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Margaret Keane, artist behind ‘big eyes’ paintings, dies at 94

Margaret Keane, best known for her eerie paintings of subjects with sad, big eyes, has died at 94. 

According to a report by The New York Times, she passed away on Sunday peacefully at her home in Napa, California, due to heart failure.

Margaret’s paintings became popular in the 1960s, but her ex-husband Walter Keane took all the credit for them, wherein he opened galleries, appeared on shows, and sold memorabilia.

When Margaret announced that she was the real artist behind the paintings in 1970, a paint-off was scheduled but Walter did not show up.

In 1986, when she sued Walter and USA Today for an article claiming that Walter was the real artist, the judge ordered both to create a painting in the courtroom. Walter declined and said he had a sore arm, but Margaret was able to complete her painting.

Following her divorce, relocation to Hawaii, interest in spirituality, and becoming a Jehovah’s Witness, Margaret’s work started to take on a brighter style.

Margaret remained an active artist until her death and her work is loved by many.

In fact, the big eyes of “The Powerpuff Girls” were inspired by Margaret’s art, according to an interview with animator Craig McCracken. The series also has a character named Ms Keane, the girls’ teacher.

Alternative rock musician Matthew Sweet’s “In Reverse” album cover is a painting by Margaret.

The artist was portrayed by Amy Adams in the 2014 Tim Burton film “Big Eyes,” which earned the actress a Golden Globe. – Nika Roque/RC, GMA News