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When an artist is as popular as Thomas Kinkade (it is said that he is the most collected artist of all time), fraudulent companies rush to cash in. And the internet is helping this along.
Consider that Thom is the most collected artist in Asia...and yet the Thomas Kinkade Company reports that they do not sell to Asia.
And consider that the printing technology of today makes it easy to replicate Thomas Kinkade works, have them appear in a Google search and sell them as authentic to unsuspecting collectors.
Even authentic works, sold by unauthorized dealers, can be bad buys. While the Kinkade customer service/warranty system is perhaps the best in the business, the Kinkade company works exclusively through authorized dealers. So if you purchased a “problem” work from an unauthorized source, you are probably stuck. Even if you have a Kinkade that is faded or otherwise not perfect, you must work through an authorized dealer to have your problem(s) corrected. Most often, an unauthorized dealer would not even recognize damages such as fading or premature aging.
Many situations can lead to damaged canvases. Did the canvas hang where there was smoking or undue dust? Has Thom’s signature or have the numbers...faded? Is the canvas itself in good condition or does it show the ravages of time?
What about the Certificate of Authenticity? Is it an authentic certificate? Is there a copy of a bill of sale from the original purchaser to the unauthorized dealer? If not, perhaps the work was stolen.
If the canvas is highlighted, was it highlighted by an authorized Thomas Kinkade Master Highlighter, and is there a genuine certificate of highlighting with proper information from the Kinkade Company?
Fortunately, it is easy for the collector to avoid problems by working exclusively with a knowledgeable authorized dealer. The Thomas Kinkade Company authorizes very few galleries. And only the cream of the gallery crop are designated as Thomas Kinkade Signature Galleries. To remain an authorized Thomas Kinkade Gallery, a gallery must adhere to solid business practices. And the gallery must be staffed with trained and knowledgeable personnel. Appropriate pricing, attractive displays, adequate signage and business integrity are basic requirements.
You can call the Thomas Kinkade Company at 800-366-3733 to check on a gallery or to make certain that a Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery is in good standing. You want to be certain that you are spending your dollars wisely.
Of course, art fraud is not limited to works by Kinkade. Several years ago, the Greenwich Workshop and authorities were able to halt distribution of unauthorized works by Bev Doolittle. Gallery One in Mentor, OH recognized and halted sale of several falsified Bateman works. Fraudulent works by Pino, Peter Max, Bateman, Philippe Noyer and Doolittle, among others, have been spotted by knowledgeable dealers and reported to artists and publishers.
So choose your gallery with care. Feel free to call fine art publishers to check on their authorized art dealers. Don’t just rely on an internet search. Oh...and always trust your “gut.”