Thomas Kinkade's Family Will Dispute Is Just Absurd

Thomas KinkadeIn his life Thomas Kinkade may have painted the light, but beneath the surface, there was a lot of darkness. The way he died -- accidental overdose of alcohol and Valium -- is a telling reminder of the inner demons the critically-maligned artist was facing. But it's his will controversy that is really shedding some true "light" on his life.

Kinkade had a wife and four daughters, from whom he was estranged. His mistress Amy Pinto-Walsh was the primary person he spent time with and she has produced handwritten notes allegedly written by Kinkade leaving her a mansion and $10 million to start a museum of his paintings.

The case is going to court, but are we really going to take the final will and testament of a man who was spiraling out of control who wrote it on a legal pad with a pen? Sorry, lady, that's crazy talk.

Wills can be a very tricky thing in families. Most of the major fights and rifts in families seem to come from some dispute over a will. But Pinto-Walsh is going to have an uphill battle proving that a man, clearly under duress, can write a shakily written note and call it a will.

Sorry, lady, no dice.

This is the tragic truth of people who are wealthy. As much as being rich is better than being poor as a general rule (duh), it's also true that being wealthy subjects you to scorn, envy, and derision.

Would Kinkade be nearly as much fun to mock if so many people hadn't bought his work in droves? Would he be really fun to mock if he wasn't appealing to the masses in the way he was?

For an artist, Kinkade was hugely successful, the kind of success even well-loved art snobs can only dream of. But that came with a price tag. Literally. Now everyone wants a piece of that, which, of course, is the other downside to success like this. 

In life, I may have mocked Kinkade, but in death, I see it differently. His life was nothing like those pastoral paintings he produced that sold for $100 to people who probably don't spend much time really understanding real art. His real life was much more tragic and tumultuous.

The irony is that his death and this ensuing will issue isn't unlike those of many "real" artists, replete with addictions and inner demons. The tragedy is that in life, he never got to experience the light he spent his life painting.

I see Thomas Kinkade in a new way now and my heart goes out to his REAL family, not those attempting to pilfer his estate.

Does this make you see Kinkade differently?


Image via Allan Ferguson/Flickr



To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

nonmember avatar Mrs. Clark

It doesn't matter who gets the money. He owed a lot of people a lot of money so the collectors will see their money before they will. From what i reaad, there may not be much left after that.

cmjaz cmjaz

Just because I don't like ugly abstract art and prefer something colorful and peaceful (which I wouldn't be able to paint to save my life) doesn't mean he wasn't a real artist. If he wasn't so profilic, his paintings would probably be a lot more money 100 years from now.

In any case, his mistress seems so shady that maybe his death should be more thoroughly investigated. She might have had him write that 'will' and then thought she was in the clear for a hefty inheritance. Not realizing that a) he was heavily in debt and b) he was still legally married and therefore his wife and children are the legal heirs. I don't how this is even going to court.....

Just a thought.

nonmember avatar gjb

Shame on the writer for her bashing of "the middle of the country". I live in Iowa, and I promise you, not everyone who chooses to live somewhere other than New York or California is a non-shoe wearing, living in a cornfield, bad-art loving hillbilly! Take a look at the list of TK galleries- there are 40 in California alone! Stereotypes are bad journalism, no matter who the target or the attempt at making some point.

amber... amberdotsmom

Agree GJB!  I live on the East Coast and have one of Thomas's paintings.  Some may turn up their nose at what they consider to be 'art" versus mass production but what I see in it is peace and calm and a quiet little place that I sometimes wish I could step through the frame and into.  If that's what people got from his work, if it made them feel better or happy looking at it who cares that the critics looked down on him.

I'm sorry for the way he ended though and this women claiming his money doesn't and shouldn't have a leg to stand on.  Does anyone believe if she got that 10 million she'd actually build that museum anyway?

nonmember avatar guest

What a snobby author!! Good Lord, just because someone bought one of his paintings doesn't mean they are idiots or "don't appreciate real art". And I too resent the middle of the country garbage. I was born in Iowa but now live in Charleston, SC (right on The Battery so I'm no hillbilly). Get over yourself!

LizB86 LizB86

Handwritten notes are probably not going to cut it as a will in California, where a will is supposed to be signed by two disinterested witnesses to be valid.  If signed by an interested witness (i.e., a supposed beneficiary), there's a presumption that the will was made under duress, undue influence, or some other invalidating circumstance.  So good luck with that, Ms. Pinto-Walsh!

I hated Kinkade's art too.  Kitschy, paint-by-numbers crap in my opinion.  Snobby perhaps, but I don't care.  Gjb does have a point though, we Californians are as guilty as anyone of bad taste (How much of that stuff was bought by out of state tourists, though?  It's hard to know).

the4m... the4mutts

Liz- handwritten notes DO cut it in california. IF:

They're signed by 3 witnesses who don't benefit from the will

You're in your right state of mind

There are no LEGALLY WED spouses, estranged or not

These things were obviously not in place.

As far as the author's, or anyone elses, opinion on art, like it or don't like it. Its art. Its "goodness" is subjective. But you make yourself look like a reall asshat when you degrade the people who like it.

Dislike the art all you want, but when you turn around and degrade someone because they have a different taste in art, music, interior design, or any other materialistic type entertainment, well, once again, dear author, you look like an asshat.

the4m... the4mutts

Ahh, checked to see who the author is, no surprise there. She always comes off that way.

nonmember avatar judi m

Give the author a break. At least the links go to the right place today, and not to the Healey school. Go Sasha!

zandh... zandhmom2

Seriously, this article is horrible! I can't believe how rude and snobby the author came off sounding. I don't owe any of his art but most of it is beautiful to look at.  I for one never got the whole "can of soup" art but I know some people do.  Art to me is very subjective and every person sees it throught their own reality.

1-10 of 18 comments 12 Last