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Painter Thomas Kinkade dies in California

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 7, 2012 at 9:10 a.m.

this-undated-photo-provided-by-the-thomas-kinkade-company-via-pr-newswire-shows-thomas-kinkades-new-studio-masterwork-indy-excitement-100-years-of-racing-at-indianapolis-motor-speedway-kinkade-whose-brushwork-paintings-of-idyllic-landscapes-cottages-and-churches-have-been-big-sellers-for-dealers-across-the-united-states-died-friday-april-6-2012-a-family-spokesman-said

This undated photo provided by The Thomas Kinkade Company via PR Newswire shows Thomas Kinkade's New Studio Masterwork, "Indy Excitement, 100 Years of Racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway." Kinkade, whose brushwork paintings of idyllic landscapes, cottages and churches have been big sellers for dealers across the United States, died Friday, April 6, 2012, a family spokesman said.

— Artist Thomas Kinkade once said that he had something in common with Walt Disney and Norman Rockwell: He wanted to make people happy.

And he won success with brushwork paintings that focused on idyllic landscapes, cottages and churches — highly popular works that became big sellers for dealers across the United States.

The self-described "Painter of Light," who died Friday at age 54, produced sentimental scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes in dewy morning light that were beloved by many but criticized by the art establishment.

Kinkade died at his home in Los Gatos in the San Francisco Bay Area of what appeared to be natural causes, said family spokesman David Satterfield.

He claimed to be the nation's most collected living artist, and his paintings and spin-off products were said to fetch some $100 million a year in sales, and to be in 10 million homes in the United States.

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