Though talented, Margaret Keane was extremely withdrawn and shy – far from the kind of salesperson you need to be for a career as a successful artist. She was also in the habit of signing her paintings with just her last name. Her husband, an art dealer and championship-level dickbag, immediately realized the opportunity this presented. He started taking his wife’s paintings and selling them as his own, earning millions in the process. Oh, and if you dispute his professional bag o’ wangs status, there’s also the minor fact that he would lock Margaret in a room for up to 16 hours a day in order to mass produce his masterpieces. Meanwhile, Walter cavorted about in their huge house with his assorted hangers-on and generally enjoyed the whole “popular artist in the swinging 1960s” bit to the maximum.
In 1965, after 10 years of unhappy marriage and rampant career abuse, Margaret finally got a divorce. Although Walter initially managed to convince her to continue their painting arrangement, she soon had enough, and cut off Walter’s supply of malnourished children drawings. In 1970, she finally told the world that she had been behind the paintings all along, and challenged Walter to a public paint-off to prove her claims. Walter never took up the challenge, and the dispute over the paintings raged on. Margaret finally took the case to the court, where it came out that Walter had, among other things, threatened to kill her and her child. Maybe those Keane Kids looked like that because they were god damn terrified.