Margaret Keane, the artist who inspired Tim Burton’s ‘Big Eyes’, has died aged 94.
The painter, renowned for her sorrowful images of children with giant eyes, passed away from heart failure, her daughter Jane Swigert confirmed to the New York Times.
A statement on Keane’s official Facebook said about her death on Sunday (26.06.22) at her home in Napa, California: "We’re sad to announce that Margaret Keane, ‘The Mother of Big Eyes, our Queen, a Modern Master and Legend,’ peacefully passed away Sunday morning at her home in Napa, CA, she was 94."
Director Tim Burton’s 2014 ‘Big Eyes’ biopic saw Keane played by Amy Adams, 47, and told how her husband Walter Keane, portrayed by Christoph Waltz, 65, claimed credit for her works in the 1960s before she started a fight for recognition.
Keane sued her partner in 1986 in Hawaii for defamation after they split, over his continued false claims that he was behind her iconic, best-selling art.
She dramatically challenged him to a painting contest, which easily proved she was the true “big eyes” artist, leading her to win $4 million in damages (£3.3 million.)
But she reportedly never saw a penny as her ex claimed to be broke.
Co-screenwriter of ‘Big Eyes’ Larry Karaszewski, 60, paid tribute to the artist, saying: “Margaret Keane has passed on. Grateful we all got to spend so much time getting to know her beautiful spirit. It took a decade to bring ‘Big Eyes’ to the screen.
“But her tale of surviving abuse was important. She wanted the world to know the truth about her life and art.”
As well as her daughter, Keane is survived by her five stepchildren and eight step-grandchildren.