One of most popular artists in America, “Painter of Light” Thomas Kinkade, died Friday at his home in California, his family said.
He was 54, and his family issued a statement that his death appeared to be from natural causes.
“Thom provided a wonderful life for his family,” his wife, Nanette, said in a statement. “We are shocked and saddened by his death.”
His paintings are hanging in an estimated 1 out of every 20 homes in the United States, the San Jose Mercury News reported. Fans cite the warm, familiar feeling of mass-produced works of art while it has become fashionable for art critics to dismiss his pieces.
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Kinkade lived with his wife and was the father of four girls, according to his website, NBCBayArea.com reported
“Thomas Kinkade, the celebrated ‘Painter of Light’ is one of the most widely collected and beloved artists of our day,” Kinkade’s website states. “Each year millions of people are drawn to the luminous light and tranquil mood of Kinkade’s paintings and include his creations in their lives through prints, books, and other fine collectibles.”
The University of California Berkeley graduate had a strong faith in God, which served as the foundation for his artwork.
“I try to create paintings that are a window for the imagination,” Kinkade said on his website. “If people look at my work and are reminded of the way things once were or perhaps the way they could be, then I’ve done my job.”
Kinkade’s Media Arts Group took in $32 million per quarter from 4,500 dealers across the country 10 years ago, before going private in the middle of last decade, the Mercury News reported. Paintings are priced hundreds of dollars to more than $10,000.
His website also offers prints, mugs, nightlights and other home-decor items adorned with his paintings, which feature bridges, churches, cottages, Disney scenes, gazebos estates and the outdoors.