Our artistic interpretation of the battle for Kinkade’s millions, museum and legacy and how everything looks better when there is a shower of US $100 bills, including the artist’s girlfriend, Amy Pinto-Walsh. (images from everywhere and conceived in my mind)

Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus, the American republic empire whatever republic was founded on the US Constitution, hell, even Apple had a “founding document” but the legacy of the “Painter of Light” Thomas Kinkade may be decided by two scratchy letters written late last year to his lover in a script that makes you wonder if he was drunk, drugged or ejaculating at the time.

This week, the Mercury News reports that the legal battle over the estate of the late painter began in a California court and his girlfriend — they reputedly started dating six months after he separated from his wife — showed up to stake her claim:

Amy Pinto-Walsh, a petite woman with long dark hair, has produced barely legible, handwritten notes she claims Kinkade wrote, giving her the keys to his Monte Sereno mansion and $10 million to establish a museum of his original paintings there.

And then the deliciously bizarre details from the proceedings:

Throughout the hearing, Pinto-Walsh clutched a heavy silver pendant in the form of what appeared to be a dragon. After the hearing, she declined a request for an interview and wouldn’t explain the symbolism of the pendant. But Pinto-Walsh, who is of Indian descent and raised in Kuwait, held the dragon in front of her throughout the hearing, as though it had special spiritual or sentimental value.

And then the editorial dig:

The two handwritten letters, which allegedly leave his grand home called Ivy Gate and $10 million to Pinto-Walsh, showed none of the precision of the painter’s brush strokes.

And finally the ex-wife/girlfriend animosity:

Tensions between the two women have been high from the start. Not only did Nanette Kinkade block her husband from hiring Pinto-Walsh as an employee last year, but when Kinkade died in April, Pinto-Walsh was banned from Kinkade’s private funeral. She sought a restraining order against Pinto-Walsh shortly after Kinkade’s death to prohibit her from speaking to the media.

For an artist known for his idyllic scenes that were favorites of “family values” conservatives across the country, his personal life — and now death — have been far from ideal.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

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