open book suggest a bedtime story, but there is a tantalizing hint of another meaning in this image. Margaret Kendall turns her face away from her husband to focus her affection on her daughter, who looks out at us with a wide-eyed, almost haunted expression. The title suggests a quiet moment before something happens, and it is possible that this image foreshadowed the disintegration of Kendall’s family. When An Interlude was painted, the artist had begun a relationship with the adolescent niece of artist Albert Herter. Kendall eventually divorced Margaret, resigned his teaching position at Yale, and retired to Hot Springs, Virginia, with Christine Herter.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006


Figure group - female and child

Recreation - leisure - reading


paint - oil

fabric - canvas