Billion Dollar Painter
The Triumph and Tragedy of Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light
The unbelievable true story of artist Thomas Kinkade,self-described “Painter of Light,” and the dramatic rise—and fall—of hisbillion-dollar gallery and licensing business
He was just one man, but Thomas Kinkade ultimately made moremoney from his art than every other artist in the history of the worldcombined. His sentimental paintings of babbling brooks, rural churchessurrounded by brilliant fall foliage, and idyllic countryside cottages were sopopular in the 1990s that it is estimated that one out of every twenty homes in America owned one ofhis prints. With the help of two partners—a former vacuum-cleaner salesman andan ambitious junior accountant who fancied himself a businessman—Kinkade turnedhis art into a billion-dollar gallery and licensing business that traded on theNew York Stock Exchange before it collapsed in 2006 amid fraud accusations.
One part fascinating business story about the rise anddemise of a financial empire born out of divine inspiration, one part dramaticbiography, Billion Dollar Painter is the account of three nobodies whomade it big. One was a man who, despite being a devout Christian who believedhis artwork was a spiritual force that could cure the sick and comfort the poorin spirit, could not save his art empire—or himself.
G. Eric Kuskey, former colleague of Thomas Kinkade and closefriend until the artist’s death in 2012, tells Kinkade’s story for the firsttime, from his art’s humble beginnings on a sidewalk in Carmel, California, tohis five-house compound in Monte Sereno. It’s a tale of addiction and grief, oflosing control, and ultimately, of the price of our dreams.
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