Lifestyle & Belief

Thomas Kinkade painting sales surge since his death


LOS ANGELES: (L-R) Bob Goodwin, tennis player Serena Williams and painter Thomas Kinkade pose at the "We Are Family" recording session at the Chalice Recording Studios on Novj. 22, 2005 in Los Angeles. Kinkade died April 6, 2012, at age 54. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)


Michael Buckner

Painter Thomas Kinkade's works have been flying off gallery walls since he died unexpectedly at age 54 in his California home Friday.

In Kinkade’s hometown of Placerville, Calif., at the gallery where his art career first took off, an original painting — "Sunday Outing" — sat unsold for years with an asking price of $110,000, reported the Associated Press. The owner of the work asked gallerist Nathan Ross to raise the price to $150,000 when the news of Kinkade's death broke. The painting sold hours later.

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Ross has had to call in as much help as he can find. On a typical day, he'd sell one to five Kinkade pieces on the gallery's website. In the last 48 hours, he's received about 300 online orders, according to the AP.

"In the last three days I probably sold more (Kinkades) than I have in the previous year," said Roger Plath, owner of Sherwood Fine Art in Owatonna, Minn., to Bloomberg.

Kim Perata, owner of Thomas Kinkade of Napa Valley, said she has sold more than 40 paintings in the past four days. She usually sells about 25 in an average month.

According to Bloomberg, the spike in sales shows a sharp turnaround for the Kinkade brand, which has been in decline since its popularity surged in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Gallery owners attribute the descent to the economy, a decline in the collectibles market and the oversaturation of Kinkade's name, which has been attached to everything from calendars and figurines, to La-Z-Boy furniture and a housing development.