A true commercially successful artist, Thomas Kinkade was one of the most dominant figures in the art world during his lifetime. He continued to grow in popularity even after his death.
A Thomas Kinkade gallery director in Port Jefferson, NY, described it this way: “It’s like taking Christmas and multiplying it by 12 or 15. “It’s good, but it’s sad.” Kinkade fans and novices alike have flocked to his numerous galleries since the artist’s death on April 6 at the age of 54, purchasing mass-made reproductions and prints faster than his corporate arm can update them (more than 500 copies per day).
You should understand that these are not originals by Kinkade – which can fetch an exorbitant price. Machine-made lithographs are in this week's hot market – some of which are signed by Kinkade, some of which are enhanced or hand-highlighted by other painters, for a price of approximately $800 to $1,600. Also selling very well are various products such as prints, nightlights, coffee mugs, bath lotions, and more.
Buyers stood in lines for hours at both the Port Jefferson outlet and the store’s flagship store to acquire factory replicas of famous paintings, including “Beside Still Waters,” “Mountain Majesty,” and “Sweetheart Cottage III.” The gallery’s voicemail clogged with more than 100 callers, McLoone said. The Kinkade gallery in New York and New Jersey, which Sal Catalfumo co-owns, has been “inundated” by inquiries.
Approximately how much have sales soared since Kinkade’s brush was silenced?
Catalfumo said that he prefers not to discuss it. “I don’t want it to look like, because of his dying, we’re benefiting. I’d rather have him not be gone and take away all the money I’ve made this week and instead know that I have a flourishing business for 15 to 25 years.” Evans D. Williams, an Ithaca, N.Y.-based fine-art appraiser, believes that some gallery owners "are increasing the prices massively" on Kinkade pieces.
I called the Thomas Kinkade dealer Patrick’s Fine Art in Mount Dora, Fla., on Wednesday, but was not able to find any answer on whether retailers are raising prices. Jimmy Patrick, gallery's operator, said Kinkade's work was selling well, as he pointed to works such as country cottages under light, and snow-covered churches. “As far as any other comments, I suggest you go to corporate.”
A more apt term would be corporate, given Kinkade's empire. These paintings became a brand - feelings of goodwill that resonated with millions of mainstream consumers. It was estimated that around $100 million in revenue would be generated through Kinkade's products at their height, practically ignored by serious art critics.
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