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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." (AP/PR Newswire)

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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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