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Citizen Keane: The Big Lies Behind The Big Eyes


Teary, big-eyed orphans + a multitude of trashy knockoffs epitomized American kitsch art as they clogged thrift stores for decades. When Adam Parfrey tracked down Walter Keane, the credited artist of the weepy waifs, for a San Diego Reader cover story in 1992, he discovered some shocking facts. Decades of lawsuits + countersuits revealed the reality that Keane was more of a con man than an artist + that he forced his wife Margaret to sign his name to her own paintings. As a result, those weepy waifs may not have been as capricious an invention as they seemed. Citizen Keane: the Lies Behind the Big Eyes is a book-length expansion of Parfrey’s original article, providing fascinating biographical + sociological details, photographs, color reproductions + appendices with legal documents + pseudonymous essays by Tom Wolfe inflating big eye art to those painted by the great masters. Softcover. 200 pages.

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