My latest Squidoo lens is about Big Eyes Artist Margaret Keane, when she started painting those doe-eyed waifs, and met her husband Walter Keane, and how after twenty years of not seeing each other, they go into battle for the rights of the paintings.
Most of the earlier big eyes paintings are only signed Keane so it wasn’t until Margret opened up on a radio interview about the truth behind them, that the battle began. Margaret stated that all the paintings were done by her and her husband took care of the marketing and selling of the paintings, and everyone assumed, with help from Walter, that the paintings were done by him, she was stuck in doors, sweat-shop style, churning out paintings, hidden from the lime-light. Margaret didn’t kick up a fuss at the time because she loved to paint different children, and was inward and shy, focusing on her inner feelings.
After a public challenge, a paint off, in which Walter failed to turn up, Margaret, denounced him on a radio show. Walter returned a statement saying she is only making these accusations because she thought he was dead. This is when the lawyers got involved.
The paintings at this time were selling like mad with prints and plates shifting in the millions, from department stalls and art galleries. Even the advertisement materials for the products, like posters, were stolen.
The court case went on for three and half weeks and eventually resulted in the Judge suggesting a paint off after Margaret brought in paintings in the big eyes style from her youth. Walter declined clasping his shoulder and making excuses that he had a problem.
Margaret was awarded 4 million and in an interview afterwards said it wasn’t about the money, she just wanted her art and anyway, he would never pay.