Why isn't Thomas Kinkade hanging at SAM?April 12, 2012 @ 6:43 am (Updated: 8:53 am - 4/12/12 )
Last weekend, one of the most, maybe THE most popular painter of our time, Thomas Kinkade died young, at 54, in California.
His images of warm, glowing scenes of cottages with gardens, maybe a snowfall, are comforting. He said he wanted to make people feel happy.
He did. Kinkade claimed to be our most collected living artist, but you won't find him hanging on the walls of the Seattle Art Museum. I went there to find out why not.
The American art curator, Patti Junker took me to a large oil painting from 1870 called Puget Sound on the Pacific.
At first glance, it might remind you of Thomas Kinkade, that glowing light shining onto a landscape, of water crashing against a shore below tree covered mountain. The landscape is so massive you have to look more closely to see the native people, dwarfed by the mountain and about to be overwhelmed by the settlers coming west.
Patti Junker compared the art styles of Kinkade and Puget Sound on the Pacific artist Albert Bierstadt.
"I think Thomas Kinkade is somebody whose art is sort of designed to take it in all at once, but I don't think there's anything there that really holds one for any sustained period of time," said Junker. "Whereas with Bierstadt, every single tree branch and contour of those mountains is something to really just behold and revel in."
Junker said that Bierstadt is authentic and pays reverence to his country and the people he paints.
"I think that if Thomas Kinkade gets all of those people who love the sort of 19th century qualities that his paintings seem to exhibit, if all of those people went back to the 19th century and really looked at the great masters of this genre, landscape painting and light, I think that would be a great thing."
When I asked her where one might do that.
"I think it would happen right here."
Listen to my conversation with Patti Junker:
By BILL RADKE
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