Kinkade painting of MU’s Columns unveiled

Proceeds of the auction of the first print will go to the “For All We Call Mizzou” campaign.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:31 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Darlene Johnson of Columbia won the auction Monday for Thomas Kinkade’s “The Majesty of Mizzou,” which went for $4,500. Mike Kelly, back, was the auctioneer.

The Columns at MU make great models. They’re always where they’re supposed to be, can stand perfectly still and never argue with the artist.

For all these reasons, they have found their way into a piece of art.

The official unveiling of “The Majesty of Mizzou,” a painting by Thomas Kinkade, who according to his Web site, is America’s most collected living artist, took place Monday at the Clubhouse at Old Hawthorne. The Columns are the first collegiate landmark to be painted by Kinkade.

Along with the unveiling, the first copy was also auctioned at the event, with Mike Kelly, announcer for MU football and men’s basketball, acting as auctioneer.

Kinkade no longer sells his original canvases, but the first reproduction was auctioned at $4,500. The painting also had an original rough draft sketch done by Kinkade. The winner was Darlene Johnson, a member of the family that used to own the land that makes up Old Hawthorne.

The palette Kinkade used to complete the painting was also put up for auction, with a final selling price of $500. The winner of the palette was Emily Thrasher, a real estate agent for Old Hawthorne.

According to Matt Torres, project manager for HST Group, all of the proceeds from the first piece will go to MU’s “For All We Call Mizzou” campaign. Four-hundred fifty 18-inch-by-27-inch copies of the work, along with 100 24-inch-by-36-inch canvases are available for sale through the MU Alumni Association. All of the paintings have been signed by Kinkade.

Kinkade came to Columbia for the groundbreaking ceremony of HST Group’s “The Gates at Old Hawthorne,” a series of estates to be built and designed after homes found in Kinkade’s paintings.

According to Torres, Kinkade’s work focuses on four ideas: warmth, welcoming, love and community.

“In the Columns (at) Jesse Hall, Tom saw all four of those,” Torres said in his opening remarks at the event.

While here, Kinkade visited the MU campus and the campus’ landmark Columns.

“I was so fascinated by the rich tradition that surrounded the University of Missouri,” Kinkade told the MU Alumni Association, according to a news release. “As it was the first university to be founded after the Louisiana Purchase, I was taken aback by the Columns and I knew I had to paint them.”

Kinkade was out of the country on private business and was not present at the unveiling.

The fundraiser also featured a showroom for HST’s “The Gates at Old Hawthorne.” Construction on the 105-unit housing development will begin in mid-July. The group already has a number of interested buyers, Torres said.

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