Margaret D. H. Keane, (born Peggy Doris Hawkins, September 15, 1927), Is known infamously for the big eyed paintings, which look whimsical to any viewer, regardless of thir taste. Her work was not given credit to, but rather was taken by her husband the the time Walter Keane.
When she was two, her ear was permanently impaired. Unable to hear clearly, she learned to observe the eyes of the person speaking to her to understand them. At the age of 18, she studied at the Traphagen School of Design in New York City for a year. In the 1950, began her career in painting portraits.
"I was always drawing eyes, even as a child. Eyes fascinated me." -Margaret Keane
In the mid-1950s, Margaret, married and with a child, met Walter Keane. Margaret considered him "suave, gregarious and charming." The two were married in Honolulu in 1955. Margaret said he instantly started selling her distinctive feature "big eyes" drawings, but unknown to her, he claimed it was his own work. She stayed quiet when she realized his deceit. Later, she justified her actions: "I was afraid of him because he [threatened] to have me done in if I said anything."
Walter continued to establish a mythology for himself and Margaret, to a lesser degree. Finally, he started promotion for "The Painting Keanes." In the 1960s, Keane were among the most influential and commercially successful artists of that time. At the height of his fame, she painted non-stop for 16 hours a day.
In 1970, on a radio interview, Keane revealed that she was the actual artist of paintings credited to her ex-husband Walter Keane. After Keane exposed the facts, a "paint-out" between Margaret and Walter was staged at Union Square in San Francisco, organized by Bill Flang, a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner, and attended by the media and Margaret. Walter did not turning up.
In 1986, she sued both Walter and USA Today at the fedral court over an article alleging that Walter was the real artist. At the appeal, the judge famously asked both Margaret and Walter to create a large-eyed painting in the courtroom to decide who was telling the facts. Walter refused, citing a sore shoulder, although Margaret finished her work in 53 minutes. The jury awarded her $4 million in damages following a three-week hearing.
In the 2014 biographical film Big Eyes, Margaret Keane and her ex-husband Walter became the key subject of the film. The film took 11 years from production to completion, but still paid tribute to the respect she deserved from the start.