Miss Pym and a Friend

Miss Pym and a Friend

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Moppet Children

We didn't call them "Big Eyes" when I was little, we called them "Moppets."  I still have the paintings, prints, greeting cards, and dolls that featured the sad, big eyed children.  Other artists made them, too, I know, and some versions of these paintings featuring older children hung at Ben's, our favorite restaurant.

They were wildly popular, and Pym would have known them.  Some of her characters, the more waif-like women, resemble them.

Sunday Morning today feature the story of the Keane's, and the fact that Walter painted nothing; Margaret painted and let him take the credit.  It was the early to mid sixties, and per "The Feminine Mystique" as Betty Friedan penned it, the credit for a woman's work went to her husband.  We call it fraud today, but really, this is more common than we know.

The dolls of Bernard Ravca were allegedly made by his wife, Frances.  She made a few smaller dolls on her own, but she is also supposed to be responsible for the realistic and fantastic needle sculpted and bread-crumb dough creations. Mme. Tolstoy heavily edited Count Leo's work, as told in Edward's "Sophia."  I have to wonder how much she actually wrote.  In the 80s, a California woman took the bar for her husband.  He had threatened her and placed her under terrible duress.  She dressed as a man, beat all the security, suffered because she was in the last stages of a difficult pregnancy, took the test, then had to go to the hospital.  She passed.

I remember writing an article for a magazine I and my then "insignificant" other both wrote for.  He hadn't finished his article, and pressured me into letting him take mine and put his name on it.  That was the begininng of the end.  No money was involved, and we weren't married, so I left.

Shortly after I came back home, before Walter Keane died, My aunt ran into him in hte Bay Area.  She was buying some cards by Keane, and he told her he was the artist. He signed them for her, and she sent them to me, so I have Walter Keane's signature, and his provenance that a lie was perpetuated.

Many dolls like Lonely Lisa were created in the image of the Big Eye kids.  I always thought they took after the Googleys, Kewpies, and Campbell Kids, but Margarate Keane didn't say this.  Besides, her children are sad eyed as well, where most ofhte Googleys are happy.

Still, I love my moppets, and can't wait to see "Big Eyes," even if the artist took being an "excellent woman" to such an extreme, but we do what we must to survive.

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