The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

January 19, 2012

January 19, 1958

Thomas Kinkade (born January 19, 1958) has made sentimental landscapes portrayals  into a very successful business. Although his sales practises and his conservative politics have received complaints, and his policy of linking his art to Chrstian themes has offended many mainstream artists, he has in fact raised a lot of money for charity, in addition to a large fortune for himself.

Here is a quote from a book review of  Thomas Kinkade: The Artist in the Mall, edited by Alexis L. Boylan. Our excerpt is from the art critic of The New Republic, Jed Perl:

Karal Ann Marling, a professor at the University of Minnesota and a proud collector of all things Kinkade, strikes me as almost guileless, though I wouldn’t put it past her to be giving me a campy wink, too..... You cannot argue with her when she declares that “it is one thing to buy a Picasso at auction in New York with all the attendant hoopla, and quite another to wallow in ‘collectibles,’ including checks, pictures sold through credit-card companies, resin figurines based on old Norman Rockwell magazine covers, and the kinds of dust-catchers collected by little old ladies who also collect cats.” What seems to have eluded Marling is the fact that for most of us a Picasso is not something to buy at an auction but something to look at in a museum or in a reproduction. And here is a big part of the problem. For many of the authors involved in this book, dollar value appears to be almost the only salient value...
For true believers in Pop Americana, of course, this will be one more chapter in an updated version of Robert Venturi’s and Denise Scott Brown’s Learning from Las Vegas. Can the intellectuals who have apotheosized the strip malls be wrong? Can the millions who have purchased a Thomas Kinkade of one sort or another be deluded? I see no reason why this cannot be the case. ...

Joan Didion elsewhere described Kinkade's pictures nicely I thought, when she wrote: 

A Kinkade painting was typically rendered in slightly surreal pastels. It typically featured 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 was lit, to lurid effect, as if the interior of the structure might be on fire.

Thomas Kinkade may have done for art what L. Ron Hubbard did for religion -- made the bottom line base, and financially very rewarding. 

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