A pencil or charcoal mixed media portrait drawing of a young blonde, light-eyed woman, dated 1956 and signed "KEANE" at center right, 17 1/2" by 11 1/2" inside the mat, 24" by 18" as framed. The bulk of the drawing is soft pencil or charcoal but the clothing and part of the hair is a soft brown color. This is a commissioned portrait drawing of the type that MARGARET D.H. KEANE (1927-) produced in the 1950's during the earliest years of her career that has been documented as a pop culture phenomenon in the Tim Burton 2014 biopic "Big Eyes". Keane of course is credited with the founding of the so-called "Big Eye School", the art featuring doe-eyed waif children with oversized eyes. The term "Big Eye" has become part of pop culture and other artists such as Igor Pantuhoff have been associated with it. Keane was born in Nashville, Tennessee and showed early artistic ability. She had fairly minimal professional training but by the 1960's was a phenomenon, her work collected by celebrities and widely reproduced, becoming almost ubiquitous in mid century America. The biopic documents how her husband Walter Keane largely took credit for his wife's work, until she was finally unmasked as the true artist. Keane lives in the Napa Valley area and is represented by a San Francisco gallery. The gallery people viewed images of this work and confirmed that although it is not a self-portrait, as I had thought it could possibly be, it is indeed a genuine work by Keane. An excellent example of Mid Century Retro at its purest. This subject's face is the face of optimistic post-war America's suburban housewives.
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