South Bay News

Results of Kinkade autopsy could take months

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The mystery over why a world-famous Bay Area artist suddenly died Friday has not yet been answered. The Santa Clara County Coroner's Office performed an autopsy Monday on Thomas Kinkade, but doctors say they will have to wait on the results of further tests before they will know the cause.

The Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery in Capitola has one of the largest collections of Kinkade art. With each sale, the shop owners include a video featuring the self-proclaimed painter of light.

"Three days later, we're still in shock over it, and a lot of the fans are, a lot of the public is, too," Kinkade gallery owner Tom Austen said.

Kinkade's paintings celebrate faith and family. He is one of America's most collected artists with more than 10 million works sold. His death has generated new interest with loyal fans wanting more.

"You don't buy it because it's a collectable anymore, you just buy it because you like it," Kinkade art buyer Bobbie Cadwalader said.

Kinkade's cozy cottages and peaceful places along with his mass marketing have their critics. John Agg is the executive director of the Museums of Los Gatos. Agg says Kinkade was talented, but is also aware of the criticism.

"It was fluff art, light-hearted art that appealed to a very broad audience," Agg said.

Kinkade's family says it appears he died of natural causes. The corner says an autopsy report may not be released for months.

Both his fans and critics are remembering Kinkade for his many charitable contributions and philanthropy. Those who knew the artist say his death at age 54 comes as he was planning to travel abroad.

"He was just going to leave on a mission trip to Africa, Asia, India, [and] Brazil and give art lessons on TV and help the people in each country," Kinkade gallery owner Steve Austen said.

Kinkade's family says the company which prints Kinkade's artwork and shares it with millions will live on.

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art, los gatos, celebrity deaths, south bay news, karina rusk
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