Thomas Kincaide the controversial American “Painter of Light” who claimed to be “America’s most-collected living artist” recently passed away at age 54 from natural causes. Kincaide rarely sold his original paintings, instead he produced canvas reprints, stationary, greetings cards, jig saw puzzles, afghans, night lights, Lazy Boy chairs, clocks, watches, train sets, lighthouses, and plates. It is believed that one in 30 Americans owns a piece of work containing a Thomas Kincaide image. In fact, there was even a housing development with cottages called Hiddenbrooke professing to embody the Thomas Kincaide aesthetic. Unfortunately, this dream was interrupted during the recent housing crisis. The Thomas Kincaide market took a hit and 23 of the 25 Thomas Kinkaide galleries in California were stuttered.
Update: Art critic Jerry Salz states that it is believed that 1 in 20 Americans own a work by Kincaide and is less than kind in his critique of Kincaide’s work.
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.