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In this Sept. 15, 2006 file photo, artist Thomas Kinkade unveils his painting, "Prayer For Peace," at the opening of the exhibit "From Abraham to Jesus," in Atlanta. 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. He was 54.

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Kinkade: Artist drew many fans, few critical raves

To fans and the countless collectors who helped build painter Thomas Kinkade’s commercial art empire, his idealized vision of the world usually served as a simple, soothing addition to the living room wall: a soft depiction of a churning seascape or a colorful garden or a cottage brimming with warm light.

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