Thomas Kinkade, renowned artist and “painter of light,” died April 6 at his home in Los Gatos, Calif. He was 54.
Kinkade is said to be one of the most highly collected American artists, with estimates placing his work in millions of homes around the world.
License! Global’s 2011 Top 125 Global Licensors report ranked the privately held The Thomas Kinkade Company No. 65 on its list, with annual retail sales of licensed products totaling $425 million.
Of Kinkade’s passing, Lance Klass of Porterfield’s Fine Art Licensing says:
“I recall seeing an image by Thomas Kinkade many years ago that showed a street in San Francisco in the rain. It was a stunningly attractive painting and encapsulated that wonderful, beautiful city for me. Although Kinkade went on to create many lovely, charming escapist and romantic works, it was always that pre-commercial painting of San Francisco in the rain that I thought of whenever I heard his name. This was an artist with extraordinary artistic ability who chose to paint what people, regular people, wanted in their lives. He didn't paint for the art critics or the art press. His followers, and they were legion, loved his work for what was called the '30-second vacation,' as each painting took the viewer out of his or her surroundings and into a wonderful scene, walking up a road or path to a lovely place, perhaps a gazebo or a home or inn with lights in the windows, where they would love to be. His work affected countless millions of lives and he is to be applauded and remembered for the way in which he brought light and beauty, safety and serenity, into so many peoples' lives. What a gift.”