The triumph and tragedy of Thomas Kinkade, the “Painter of Light™” (1958-2012).
In terms of sales, Thomas Kinkade was literally the most successful living artist in the world. He was a devout evangelical Christian and accomplished modern-day impressionist, winning numerous awards for his art. He characterised himself as “Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light”, a phrase he protected through trademark, but one originally attributed to the British master, J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). According to Kinkade’s company, 1 in every 20 American homes owns a copy of one of his paintings. Yet he died in tabloid-ready disgrace, from an overdose of alcohol and Valium at the age of 54 years, his personal life and his business in utter disarray. His life and art will be examined – was he a genius as an artist as some have claimed, or is his work “so awful it must be seen to be believed” (Heath & Potter).