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The Region : Artist to Appeal $4-Million Judgment

Walter Keane, ordered by a Honolulu federal court jury to pay his former wife $4 million for slander in a dispute over her paintings of big-eyed children and animals, says he will appeal. Keane, 70, of La Jolla, said he has no money. He maintained that he created the paintings, despite the jury’s verdict. “I was painting these children 10 years before this woman had ever heard of me,” Keane said of his former wife, Margaret Keane, 58. “She was a teen-ager when I was in Berlin painting these children.” Margaret Keane filed suit against Keane after he told USA Today in 1984 that she, believing him to be dead, was claiming to be the originator of paintings he had created. Gannett Co. Inc., publisher of USA Today, also was named in the suit, but Judge Samuel King dismissed Gannett as a defendant midway through the trial. Margaret Keane said she was grateful for the verdict, adding, “I’m glad it’s over.”


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