Ah, yes, a name that is anathema to most artists I know. Oddly enough, his early paintings were excellent, before he succumbed to the lure of assembly-line art. And sadly, many people bought his mass-produced prints for the same price they would have paid for someone's original paintings, thereby shrinking the market for rising artists' work.
Chacun à son goût!
Gumbeaux, what I wouldn't give to be able to sit on that dock and fish. I don't care, real, fake, mass produced, it is how a painting makes me feel that I care about. I was checking out his jigsaw puzzles, and they make me feel relaxed. He will be missed. Thank you Gumbeaux
I never could see the appeal of his work (that was reproduced on everything from placemats and rugs to coffee cups-- he had a heck of a marketing strategy); too saccharine for me, but he did know how to make money!
Can't you just eat what I put in front of you? Do you have to know what it is?
Ria Parkinson, Butterflies (BBC, 1978-83)
Thanks for the heads up, Gumbeaux. I live in the same county (El Dorado) in which Kinkade was born and raised. Throughout his career, he was a great supporter of the library system in our county. I first became aware of him when I chaired a fund-raiser for our local branch featuring his work. Dealing with his paintings, I learned to see light in a different way, and to this day, I think of his work when I see a beautiful view suffused with interesting light.
Fifty-four is mighty young to die and I wish his family well.
Whether you like his art or not, there are a lot of people who will miss his contributions to the light in their lives.
My sympathies to the family.
I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!Hidden Content
I see a tad of painting snobbery here and there in this thread...
I liked his work.... a baseline to compare to... "do I like this piece more or less than a Kinkade?"
More calm, cool, scathing logic that drives women crazy...
It is not snobbery to state dislike for the schlock that is this work. It does not make me feel relaxed, or nostalgic, or cozy, or whatever. It makes me sick to my stomach. I know his work is popular and to each his own, but I find nothing -- NOTHING -- good to say about it.
On top of that, by all accounts he was a charlatan and a pretty horrible human being. Like Madoff, he suckered people who thought he shared their religious values. His gallery Ponzi scheme ruined people's lives.
The Blog is open again!
"If God had meant for corn bread to have sugar in it, he'd have called it cake." -- Mark Twain
Funniegrrl, those are the kinds of business practices I was thinking about; in fact I ended up editing my post and deleting some of what I wrote because I didn't have ready access to the type of factual article you referenced. And as an artist, although I have to admire his ability to market his work, I don't respect his methods or his mass-produced copies. As I said, I was surprised to come across some of his earlier paintings and to discover that back then he had a lovely, loose, painterly style. He was really good, and then he sold his soul - IMHO, and in the opinions of my artist friends.
Chacun à son goût!
I'm sorry to find out all this stuff. I don't travel in that kind of circle. Like I said, it's all in what I see and feel, and I like what his paintings, the ones that I have seen, make me feel.
But isn't it a little too soon to speak ill of the dead? IMHO
Cookieee, these things were all said numerous times while he was alive, too. I don't think people's minds have changed now that he's dead.
Chacun à son goût!
Interesting piece by Jerry Saltz in NY Magazine.
Who is Saltz? From his wiki bio
(b. February 19, 1951) is an American art critic. Since 2006, he has been senior art critic and a columnist for New York magazine. Formerly the senior art critic for The Village Voice, Saltz has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism three times. He was the sole advisor for the 1995 Whitney Biennial. Saltz has also served as a Visiting Critic at The School of Visual Arts, Columbia University, Yale University, and The School of the Art Institute
Jerry Saltz on Thomas Kinkade, 1958-2012
By Jerry Saltz
"I view art as an inspirational tool. People who put my paintings on their walls are putting their values on their walls." The words aren't those of Gerhard Richter or Joseph Beuys. They're not by Picasso, Mondrian, Malevich, or any other messianic modernist. They come from Thomas Kinkade, the epitome of sentimental, illustrational, conservative art, the self-described "painter of light," who died on Friday at 54. Kinkade, who made dreamy scenes of suburbia, classic cottages, pretty gardens, lighthouses alone on stormy shores, saccharine pictures of small villages, and Christian images celebrating Jesus, poses an interesting thought problem about kitsch and so-called "real art" to the wider art world.
Even in the thirties, Clement Greenberg worried about kitsch, the split between popular and avant-garde taste. "The same culture produces a painting by Braque and a Saturday Evening Post cover," he wrote, fretting that "real art would not stand a chance next to ... Norman Rockwell." I've always thought that this is fine; people should like whatever they want to like. And they do like Kinkade: It's estimated that he sold around $100 million worth of art each year. (The art world went nuts when Damien Hirst sold just one dopey diamond-encrusted skull trinket for that amount.)
Kinkade estimated that one of his paintings hung in every twenty homes in America. Yet the art world unanimously ignores or reviles him. Me included. This weekend I got slapped in the Washington Post's Kinkade obituary for once writing, "Art is not democratic. It isn’t about the biggest market share or the best sales. If that were true then Thomas Kinkade would be the greatest artist who ever lived.” Those who love him love that he sells the most art; they take it as a point of faith that this proves Kinkade is the best. But his fans don't only rely on this supply-and-demand justification. They go back to values. As the Kinkade website says, "Thom painted over 1,000 masterworks ... hidden in his paintings are messages that speak to Thom's inspiration for each image [which] contains treasures that add to their mystique." The paintings are good, in other words, because the values in them are good. I'm not sure what this makes Goya's "Saturn Devouring his Children," all of Balthus, those sexy prehistoric statues of giant-breasted women, or tens of thousands of Japanese and Indian images of sexual intercourse.
The reason the art world doesn't love Kinkade isn't that it hates love, life, goodness, or God. We may be silly or soulless or whatever, but we don't automatically hate things with faith and love or that other people love. We're not sociopaths. (Well, most of us aren't.) The reason the art world doesn't respond to Kinkade is because none — not one — of his ideas about subject-matter, surface, color, composition, touch, scale, form, or skill is remotely original. They're all cliché and already told. This is why Kinkade's pictures strike those in the art world as either prepackaged, ersatz, contrived, or cynical. Unoriginal rote things done in his perfectly conventional, balanced people-pleasing way produced these confected conglomerations of things people wanted to think they wanted to think about, democratic paintings whose meanings are hidden from no one, whose appeal is to not to vex or disturb, to produce doubt or newness. As Kinkade said, "I work to create images that project a serene simplicity that can be appreciated and enjoyed by everyone." Joan Didion wrote that Kinkade's pictures "typically feature a cottage or a house of such insistent coziness as to seem actually sinister, suggestive of a trap designed to attract Hansel and Gretel. Every window lit, to lurid effect, as if the interior of the structure might be on fire."
Kinkade's "serene simplicity" wasn't limited to his ideas about imagery. They had everything to do with what Andy Warhol called "business art." Kinkade was willing to go the full Warhol. He mass-produced his pictures, making prints and images painted by factories filled with assistants. A recent ad advertised "a Master Highlighter Event ... an 8-hour personal stage appearance by a certified Thomas Kinkade Master Highlighter. At the event, a highlighter enhances images of the gallery's choice." Needless to say, these are the very things that artists like Kinkade, and of late David Hockney, have railed about when they're done by Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, or Damien Hirst. In fact Kinkade makes Koons & Co. look like a boutique. After all, Jeff Koons never built his own gated communities in California, with houses and grounds in the likeness of his paintings, with starting prices at $425,000. (As for creating serenity, it's often mentioned that Kinkade "has a long history of cursing and heckling other artists and performers ... that he openly groped a woman's breasts ... and once relieved himself on a Winnie the Pooh figure while saying "This one's for you, Walt." Actually, except for the groping, he suddenly sounds interesting. )
Kinkade's paintings are worthless schmaltz, and the lamestream media that love him are wrong. However, I'd love to see a museum mount a small show of Kinkade's work. I would like the art world and the wider world to argue about him in public, out in the open. Kinkade once said his goal was to "make people happy." I'm not sure if there's anything to be learned from happy public reactions at a museum to Kinkade's paintings, but I'm more than happy to, as he put it, test our values on their walls.
Last edited by amarante; 04-09-2012 at 03:59 PM.
Chacun à son goût!
The fact that his "art" is crap is not even that important.
You think you're not ever going to be able to eat another thing, but alas, you will find yourself feeling strangely peckish around teatime. The more you eat, the more you want. That's the way it goes."
Was foul play suspected, hence the autopsy? Or family trying to find reason and peace in his death?
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
I haven't had any reason to find out personally, but I thought an autopsy was pretty standard when a person dies more than twenty years earlier than their life expectancy would indicate, especially if there was no ongoing illness or obvious explanation.
It's interesting to read the comments here. I was never drawn to his work and didn't pay much attention to him despite seeing his stuff everywhere. I hope those who bought his work did so because they got a positive emotional response from it and could afford to pay what they did for that reason alone. IMO, that is the only reason for most people to buy any artwork.
Out of curiosity, I checked and found that ebay has 205 pages of Thomas Kinkade listings. I have no idea how that compares to listings before his passing or whether prices are higher or lower.... but that's a lot of stuff in one place.
Sometimes autopsies aren't performed even if theoretically required. My friend's mother died unexpectedly away from home during a trip and no autopsy was performed. I suspect that the EMT people who were called to the scene assumed that it was a natural death for an 80 year old women. Of course my friend jokes that her father could have gotten away with murder.
I think that somewhere over 65 or 70, there is a tendency to assume natural causes. Kinkade was 54 -- not a senior citizen but older than some I have know to die of heart attack, stroke or other problems that can come on suddenly.
this article from The Daily indicates he had been drinking all night. Sounds like there's more to it than natural causes.
And for what it's worth, I never cared for his paintings either and was shocked to read that they went for as much as $10,000 for a canvas.
Interesting, McGee. Thanks for posting that.
Chacun à son goût!
SAN JOSE, Calif. — An autopsy has found that artist Thomas Kinkade's death was caused by an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription tranquilizers.
NBC Bay Area News reported Monday (( http://bit.ly/Jsgrvg)) that the Santa Clara County medical examiner concluded that the self-described "Painter of Light" stopped breathing at his Northern California home on April 6 from a combination of alcohol and Valium.
Before his death, the 54-year-old Kinkade produced sentimental scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes that he sold in a nationwide chain of galleries.
In recent years, however, he had run into personal difficulties, including a 2010 bankruptcy filing by one of his companies.
His brother has said Kinkade battled alcoholism and relapsed before his death.
A judge last month issued a restraining order against a former girlfriend that prevents her from talking about the late painter.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Thanks for posting that!
Chacun à son goût!
Thank you for posting this, Joyce. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Thomas Kinkade was a great supporter of the library system in our county and of our local branch. Those of us in our community continue to wish his family well.