Kendall studied under Thomas Eakins at the Art Students League in New York and at the École des Beaux-Art in Paris. Eakins' influence is evident in his work.
William Sergeant Kendall painted his daughter Beatrice in this painting from 1907 entitled Narcissa, a work he considered to be amongst his finest and most important, according to the archives of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The respected art critic Charles Caffin noted in Harper's Monthly Magazine of 1908:
"I cannot recall any oil painting of the nude in American art that approached this one in purity of draughtsmanship or exquisiteness of feeling."
This painting readily reflects the influence of Kendall's teacher and mentor Thomas Eakins with whom he studied at the Art Students League in New York and at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.The picture eloquently combines the classical training in the precise depiction of the figure which Kendall learned in Paris with the unabashed realism of Eakins, who is considered one of the most important artists in the history of American art. Beatrice is posed on the brink of approaching womanhood and is captured admiring herself in the mirror at the moment of this budding awareness. Kendall often painted his wife and daughters, employing the use of mirrors which gave him the reflections which he enjoyed. Such interior domestic scenes harken back to the 19th century genre pictures of a Seymour Guy or an Eastman Johnson except the works by Kendall are much larger in size.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., purchased from the Second Biennial
Exhibition of Contemporary American Oil Paintings, Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1908
Chapellier Gallery, New York
Private Collection, West Palm Beach, FL
Ira Spanierman Gallery, New York
Fifth Annual Philadelphia Water Color Exhibition, 1907
Philadelphia, PA, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 103rd Annual Exhibition, Feb. 4- Mar. 24, 1908, entry no. 113, exhib. cat. illus., n.p.
Eden Park, OH, Cincinnati Museum, Fifteenth Annual Exhibition of American Art, May 23-Jul. 20, 1908, exhib. cat. no. 23 illus., n.p.
Washington, DC, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, 2nd Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, Dec. 8, 1908-Jan. 17, 1909, no. 154
Owen Gallery, William Sargeant Kendall: American Master, April 15, 1998-June 19, 1998
"A Fine Winter Academy," New-York Tribune, Jan. 19, 1908, C5, illus.
Charles H. Caffin, "The Art of Sargeant Kendall," Harper's Monthly Magazine 117, Sept. 1908: 571-72
Catalogue of Paintings in the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.: Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1915, 77, no. 217
Frank Jewett Mather, "Sergeant Kendall and his Art," Yale Alumni Weekly 31, Jul. 7, 1922, 1192-93