Read this if you’d like to know why Thomas Kinkade won’t be in your art history books. Like the author of this blog, I can’t stand Kinkade’s art either. I think that it’s the commercialism behind it all that I dislike. Was he painting what he wanted to paint? Or was he just trying to get rich off of his art talent? I always wondered what he would have painted if he wasn’t so interested in making money.
When Thomas Kinkade died last week, I got a few emails and Facebook wall posts from former students. “I don’t know why, but I feel compelled to inform you about this.” I have had a long and complex relationship with the art of Thomas Kinkade, and his death brought him to the forefront of the greater consciousness (however briefly) once again.
Thomas Kinkade was a painter. He was a very well-known painter who produced thousands of paintings of quaint cottages in idyllic settings. Tomas Kinkade was a businessman. His galleries are in malls all across America. There are calendars, coffee mugs, prints of various qualities and price ranges, “original” paintings, and even a Kinkade-themed housing development in Northern California. For most in the art world, this places Kinkade firmly in the category of kitsch, with his reliance on mass reproductions of artworks and an easy appeal to a general populace.
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