Artist Margaret Keane, best known for her “Big Eyes” paintings, has died at the age of 94.
Kane became embroiled in a legal battle over her work rights after her husband claimed credit, a story told by Tim Burton in the 2014 movie Big Eyes. Her daughter Jane Swigert confirmed her death at her home in Napa, California, from a heart attack.
Born Peggy Doris Hawkins, she studied design in New York City before finding work painting cribs in the 1950s. She quickly moved on to her own art before meeting Walter Keane in 1955. He discovered her trademark paintings, which looked sad for saucer-eyed children, and began selling them to comedy clubs, for which he took credit.
After convincing her that it was a more realistic solution, she agreed to deceive, Tell the Guardian in 2014 It was “ripping it up”. By the 1960s, paintings were ubiquitous, with stars including Dean Martin and Joan Crawford procuring the originals. Andy Warhol said at the time, “I think what Kane did was great. It has to be good. If it’s bad, not many people will like it.”
But art critics were unimpressed, and in 1964, at the World’s Fair, an oversized painting called Tomorrow Forever was called the “tasteless breakthrough work” in the New York Times before it was promptly removed. “When people said it was just emotional stuff, it really hurt my feelings,” she said. “Some people can’t even look at them. I don’t know why — just a backlash.”
The couple separated soon after and in 1970 she was announced as the real artist. In 1986, Walter Keane and USA Today sued Walter Keane for alleging that he was behind the paintings. She won the case after “smearing” in court but did not receive $4 million in damages because Walter Keane was bankrupt.
Her story was later turned into the 2014 movie Big Eyes, starring Amy Adams, which led to a brief comeback in popularity for her work. She described watching the movie as a “painful” experience.
Film co-writer Larry Karasevsky greeting her on Facebook. “Grateful that we all took so much time getting to know her beautiful soul,” he wrote. “It took a decade to bring Big Eyes to screen. But her tale of surviving abuse was important. She wanted the world to know the truth about her life and art.”
In 2018, the Los Angeles Art Show awarded her a Lifetime Achievement Award during a retrospective of her work. she Call It is a “real blessing”.
She was reported dead Her official Facebook page today. “We are saddened to announce that Margaret Keane, “Mother of Big Eyes, our Queen, Modern Teacher and Legend,” passed away peacefully Sunday morning at her home in Napa, California, at the age of 94.”
“Typical beer trailblazer. Hipster-friendly web buff. Certified alcohol fanatic. Internetaholic. Infuriatingly humble zombie lover.”