Thomas Kinkade Forced to Pay Gallery Owners Millions Over Sales Scam

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Are you a fan of Thomas Kinkade, the mustachioed “painter of light”? If so, you should 1) turn away now because you’re going to hear some bad things about the man’s business, and 2) while you’re turned away, you should go to your local library and browse through some art books so you can develop better taste. By way of Art Info, we learned that a suit against Kinkade’s company has been overturned on appeal and now will be forced to pay $2.1 million to former gallery owners who claim they were duped by both Kinkade and his colleagues into carrying his work as part of an elaborate scheme to lower prices for a corporate buyout. While the suit had originally been won by Kinkade and company, on appeal, they weren’t so lucky and will now be forced to pay up. Here’s the long and short of what Kinkade’s well-lit, old timey Americana scheme was:

What the company didn’t tell them, said their attorney, was that they would have to sell Kinkade’s works at minimum retail prices while the artist undercut them with discount sales, some of which he made himself on cable television.

It was part of a plan, they claimed, to lower the value of the publicly traded company before Kinkade bought it in 2004, at steep losses to many investors. put their $122,000 savings into galleries in Charlottesville and Fredericksburg, Va., that opened in 1999 and 2000 and closed in 2003.