Art history futures - Thomas Kinkade's legend begins?

April 13 2012

Image of Art history futures - Thomas Kinkade's legend begins?

Picture: Telegraph/Alamay

Perhaps inevitably, the death of the phenomenally successful US artist Thomas Kinkade has prompted some tales about his private life. Here's the most curious, from The Telegraph:

He had also been seen urinating in public — in the lift of a Las Vegas hotel and on a model of Winnie the Pooh in Disneyland. “This one’s for you, Walt,” Kinkade was reported to have said.

Curiously, while Kinkade denied accusations of financial impropriety, he did not deny the allegations about his personal conduct. Alluding to his practice of urinating out of doors, he explained that he had grown up “in the country” where it was commonplace. When asked about the Las Vegas lift incident, he admitted that “there may have been some ritual territory marking going on”.

Now I don't much rate Kinkade's paintings, and I suspect many of you don't either. But he was probably the most collected artist, on a numerical basis, in the world. In 500 years time, will art historians look upon his personal quirks in much the same way as we do with, say Caravaggio? Who knows?

The stories of Kinkade relieving himself in odd places reminds me of the time I was working at Buckingham Palace, during a summer opening. One day a visitor started urinating in the marble corridor, down the back of a Canova sculpture. He was entirely unfazed by the commotion he caused, saying something along the lines of 'when you've got to go...' I was detailed to escort him from the Palace, and to make sure he didn't try anything else in the gardens. As far as I know, he wasn't an artist.

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