Paul E. Kennedy is a notable American harpsichord builder. What started as a trial build for Wolfgang Zuckermann’s DIY blueprints sent him on a quest for authenticity and accuracy, ending up with half a century of harpsichord-building that produced around 70 instruments. Paul, an accomplished painter and an avid pianist, also painted and tested all of them.
In contrast to period paintings that appear on Paul’s harpsichords, his own work stands out as hazy, romantic, and rust-colored. Paul actively showed work in exhibitions around New York City, and infamously was a group of young artists — and a beagle who carried the sign “Art is going to the dogs” — who protested against Museum of Modern Art’s preference for abstract work.
A versatile artist with a sense of humor, Paul illustrated more than more than 34 children’s books for authors such as Walter de la Mare, Mary Ellen Chase, and Anne Sinclaire Mehdevi. He also co-authored Otto the Growly Boy with his wife, Emily.