Citizen Keane: The Big Lies Behind the Big Eyes

By Cletus Nelson, Adam Parfrey

Teary, big-eyed orphans and a mess of trashy knockoffs epitomized American kitsch paintings as they clogged thrift shops for decades.

When Adam Parfrey tracked down Walter Keane—the credited artist of the weepy waifs, for a San Diego Reader hide tale in 1992—he found a few stunning proof. many years of proceedings and countersuits published the truth that Keane was once extra of a con guy than an artist, and that he pressured his spouse Margaret to signal his identify to her personal work. for that reason, these weepy waifs would possibly not were as capricious an invention as they seemed.

Parfrey's tale used to be reprinted in Juxtapoz journal and encouraged a Margaret Keane exhibition on the Laguna artwork Museum. And now director Tim Burton is filming a film in regards to the Keanes referred to as Big Eyes, and it truly is scheduled for liberate in 2014. Burton's Ed Wood, starring Johnny Depp, was once dependent upon the Feral condominium ebook edited and released by way of Parfrey in regards to the angora sweater-wearing B-film director.

Citizen Keane is a book-length growth of Parfrey's unique article, offering interesting biographical and sociological info, photos, colour reproductions, and appendices with felony files and pseudonymous essays by way of Tom Wolfe inflating vast eye artwork to these painted by way of the good masters.

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The Keane relatives used to be staunchly within the pro-drinking camp, and Walter recalled in his autobiography that his father was once keen on making homebrew for family members gatherings. maybe Walter’s lifelong love of alcohol started in his teenage years in the course of Prohibition, while downing a shot of illicit corn liquor was once thought of an act of political protest. Lincoln can have had its charms, yet by way of his overdue young people Walter used to be already plotting his get away. there has been one vacation spot he had in brain: California. Keane might later say his love affair with the Golden nation started with a automobile journey he took with a fellow Nebraskan whilst he was once seventeen (approximately 1932). commencing from Lincoln, the 2 males journeyed approximately thousand miles, preventing off in la and Santa Monica after which heading north. As Keane took within the Northern California panorama, he marveled on the great thing about Carmel and Monterey. “We took the ferry over to Berkeley and that i walked up college street to the UC Campus,” Keane recalled. “I stood there searching over the Bay, at San Francisco, at Marin County. Then i made a decision I’d make that my domestic. ”26 If Walter observed an excellent destiny for himself in sunny California, he wasn’t on my own. whilst Keane positioned Nebraska within the rearview reflect in 1935, he joined the loads of hundreds of thousands of Depression-era migrants looking a greater lifestyles out west. within the dirt Bowl states, it used to be more often than not believed that if a guy had a motor vehicle that ran and will scrape jointly the gasoline funds, he may take a stab at rebooting his lifestyles within the land of orange groves and picture stars. If the rookies had excessive hopes, no longer in contrast to the households depicted in John Steinbeck’s Depression-era novel The Grapes of Wrath, they have been certain to be disenchanted. The country didn’t have the assets to aid the massive inflow of impoverished monetary refugees, and the locals, who have been suffering to discover paintings, didn’t savor the additional festival. while he was once a senior citizen reminiscing approximately his early days within the kingdom, Keane informed an interviewer that after he arrived in California within the Nineteen Thirties, he instantly enrolled at UC Berkeley. After university, he defined, he began a small company with an unnamed associate. the 2 begun renovating and promoting houses within the Berkeley zone. The companion used to be chargeable for the structure, whereas he, ever the artist, designed the interiors. in response to Keane, the fledgling two-man operation grew into his profitable Berkeley actual property enterprise. This sounds believable sufficient, and Keane even mentions that he acquired a level in enterprise management in his autobiography. even though, there's no list of Keane attending UC Berkeley. A likelier state of affairs has Keane arriving in Southern California prior to his flow to Berkeley. The obituary that seemed within the San Francisco Chronicle in December 2000 and Keane’s Wikipedia web page either allege that he arrived in la first and attended la urban university (LACC) on Vermont street. he's even indexed on a number of websites as one of many school’s many famous person alumni, along notables corresponding to Clint Eastwood, los angeles Monte younger, and Gene Roddenberry.

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