Kinkade's Death Draws Fans to Painter's Original Placerville Gallery
Melody Gutierrez, sacbee.com, Apr. 8, 2012
Yes, gallery staff confirmed to the saddened couple – among the many people who flocked to the Placerville store after hearing of Kinkade's death. The "Painter of Light" who built an art empire with his romantic depictions of landscapes, cottages and classic Disney movie characters, died Friday at his home in Los Gatos. He was 54.
Less than 12 hours after learning of Kinkade's death, gallery co-owner Nathan Ross found himself trying to handle the overwhelming demand inside the two-story building on Placerville's main drag. The store's website crashed several times before Ross upgraded its server.
"It's great from a sales standpoint, but it's tragic," said Ross, who has been a part owner for more than six years. His grandparents, Elaine and George Carpenter, are the gallery's original owners.
Ross said he heard of Kinkade's death about 8 p.m. Friday after being contacted by a reporter for comment. Authorities will not have the official cause of death for at least a few days, and police referred comment to the coroner, who was unavailable, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Family spokesman David Satterfield said Kinkade died of what appeared to be natural causes.
"We opened at 6 a.m. and by 7:30 a.m., there were already 10 canvases sold," Ross said. "Typically, we don't open until 10 a.m. It has been a frenzy."
Standing in front of a 28-by-48-inch picture titled "Cinderella Wishes Upon a Dream," Sheryl Baldwin of Shingle Springs said she came to the gallery after hearing of Kinkade's death.
Baldwin said she owns two Kinkade pictures, and every year her children know to get her a Kinkade calendar for Christmas.
A half-hour later, Baldwin remained in front of the Cinderella print with hand-painted accents, which had a sold sign on it. She decided to buy the $3,500 picture as a gift for her daughter, who wants to open a dance studio. Baldwin said she couldn't stop thinking the picture would be a perfect centerpiece for the studio.
Larry Ferguson of Elk Grove flagged down a gallery worker to say he'd like to buy an additional two canvases, bringing his day's purchases to six.
"There are a couple of things I wanted," said Ferguson, who has 15 of Kinkade's paintings, some canvas and others paper.
"I've met him several times," Ferguson said. "Most of my paintings are signed twice. They are all over the house."
Robert and Melissa Frank of Placerville said they have been eyeing a few Kinkade paintings that they wanted and decided to head to the gallery after hearing of the artist's death.
"We wanted to pick up a few paintings before it goes nuts," he said.
The couple ...
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