When Entrepreneurs Foul Their Nests
If the media can find weaknesses in an icon, they become like a dog with a bone. In a 3,000-word expose of Thomas Kinkade in The Los Angeles Times of March 5, 2006, Kim Christensen depicted Kinkade as a ruthless businessman, who has been accused of dishonesty and stock manipulation. Also described in excruciating detail is his lurid and bizarre behavior that is 180-degrees from the hearth-hugging, God-fearing gentle soul that shines through his art.
Included are stories of Kinkade's heavy drinking, disrupting a Sigfried & Roy show in Las Vegas, cussing out the wife one of his executives that tried to help him after he fell off a bar stool, fondling a female guest at a signing party, and urinating on a Winnie the Pooh statue at a Disneyland Hotel and yelling, "This one's for you, Walt."
The Guardian's Oliver Burkeman suggested that Kinkade's entire business enterprise is threatened with destabilization. But this is tame stuff compared to the antics of a very wicked Spaniard.
Salvador Dali—The Ultimate Rip-off Artist
In 1977 I saw an ad from Jean-Paul Loup, an art dealer in Chicago offering a signed and numbered Salvador Dali lithograph of Venice for $375. I wrote the dealer who sent me an 8" x 10" color photograph of the piece and an effusive letter that said in part:
"…if a lithograph of that size would be available in an average American gallery, it would sell for $600.00 to $850.00."
Because it was so cheap, my wife, Peggy, and I assumed it was a forgery, but we liked the image and sent our $375 for the print, which we still have and still believe to be a forgery. The Certificate of Authenticity states that this limited edition consists of 395 signed and numbered lithographs of Rives Paper and 55 signed artist's proofs of Rives paper. The document stated: