When You Close Your Eyes’ was published in September of 2000. The hit movie ‘Big Eyes’ came out fourteen years later. Our aunt and uncle were good friends of Walter and Margaret Keene. Jim Bigalow owned ‘Sam’s Anchor Cafe’ in Tiberon located in Marine County, thus my DNA is entrenched in Beryl Buck’s Blessed County, where no worthy poor person can be found in order to receive a smiggen of the $1,700,000,000 billion dollars of the Trust that Robert Brevoort established. It’s a Cinderella’s Slipper kind of thing. Bob’s Boys go about the land with this image in their wallet.
Sydney Morris of the law firm of Heisinger, Morris, Rose, and Buck said in a legal document he did not object to a biography and movie being made by Stacey Pierrot in the hope there would be a renewed interest in the general public purchasing Rosamond prints that my two nieces, and my daughter own. Today, you can’t give these images away. No one wants them. What I suggest, is, there exist a Breach of Verbal Contract because this movie should have been made. It is never too late!
The motive Morris owned, via his odd creative permission, was to discourage me from publishing my autobiography, or, raising monies to make my movie! In writing an artists biography it is common to mention other artists that are germain to the artistic identity of the protagonist, such as Margaret and Walter Keane, who Tom Snyder missed. ‘Big Eyes’ was the most important movie made about an artist – in many years! It was a success! This success should have been exploited by members of my family who own Rosamond prints. This of course might invite readers and viewers to own a negative opinion of the cunning business folks who surrounded my late sister and abused her psychologically. Is there any evidence of this? Yes! I believe it is my right to produce and use this evidence without honoring Tom Snyder’s copyright. There exist a dream, within a dream, within a dream. Just look into the Magical Rosamond Mirror, and see what you will see. Do you see the light at the end of dark alley? Is this a harbinger of things to come?
Here is Non-Artist, Jacci Belford, who called me a month after Christine died and told me she made an offer to purchase the entire estate, and pay off the creditors. Who did she make this offer to? The probate was having trouble getting underway, because Jacci and Vicki Presco, refused to serve as named Executors. Can Bob Buck tell Rosamond’s fans how uncommon this is? Non-Artist, Vicki, came to own a shit-load of Rosamond’s – before she dropped out as No.1 Executor, and nominated Ex-Husband, Garth Benton to be Special Executor, as did Sharp Business Woman, Sassy Jacci. Are those movie lights on the horizon? Or, is that Artist Garth coming back into the Rosamond Gallery, he cast in an angelic light, now, in order to make it all work for Jacci&Friends?
“Having all these gallery and family problems coming down on her was a lot for her to deal with. And giving my persepective on things – good, bad, or indifferent – could have had a lot to do with the end of her marriage to Garth. At the same time, it was the best thing that could have happened. It seemed to me he wanted her to have no involvement in her own business while he ran everything in a way that seemed best to him.”
You just read real Art&Movie History -folks!
Above is a photo of Bijan and the man who exposed him, a Rosamond Imitator, who signed his big-eyed prints ‘Sara Moon’. It never occurred to Sydney Morris to find a Facsimile to crank out more CASH on the Rosy Money Making Machine. Instead, we get the Legal Art Report. Giving me a woman’s name, then hiding me behind the curtain of Oz, was not a option for some strange reason. I can only fail!
“If you loved Rosamond, you are going to love her long lost sister ‘Violet’.
When I got my lost daughter back into my life, I made her an offer she could not refuse. We would render computer aided images of beautiful women – in the Rosamond style. My genetic material could sign her work ‘Heather’ as in the flower. This would include an image of Rosemary and Lillian taken by her great grandfather. She took this to her drunken aunt Linda, and Linda’s drunken attorney husband, and they told her she is guaranteed ten million, at least, and – she doesn’t have to do jack-shit! Was there talk about starring in Bob Buck’s movie?
What I suggest is, Bob fund – my movie – that can be made for $50,000 dollars. ‘Close Your Big Eyes – Bitch’ will be filmed entirely in the infamous closet Julie Lynch talks about. It is February 3, 1994, two months BEFORE the killer rogue wave took this world famous woman out to sea, and deposited her in Never Neverland!
The Art Gods have brought us together, to hash it out, because they see much damage being done to The Art World – in the future! There will be a classic swinging lightbulb in this closet that sways back and forth, reminiscent of ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’. This movie, and other movies about artists will be broadcast on the closet wall. The Closet of Art Despair will be located on the grounds of the Buck Institute Against All Aging – And The Idea of Eternal Life After Death! Where else!
Lillian’s son, Randy Molnar, will be hired to play one of the ‘Closet Caretakers’ along with Tylor Blake ‘A Key Holder’ and Admirer of Rosemary.
Here is the opening narration of my movie, ‘Close Your Big Eyes – Bitch’
“Two creative siblings entered the Dark Closet of Eternal Fame, and, only one would emerge, a true immortal!”
“Those who rejoiced at the death of my famous sister, now wished I had died, instead. For Rosamond was the just the preview, the anti-chamber – to hell! No one could stop me from writing. Day after day, month after month, my fury and revenge rained down on them all. I swore I would outlive them. All the attorneys started dying of old age. The only thing that could stop my wrathful pen, was…………The Ghost of Rosamond! For it was now clear I was her Mentor, and she, was my Little Yellow Bird….. I had captured in a gilded cage.”
Bob’s partner, Sydney Morris, entered his law firm in the Movie Making Business in order to pay off the creditors and give my Genetic Material some cold hard cash. ‘The Caretaker’ was sold all the Bragging Rights – for starters! Stacey Pierrot hired the obscure ghost writer, Tom Snyder, to author HER tell-all book, that lines up one Rosamond Business Handler after another, and rags on her ass. While her ashes still float out to sea, Art Attorney, Daniel I. Simon tells the world how difficult it was to get Christine to produce more women with BIG EYES, and meet her financial obligations. Instead, she turns on all ‘Her Caretakers’ in a savage manner.
I refrain from ragging on my sister, unless I have something redeeming to say. With my last post, I have met my obligation – and fulfilled my own expectations! Here are Rosamond’s last words to me, uttered in 1991.
“I demand you tell me where you live because I am going to have you killed!”
After the failure of Tom’s piece of trash, ‘The Caretaker’ hires to really trash my life – and Christines! But, ‘The Rosamond Handlers’ did not go far enough, or, do their job! If only Sydney Morris had left more detailed instuctions on how to make a Killer Movie & Book.
“The way I see it, is, we got to throw the business folks under the bus – and the attorneys should be made to walk the gang plank. As for Garth, he should be buried in a ant hill and smothered with honey!”
As for the other Male Presco, Mentor Jon Gregory, we got to cut him in on the action – before we demonize him any further. Not that he will ever own any power to hurt us, but, he can make money for the estate, and get Larry Chazen off our back. How about we have Rosmond and Jon engage in a knife-fight in front of the Rosamond Gallerry – if the price is right?”
“You were always jealous of my art!”
“Shut your lying mouth, bitch, or I slash your other cheek!”
The screenwriter and producers of ‘Big Eyes’ go it right. You put the WOMAN ARTIST on a pedestal, and butcher everyone around her. But, THEY just couldn’t do it. Just couldn’t make themselves LOOK BAD – for the money! Instead, they disappear Rosamond’s autobiography, and put shiny armor on THE EX as he stomps Christine into the ground!
Walt Disney turned over in his grave! This is not the formula for a successful and magical movie about Rosamond ‘The Lover of Big Eyed Unicorns’ and her Dark Brother – which can not be Dark Mark! What I am saying, is, When You Close Your Big Eyes – Bitch, is PROOF the business folks and attorneys, were, and are – INEPT!
“Do you think Jon will forsake his principles and agree to be the villain for $800 dollars? How about a thousand bucks?”
“I don’t want my brother in on this deal. He’s a BUM! He’s been a BUM all his life. My life’s work is to prove this!”
You SEE………….it’s not too late to do this story up right!
“What do you mean he’s the new Walt Disney? He told you that? He’s a BUM – and insane! His dumb daughter – agrees! He must FAIL – at all costs!”
For a week I have been considering abandoning this Rosy Genealogical Quest, and finish my Theological Books. This morning I found my Dreamboat! As fate would have it, she is the richest woman in the world. She’s got 47 billion dollars. We share the same interests. If we could ever be united in our cause, we would be way more than best friends and lovers! We would be Fantastic Fellow Fanatics who are absorbed in the study of the Bible and Genealogies. She would gladly get on board my ROSAMOND STUDY, and even bankroll my Atlantis in Larkspur Dream. but, she would fall victim to the Ancient Curse of the Greek Gods……….
“Don’t give that bastard any money! Keep him away from money!”
“Are you going to come see me so we can work on Jesus ‘The Moabite’ some more?”
“Sure! But, I don’t have plane fare. I think I can sell my food stamps on the black market!”
“How long will that take?”
“About a week.”
“You know, let’s not do this. It is obvious you do not care about me and MY study!”
I talked to my friend Chris in New York last night. She said it is too bad I can not earn money as a genealogist – like Dan Brown? She told me she had physically fought off another woman at the art gallery, who tried to hug her man, Stefan Eins. I am doing their portrait, and want to write a book about their relationship, that is similar to the Keane’s. I suggested Chris come out of the closet, and become an artist herself, so she can have Art Power of her own! She and my sister had the same lover.
Stefan suggest ETs (with big eyes) leave messages in sidewalk cracks. I am going to research how many sidewalks are in Margaret Keane’s work. Did she have a close encounter?
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers has shunned the glittering social life that her late mother, Liliane Bettencourt, once embraced. Bettencourt Meyers is known for playing piano for several hours a day and has written two books — a five-volume study of the Bible and a genealogy of the Greek gods.
“She really lives inside her own cocoon,” said Tom Sancton, author of “The Bettencourt Affair,” who noted that even when she was a little girl she appeared uncomfortable in the world of rich people. “She lives mainly with the confines of her own family.”
On December 26, 2014 at 4:45, I entered the Cinimark Theatre in Springfield Oregon, and started filming the most pivotal two hours of my life. Unfortunately, I did not fully hit the record button, and I missed the shot of a life time, when at the ticket window filming the purchase of my ticket to creative freedom, a large Store Marshal says;
“You can’t film in the mall without permission.”
Let me begin this review by thanking Margaret Keane for alas confessing. If she had not told the truth, the movie Big Eyes would not have been made, and, my new therapist would be seeing a shattered and angry old man come next Wendsday. Now, when I walk into her office she will be seeing a jovial and robust Santa look-alike, I full of good cheer, and goodwill for all living things, because – I’M FUCKING FREE OF THE LONG NIGHTMARE!
When Big Eyes ended I knew I owned what I longed for, a point of reference, and credibility. Alas, I will be believed when I tell my story about being crushed by the insane success of a highly commercialized woman artist who turned our family against me because I had accidentally come upon the secret of her success when I went in search of the bathroom, and opened a closet door. To see people close to Margaret about to open the door to her studio, and own the truth, gave me chills. I knew from my own personal experience that there was a monster on the other side, that could kill you. In my last conversation with late sister, the world famous artist, known as Rosamomd, she said;
“You were always jealous of my art!” Christine lied.
“What art? You cheated! You took………………..”
I had had it, the evil bio without end had attacked my art, directly, and I let her have it, the truth, what we knew was – THE TRUTH! Here is what I got for my effort;
“I demand you tell me where you live because I am going to have you killed!”
Walter Keane threatens to have his wife “whacked” if she reveals their secret. Was this threat made in REAL LIFE? What real life? Because I am a educated artist who has gone through what the Keanes went through, I know Margaret is not the complete victim. She understood a female artist was a treat to a male dominated art world, thus she allowed her promoter to alter he true identity. Christine had asked me to be her manager months after her overnight success, but, she did not tell me how much of identity crisis she was having. Being on a Spiritual Path, I could not see myself as a business manager helping sell Pure Illusion. When Christine asked Vic to be her manager, I almost changed my mind.
I just talked to Marilyn and she told me she read an article on Susan Keane, Walter’s daughter. She reveal’s Margaret’s secret.
“My father was an avid photographer, using a cutting edge Hasselblad. A very large opaque projector was purchased for Margaret, set up in a dark room adjoined to the sunny painting studio. With this tool, a highly detailed image could be projected on canvas from a photograph. A skilled illustrator, Margaret was able to trace a portrait in 15 minutes. This projection method has frequently been utilised in art forgery, as it facilitates replication of fine brush strokes.”
What I found in that closet was a large projector. I looked up and saw Christine down the hall, looking very guilty. In five minutes she made me an offer that I will reveal in my book. When Christine saw my painting of Rena, she took up art. Rena’s sisters were fashion models, as was Marilyn. I have never read in Art History, where one artist threated to have another artists killed because he knows – THE SECRET!
This morning, I am sitting in the catbird seat. I can now challenge anyone who has cast aspersion on my character and my motives. I want to know the truth about the Special Executor, Sydney Morris, who gave his legal permission for Stacey Pierrot to author the worst biography of an artist ever written. It was a major flop! Morris then gives Pierrot permission to make a movie about her late employer via another ghost writer. The director Ronald Schwary bought the movie option for this eyeful of big lies. Has Ronald taken that script out of trashcan, dusted it off, and is now looking to produce the answer to Big Eyes? I know I got the better motion picture with ‘Capturing Beauty With Big Lies’.
I begged Morris not to let outsiders own our creative legacy for the reason we all suffered from alcoholism, and only Christine and I got sober. I told Morris that Christine died on her first sober birthday, and members of our family will need our sober story for generations to come. My daughter had yet to come into my life. When she did, the real evil nightmare began, for unbeknownst to me her manager was her aunt Linda Comstock, who was married to a seventy-five year old attorney who was a lush with a lot of Republican friends. Heather proudly describes her aunt as a “Gold Digger”.
Her aunt gave her lessons on how to look down on me, and go around me to get to the Money People. Linda and her husband depicted me as the enemy, the locked box that had to be cracked, because their surrogate child deserves the fame and fortune produced in my family, for I am a mentally ill parasite who will never get his deluded autobiography published, for who would believe all that insane crap happened? They tried to trick me into getting a blood test. That my daughter anointed Flip, a skid-row drunk, to be her champion against The Bad Dad, utterly destroys my relationship with my daughter and grandson – and all the pretentions of the pretenders who were allowed to feast off the dead!
This shit should have been over the day Christine drowned. The executor allowed more imposters in the door, and more Art Fraud, to take place. That there exist an old Iranian Man doing Rosamond knock-offs, then signing these fakes, Sarah Moon, marries my late sister and I to the Keane story.
I just talked to Marilyn who told me about the time she took several of my paintings to the Ira Roberts gallery. Ira Cohen wanted my landscapes. Marilyn is My Witness, that may one day take the witness stand – and tell the truth as to who was the real artist in the family.
Before the lights came back on I had a vision of the Price List Garth Benton sent to past customers of Rosamond’s images of beautiful women. Aunt Lillian was shocked at this Dead Artist Sale brochure. The probate had not begun. A new executor had to be appointed after Vicki and Jacci Belford dropped out and nominate Garth, who had just gone through a terrible divorce from Rosamond, who took out a restraining order. I am put in the dark, and so is my niece, Shannon, who a couple of years later has trouble convincing Jack Keller she is Rosamond’s daughter. Jack sends me an e-mail asking me if I know my niece. Meanwhile, there is Pierrot, strutting around the Rosamond gallery in Carmel, she invited to be a member of several civic foundations, after giving herself the title of “Caretaker” of our creative family legacy. In some respects she is another Stage Mother, doing what is best for my nine year old niece. Here is a list of Stage Mother who employed our children in order to look good. Not one of them CAN PAINT!
After last night, it’s all good for me. I might contact that T.V. show ‘Extra’ and see it they want to compare Big Lies to Big Eyes. I now own a Immunity Card. I can’t be kicked off Rosamond Island. All my distracters and attackers, are good to go, good to be in my movie! Belle and her savage girl gang! My muse calling the sheriff on me. Rena, you are a real Star!
My kin, Reese Witherspoon almost got the role of Margaret. She is in the movie ‘Inherent Vice’ written by my ex-wife’s ex-husband who is a Jazz freak. Pynchon has slipped in references to famous Jazz artists in his writing. The scene that drops you in the basement of groovy-things, past, to listen to Cal Jader, is one of the best scenes in the movie. My uncle, who owned Sam’s in Tiberon, and Crushon’s in Berkeley, was a good friend of the Keane family, and had them over for dinner.
Another amazing parallel. Lana Del Rey does several songs for Big Eyes. She looks like a fashion model – a Rosamond Woman! Here is Rena and her sisters.
Marilyn and her sister, Shanah, may go to see Big Eyes tonight. Shanah was married to Jazz Drummer, Ron Jeffers, and co-wrote ‘Fela, This Bitch of a Life’ that was made into a off-Broadway play. When Marilyn was fifteen her older sister would take her to see Jazz Greats in Watts.
Here is my recorded review of Big Eyes”
Have you ever emerged from a movie, and, your mind is blown? No one has ever captured that common state of mind, that movie makers worked hard to achieve. So, for the first time in movie-making history, I present the man with a blown mind!
A week after my sister, Christine Rosamond, drowned, my mother, Rosemary, told me there was talk of a movie being made about Christine Rosamond and her family. A week later, my sister, Vicki Presco, showed me the two hundred and eighty page autobiography Christine had authored. It began with a fight we had over the last of the milk when we were children. Christine’s first sentence proclaims how my family and our mutual friends thought I would be a famous artist some day, but, it was not to be. What happened to the rough draft of this biography, written in the hand of a world famous artist, is a mystery. When alas we had a Executor, I wrote Sydney Morris and told him about this autobiography, claiming it was a part of the estate Christie Rosamond left her two daughters, and thus the movie, Stacey Pierrot, had in the works, belonged to the estate of Christine Rosamond because this movie would be based upon Rosamond’s autobiography.
This was not to be! When alas the biography Pierrot’s hired ghost writer authored came out, Tom Snyder, claims there exist very few papers written by Christine, and what papers he read, were the ideations of a woman who was not well when she wrote them. Surely Stacey Pierrot read these writings of a world famous artist before she handed them over to Snyder to read. Too bad they did not appear in Snyder’s terrible book so we could read just how mentally ill my late sister was. After all, Van Gough was mentally ill, and we read his wonderful letters to his brother.
I have to conclude that Stacey Pierrot did not want to share proceeds from her movie with my two nieces. This appears to be the case of Pierrot’s good friend, Jacci Belford, who was the gallery manager, and No.2 named executor after Vicki Presco. Both Vicki and Jacci refused to serve, and did not respect Christine Rosamond’s last wishes. Vicki was very busy, and knew little about the Art World. However, Jacci Belford, did. She claimed she was Christine’s best friend, and Pierrot’s best friend, who she brought into the gallery. Three weeks after their boss was dead, I have a conversation on the phone with Ms. Belford. She informs me she has made an offer to pay off all the creditors, and then purchase Rosamond’s Artistic Legacy. Belford tells me “Shannon will destroy the estate.” She then says;
“I’m glad Vic is not going to get his prints back.”
Jacci Belford is talking about the four images that were produced by the Family Partnerhsip, Rosamond Publications, in 1986. Maggie was one of these paintings that had a face value of $3,600,000 dollars. We see Maggie peeking from behind another Rosamond at the Rosamond Gallery in Carmel. This is curious, because Stacey Pierrot Simons told me she had nothing to do with these four images in an e-mail. She and her ghost writer wanted me to contribute to the first biography. I said I was considering it, but, must first know what happened to my father’s prints. Here is another lie made by Stacey Pierrot so she can make a million bucks off a movie.
From: Stacey :Jon Presco , vpresco@i…Subject:
Re: Rosamond BiographyDate: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 23:21:49 -0800
Dear John, I am delighted to hear from you and to know that you are willing to
participate in this project! In response to your concern with the 1988 American
Express editions that your dad and Vicki invested in, please know that neither
Rosamond Publishing nor I have any legal interest in the ownership of those
prints. I acknowledge that your father willed some or all of his interest in
those editions to you. Therefore, neither Christine’s estate nor Rosamond
Publishing has any legal ownership to the prints owned by you. Just so you know,
Rosamond Publishing deals primarily with the publishing, marketing and sale of
new editions; new imagery. This agreement between you, Vicki and Christine’s
estate in no way involves Rosamond Publishing. If any part of this is unclear,
please let me know. I would be very happy to discuss anything you have questions
or concerns with anytime. We are eager to move forward with the project and so
happy you will be part of it.
Thanks again John,
Stacey (end of e-mail)
I never received these prints. A year ago another book comes out about Christine Rosamond written by Julie Lynch. Lynch claims Rosemary forbid Christine to draw at home lest she steal my spotlight as ‘Family Artist’. This is to say, Rosemary suppressed Christine’s talent because of me. If not for the gifts I exhibited at a very young age, then there would exist Rosamond’s childhood drawings – that would prove I was not Christine’s teacher when she took up art for the first time when she was twenty four. Christine gave me full credit for her success. but, this would not look good in Stacey Pierrot Simon’s movie – that was not based upon Rosamond’s autobiography.
What we get instead, are the ancient memories of Christine’s kindergarten teacher who somehow was found, and testifies about what a genius Rosamond was at the age of five. The name of this teacher is not divulged. She has to be in her late 80’s. If she was forty when she taught Christine, she would be 99 years old! I wonder if she was my teacher, also. She would surely remember my artwork, too. I wonder why Rosemary did not save my early work, being I was the apple of her eye, she having some sick design on me, she not able to bright herself to be the Proud Mother of two gifted children!
This is insanity! This carp is an egregious lie! I called up Stacey Pierrot and gave her three days to remove this machination deigned to suppress and destroy my art and artistic reputation, as well say my biography so it can be a movie someday, wherein I am not painted as the Villian.
A week ago I asked my childhood friend, Marilyn Reed, to manage my families Artistic Legacy – for the sake of family members – and not the parasites who attached themselves to my family the very day Christine Rosamond drowned.
Above is a photograph of Marilyn at my wedding reception. That is Shannon and Christine Rosamond next to Marilyn – who can and will testify to the truth Christine never painted or drew. Marilyn will employ her own words to describe the day Rosemary beat her up, after telling her; “you’re taking my son from me!” She was sixteen. She was my first girlfriend.
My mother claimed I got all my talent from her. I was all alone in my creative struggle to keep this parasitic monster from consuming me, the same way Stacey Pierrot consumes all the Gifted Children in my family. I left a message on Stacey’s phone telling her to leave my family alone – or I will hire an attorney!
Here is the list of surviving artists in the family;
I married Maryanne Thoraldsen who majored in architecture at Cornell where she became god friends of Thomas Pynchon and Richard Farina, who married Joan Baez’s sister, Mimi. Maryanned became an artist, and did a lifsizeportrait of Mimi. My fried Brya McLean sang at my wedding, he a member of the famous rock group, Love. Bryan dated Liza Manilla in Junior High.
Above is a photo fo two of Christie’s lovers crosing a bridge. Tim O’Conner is the son of the famous actor of the dame name. Keith Purvis is next to him, and never stopped loving Christine.
The other photos are of Gloria Ehlers who majored in art at the University of Wisconsin, and Karen Holly, who was also an artist. Bryan and his mother were artists. Here is a list of Christine’s peers and lovers that do not appear in any of Pierrot’s authored lies! Here are people who loved the two Gifted Children -and their works of art!
Above is a photo taken of family members at the Rosamond Gallery in May of 94 – tow months after Christine drowned! But for Shannon Rosamond, none of these are artists. I was not invited to the Grand Reopening.
Stacey Pierrot no longer owns the Copyright to the Rosamond prints. Alas, the two Heirs own them – twenty one years later! This is why Parasite Pierrot is desperate to sell he movie. She lothes being out of OUR limelight!
Get a life – freak!
Below are words that appear on Keller’s webpage, he a devoted fan of Rosamond before her death.
Rest in peace, Dear Sister!
On April 4th, 1997, I requested a biography to use on my web site from Rosamond’s former husband. He sent me a single-sided sheet of paper containing a bio, which I modified and displayed on this web site to over 117,000 viewers until I was contacted by Rosamond Publishing on March 1st, 2000 and asked to remove it and all images of the artist and her work. I have done so, but sincerely do not believe Christine would have acted in the same manner as they were displayed to show the public the genius of the artist. So, if you want to see what she or her work looks like, you have to contact the people who just may be more interested in the copyrights they control than the legacy of the late artist. You can contact them at:
Represents the works of world-renowned artist Christine Rosamond, including original paintings, limited edition serigraphs and etchings. Her negative use of space has become her signature, inviting the viewer to participate in the painting by requiring his own completion of the image.
Although her work is represented in more than 40 galleries across the country, it is here, in the Carmel gallery, that each new release is unveiled before distribution.
They don’t just sell a few portraits of “big-eyed waifs”; the paintings become a national sensation. Despite the work being derided by serious art critics as kitsch, Walter, with the aid of a columnist pal (Danny Huston), gets it seen and admired by movie stars. He goes on television. The masses who can’t afford a painting are soon buying cheaply produced posters. Even Andy Warhol approves. Meanwhile, trapped in a darkened studio in their new googie-style mansion, Margaret slaves away creating more “Keanes”.
There’s something a tonal challenge at the heart of Big Eyes, the biopic of Margaret and Walter Keane. Penned by the Ed Wood team of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski,
What on earth could have drawn Tim Burton to Big Eyes, the story of an artist who’s trapped in a cycle of cranking out the same old crowd-pleasing kitsch for profit? Intentionally or otherwise, the latest of Burton’s regrettably rare personal films might be his most personal yet.
So it was with Margaret Keane, a San Francisco-based artist whose portraits of children with shimmering, saucer-sized eyes became a money-spinning sensation. Keane’s ambitions ran further than spending 16 hours a day painting waifs in a shuttered studio, but for eight years, her confidence-trickster husband Walter browbeat her into churning out this popular, highly profitable work.
Celebrities snapped up the originals, while the general public covered their walls with posters and prints. The name Keane became famous – except it was Walter, not Margaret, who sponged up the acclaim. While Margaret toiled thanklessly indoors, her husband was in the spotlight, taking full credit for her art.
Perhaps the bluntness of Big Eyes’ dramatics can be partly excused by the heightened nature of the story, but that doesn’t come close to explaining Christoph Waltz, who goes frantically overboard in the role of Walter, giving the kind of performance not normally seen outside of a Nineties Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy
Margaret finds a stable provider in Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), a real-estate man and “Sunday painter” of dull street scenes. What he lacks in artistic spark he more than makes up for in loquaciousness and hucksterism. He can’t get his or Margaret’s work exhibited in art galleries, so he works out a deal to get the paintings shown in the Hungry I jazz club. When Walter argues with the club owner (Jon Polito), he is fortunate enough to do so while the press is watching. Amid the confusion, the paintings start selling and the next thing you know, Walter is taking credit for Margaret’s work.
In the performing arts, a stage mother is the mother of a child actor. The mother will often drive her child to auditions, make sure he or she is on the set on time, etc. The term stage mother sometimes[when?] has a negative connotation, suggesting that the individual is prone to obnoxiously demanding special treatment for her child, or suggesting that the individual has placed inappropriate pressure on her child to succeed. Some[who?] believe that a “stage mom” is vicariously living out her own dreams through her child.
A stage mother may also be the official manager of her child (e.g., Rose Thompson Hovick, Dina Lohan, Ethel Gumm, Teri Shields, Susan Duff, etc.) — representing her child in negotiations for the professional services of her child. Such managers have often been referred to as “momagers” in the film industry.
A variant of the term has been a “script mother”, or a woman writer who sees her children as a means for writing books or screenplays based on humiliating events in the child’s life, to the detriment of the child, or exaggerating a child’s personal problems. Script mothers can be writers, comediennes or cartoonists.
Rosamond, a self-taught artist, exhibited her first two paintings in Los Angeles in 1972. Within six months she would achieve national acclaim. By the time I discovered her, she had become the most published artist in the world, surpassing even Norman Rockwell and Salvadore Dali. And yet, her name is not nearly as well-known as many of the artists she has surpassed in print.
I clearly recall the first time I ever spoke to her. I had just returned to San Francisco after visiting her gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea. I had been there to try to obtain a specific form of a piece I had once owned but lost through a divorce, but Christine had been at a City Council meeting. At the time, I owned the second largest collection of her artist proofs in the world. My phone rang, I answered, “Hello, this is Jack,” and this very vibrant and cheerful voice said, “Jack, this is Christine Rosamond.” I said, “You’ve just made my day.” She said, “Thank you. I understand you want an artist proof of Tristess.” I said yes and she said, “I want you to have it.” It arrived by mail four days later.
I talked to her three more times, but met her only once–in Carmel, just before I moved to Texas. Less than a decade after I first spoke to her, on March 26, 1994 the world lost this very talented and treasured artist on the Pacific’s rocky coast. My friend and former wife, Michele, called from half-way across the country the next morning to tell me Christine had drowned while swimming off Carmel with her daughter. I was too stunned for words. My soul cried at the realization I would never see or talk to this wonderful woman again. The world, indeed, had lost a gem.
You can read her verbose press release below, but the gist of it is, she says, unlike the way it’s portrayed in the film, her father was the “ideas man” behind the paintings, who came up with the concept before he’d even met Margaret, even if Margaret did do the bulk of the actual painting. Of course, the most damning evidence against Walter, that he pleaded a shoulder injury during a court case when a judge asked both Keanes to paint a Big Eye to settle the case, is corroborated by news accounts.
1947, I am Susan Keane, daughter of Barbara and Walter Keane.
Following the traumatic death of my brother Stanley, and a highly successful joint venture in real estate, throughout the late 40s and early 50s, my parents and I lived in post WW2 Europe, while maintaining a home in Berkeley, California, designed by Julia Morgan, built in 1906.
During that time, my mother, in pursuit of a PhD, studied cooking at Le Cordon Bleu, fashion design with couturiers including Edwar Sene, and Universität Heidelberg, while my father studied painting at École des Beaux-Arts and L’Académie de la Grand Chaumière in Paris.
Initially speaking an amalgamation of 5 languages, I learned to draw and paint alongside my father from an early age.
During 1949, in the ballroom of our Berkeley mansion “Elmwood House”, I watched my parents create, “Susie Keane’s Puppeteens”, “big eyed” wooden puppets, hand painted by Walter, with clothing designed and sewn by Barbara. Adorned in an ornately illustrated box, accompanied by a book and language record set, these sold in San Francisco, New York and London, at high end department and toy stores including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, I Magnin and FAO Schwartz, as seen in this 1951 edition of UK’s House & Garden magazine.
In 1950 my mother Barbara became department head of dress design at UC Berkeley, while Walter painted full time. I observed my father’s friendship with Berkeley painter Robert Watson to be a profound influence on both my own and Walter’s evolving style, as he shifted his early focus from street scenes and nudes, to ominous ethereal imagery of exaggerated perspective.
After my parents filed for divorce in 1953, my father and I met Peggy (Margaret Doris Hawkins Ulbrich), during an exhibition of Walter’s paintings.
At that time, Mrs Ulbrich, a former New York baby furniture factory worker, made her living painting names on neckties, in cooperation with her husband Frank, supplemented by quick realistic portrait sketches of passers by at street fairs. None of her work to date had “big eyes”.
Soon, Mrs Ulbrich moved in with my father, and he took her on as his “Eliza Doolittle” and artistic apprentice.
Later, Mrs Ulbrich filed for a divorce from her husband Frank, and swiftly married my father in 1955. Her daughter Jane moved in, and she and Margaret learned to paint under my father’s tutelage. I witnessed the evolution of their artistic process.
Walter encouraged Margaret to develop a style beyond realism, educating and immersing her in the works of old masters for inspiration. She was a slim brunette, wearing a blonde wig. Her initial art consisted of idealized self portraits of slender ladies exclusively featuring small almond shaped eyes, like her own.
My father would often impart to us, his vast knowledge of color, perspective, texture, artistic techniques, art history, etc, repeatedly impressing upon us, the vital impact of “the eyes”. His guidance made a strong impression on me as my own work evolved.
My father was an avid photographer, using a cutting edge Hasselblad. A very large opaque projector was purchased for Margaret, set up in a dark room adjoined to the sunny painting studio. With this tool, a highly detailed image could be projected on canvas from a photograph. A skilled illustrator, Margaret was able to trace a portrait in 15 minutes. This projection method has frequently been utilised in art forgery, as it facilitates replication of fine brush strokes.
Though her initial paintings were primitive, Margaret demonstrated a remarkable aptitude for mimicry, and quickly learned to paint with exceptional precision.
While her execution was flawless, Margaret never showed any aptitude for originality, and her main body of work consisted of Modigliani pastiches blended with other borrowed influences, supplemented by a series of commissioned photorealistic portraits.
My father, beginning with his established bar scene series, occasionally engaged her new found skills to assist him on paintings entirely of his own concept, design and creative authorship. He openly publicised her contributions to his works, proudly promoting her name. Their artist/assistant relationship was never a secret during the years they worked together, their early collaborative works signed “Margaret and Walter KEANE” and MW KEANE, with independent works signed W KEANE and KEANE, M Keane and MDH Keane.
Margaret used very soft sable brushes, along with a sable fan brush to blend her colours. This results in a very thin layer of paint (no texture) which takes only few days to dry. From early on, it was disclosed to the press that Margaret added supplementary brush strokes to the figures of some of Walter’s paintings.
Over time, she adopted his “big eye” motif, gradually incorporating it into her own Modigliani-style work.
As a professional fine oil painter, intimately familiar with the historic body of work for both artists, and a first hand witness to the creation and evolution of these works, I am uniquely qualified to offer an artistic analysis of the autonomous and collaborative elements of the works of Margaret McGuire and Walter Keane. I also had the opportunity to examine Walter’s work in great detail while performing an archival restoration of “Alone” in the late 80s.
Much of Walter’s work predominantly features rough textured brush strokes and imperfections, often using a palette knife, a conscious and deliberate use of contrasting cool and warm colour scheme, exaggerated perspective that stretches on to infinity, sparse asymmetrical balanced composition with clean silhouettes emphasizing negative space, the background frames the subject and draws the viewer’s eye using leading lines, use of strong shadow and highlight.
Margaret’s work features smooth blended precision brush strokes, a rainbow of primary colors, flat two dimensional backgrounds, crowded symmetrical composition, the subjects are homogenous with the background, the dense background interrupts competes and merges with the overlapping subjects, monotone lighting, understated or void of shadows.
Walter’s work is also structurally and stylistically distinct from Margaret’s later homages attempting to approximate his art.
More importantly however, it is vital to mention that Walter was not a violent man, nor a bully. If anything, he was the most joyful and gentle person I’ve known. Margaret’s depiction of death threats, discord and abuse are entirely fictitious. Though, I have no doubt my father’s philandering was a high price for her to pay for fame and affluence.
Towards the end of Walter and Margaret’s marriage, my father met Joan on a United Airlines flight to New York.
Upon learning of his courtship, a woman scorned, Margaret promptly moved to Hawaii in 1964 with married father of 10, publicist/reporter Dan McGuire. The next year, 1965, Walter and Margaret divorced. Following Dan’s divorce, Margaret remarried in 1966.
In 1969 Walter married Joan. I had been exceptionally close to my father up to that point. I heard little from him thereafter. Their daughter Chantal was born in 1970, followed by the birth of their son Sascha in 1973. My heartbreak over this abrupt transition led to our estrangement, which lasted the majority of his remaining years. I can only imagine Margaret’s false claims stem from a similar bitter heartbreak, financial distress, or both.
Regardless of their personal differences, compelling each to later discredit the other, Walter, was indeed the one to initially conceive and create “big eye” art, long before he met Margaret. First and foremost, he was an ideas man. From his crude beginnings, Margaret’s blossoming technical skills contributed to an evolved quality that celebrated his vision, and together they manifested a result which commercially exceeded a level of success greater than what either artist was able to achieve on their own, before or since.
Though uncelebrated, Walter had a diverse body of work that expanded well beyond the confines of his “waif” theme.
I don’t doubt the film took some liberties, and in fact it does seem almost comically one-sided. But it’s hard for me to get past the fact that Walter couldn’t paint a big eye, or even attempt one when asked, if he had indeed been the first to “conceive and create” big eye art. Also, I tend to be inherently mistrustful of anyone who tells me the name of the architect of her childhood home and how many languages she speaks apropos of nothing, but that’s just me.