These iconic images of melancholy kids have been at the heart of at least two marital disputes. In the mid-80s Margaret Keane took her ex-husband Walter to court, where she successfully proved that she was actually the artist behind the ubiquitous big-eyed kids that had been her ex's claim to fame for preceding decades. Though much friendlier and non-litigious, my husband and I have our own little Keane dispute. He thinks they are depressing and creepy, I think they are adorable and sweet. I want them in our kids' rooms, but until we resolve this issue they have been relegated to storage.
I have always had an appetite for kitsch and a soft spot for Keane kids, buying my first in a New Orleans thrift shop when I was in high school. The one pictured above was purchased at Theatre Antiques in Minneapolis (RIP). When we first moved in together, my husband consented to hanging it in the hall bathroom and then avoided it entirely. Like the little girl in the image, it was cold rejected. A few other Keane kids hung in my office. Then we moved and had some more children and now I don't have an office. As we transition our daughters to their big girl beds we are doing some redecorating, and I think that the Keanes would be a great addition to their digs. Unsurprisingly, this has given rise to some creative differences with their dad.
A quick search here on Apartment Therapy turns up a few Keanes in tours, and a split between Keane lovers and those in the creepy/depressing camp. Where do you stand on Keane images? Would you hang one in your child's room?
(Image: Roni Shapira Ben-Yoseph)