An Interlude

Media - 1909.7.36 - SAAM-1909.7.36_1 - 65157
Copied William Sergeant Kendall, An Interlude, 1907, oil on canvas, 44 1843 14 in. (112.0109.8 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of William T. Evans, 1909.7.36
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Artwork Details

An Interlude
44 1843 14 in. (112.0109.8 cm.)
lower left in oil: Copyright by/Sergeant Kendall--/(artist's symbol) 25 July 1907
Credit Line
Gift of William T. Evans
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Group
  • Figure group — female and child
  • Recreation — leisure — reading
Object Number

Artwork Description

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