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Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade, Sweetheart Cottage III, The View from Havencrest Cottage, 1994, oil on canvas, 18 x 24". © 1994 Thomas Kinkade.

Thomas Kinkade: The Artist in the Mall, edited by Alexis L. Boylan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011. 320 pages. $26.

THOMAS KINKADE’S ART IS EVERYWHERE: An estimated one in twenty American homes owns a print of his work. At the same time, his pictures are nowhere to be seen in the art world, where they are reviled, if not simply ignored. Why? This is not a question of quality per se: It is hardly polemical to suggest that his pictures bear comparison with canonical works of art history. His Jerusalem Sunset, 2006, for example, brings to mind Corot’s Roman scenes. Other pictures—those in which fantasy tableaux are set in utopian American landscapes—conjure up Thomas Cole. Kinkade’s Parisian cityscapes, meanwhile, are close in atmosphere and execution to many second-generation Impressionist works. Nevertheless, for many denizens of the art world, his work does not

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