Friday, November 16, 2007

National Aboriginal Achievement Awards

Norval Morrisseau-Ojibway, Red Rock Band, Nipigon, Ontario is a shaman and self taught painter who painted for almost 50 years, gaining a worldwide reputation as one of Canada’s most original Master Artists. His enormous success and achievement as an artist has motivated a whole generation of Native artists and inspired by rock petroglyphs and Midewiwin birchbark scrolls, he created what has become the Woodland or Anishnaabe School of Art. He was recognized by the Royal Canadian Academy of Art in 1970, and in 1978 became a member of the Order of Canada.

/Photo taken at an exhibition of the Art of Norval Morrisseau-Thunder Bay 2002/


Anonymous said...

First of all I would like to thank spirit walker for putting this blog out there. I think that it is about time that the public can see what dire circumstances continue to follow the great artist Norval Morrisseau.Norval has, in one way or another,been taken advantage of his entire life. The difference now is that he does not have the medical capacity to look after his own affairs so he has to trust someone that seems to put his own interests first.I realy think that the government should somehow step in and at least look at the situation. My god, the man may be the greatest canadian artist in the last century.

friends of morrisseau said...

Spirit Walker should stop promulgating falsehoods on the web. Defamatory statements are actionable and those individuals responsible for same will be held accountable. "Anonymous" might appear more credible if he stopped hiding behind a pseudonym. Anyways, we know who you are--a bitter "old man" who fabricates stories for his own betterment.

Anonymous said...

Prayer for Norval morrisseau:

Oh God,thou art my God,
early will I seek thee,
my soul longeth for thee.
My flesh thirsteth for thee in a dry and cold land.
So as I have seen thee in the Sanctuary my soul follows hard after thee,
But those that seek to destroy it shall be banished to the lower parts of the Earth.
They shall fall by the sword,
and be apportioned for Foxes.
But the KING shall rejoice in God!
Whosoever sweareth by him shall Glory!
And the mouths that speaketh lies shall be stopped.

Anonymous said...

All this finger pointing and word twisting.

To the experts - either side of the fence. Everyone talks about an authentic Morrisseau and fake Morrisseau making claims of what is and is not a Morrisseau BUT I HAVE NOT YET SEEN ANYONE LIST FOR US WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A REAL MORRISSEAU AND WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A 'FAKE' MORRISSEAU. To the experts - stop going back and forward between your two sides and lay on the table what criteria you use to determine if it is fake or not and how we can protect ourselves with knowing your knowledge. As well - only site I have seen directly talking about how to detect a fake is goldiproductions website (or something like that) - but who is behind writing this information listed on the site and what makes you an expert on the subject?

Those on this blog who are the experts....define for us how we determine if we have a true morrisseau or a 'fake' morrisseau and state who you are (your real name) and what makes you an expert in assessing Morrisseau work.

THIS INFORMATION WOULD BE GREATLY HELPFUL rather then all the back and forth between one side and the other that does not help the people like myself who will keep the Morrisseau market strong by continuing to purchase his work. At this time, my attention is unfortunately starting to move completely away from Morrisseau works and this continued activity could deflat the market if other feel as I do and find alternative artists that they feel safe purchasing works from.

Anonymous said...

I can give you some real hardcore factual information on how to tell an original Morrisseau from a fake.
First see if your painting has been painted from edge to edge and has no white border to it like a photograph would have.You will see this over the wooden stretcher as the canvas is stapled and overlapped onto the wooden stretcher.Morrisseau always painted from edge to edge of each canvas.Because back in the day he would sell his pieces by the square inch.So therefore he would recieve more money for them if they calculated to a greater square footage.Smart guy.
Look for signs of ageing on the reverse of the canvas and soiling.A painting that is 30 to 40 years old will not display a bleach white appearance to the canvas.Overtime the canvas begins to yellow or become tawny beige in colour.This is natural due to pollution in the air and oxidization.
Ask your self this question "My painting is dated 1977,but the canvas on the reverse is bleach white...looks like it was manufactured a few months ago?" If it looks too new it probably see?
I know that Morrisseau used rather dull matte paint colours for his early works in the 50's,60's and 70's. The 80's stuff was electric in colour so if your piece is dated from the 60's and 70's and has been painted with electric colours of blue,red,green,yellow and so on I would be careful about it's authenticity.There is no clear cut date for the transition from matte acrylics to electric acrylics.Early 80's pieces I have seen are still matte acrylics and not electric in hues which came at a latter date.But I have seen a few examples of pieces dated from the 1970's that are electric in colour.
Look for signs of paint application done by using your finger instead of a brush.Morrisseau was known to paint with his fingers and so the paint is applied with this tell tale characteristic.What artist likes to clean brushes all the time? When it's so easy to dip your finger in a can of paint and go to it for a different colour!
Morrisseau also used HOUSE PAINTS to work with.That would require lab testing and they would look for LEAD content in the sample for this.New paint today is manufactured without lead.The ingestion and exposre to lead has been the bane of many an artist eg.Van Gogh and is probably why Norval Morrisseau is suffering from a Nervous dis-ease like Parkinsons because of his many years of exposure to the chemicals found in the paints he used.
Forensics can also determine the year of the paint manufactured but that would cost big bucks to find out.However it would be definitive proof if your piece dated 1972 was painted with material manufactured in 1989.This would be cause for worry wouldn't you say?
If Morrisseau Titled the piece look for spelling mistakes.He was a bad speller.
Look for contamination in the paint such as bits of dirt,sand,and tobacco embedded in the acrylic paint.
Look for imperfections such as spotting of different colours not associated with the piece.
Morrisseau would stack his finished paintings one on top of the other before allowing them to dry completely and this would sometimes cause smearing and spotting onto the painting stacked below it.
When he signed his signature in English on the reverse look for his name "Norval" painted on an angle to his last name "Morrisseau" and again if he dated the piece that number too would be offset on an angle.Some paintings even have his last name written as MORRISEAU" with only one letter "S" instead of two letter S's.That's because of Jack Pollock mispelling his name back in the 1960's I believe.
Look for that characteristic copyright symbol and how he drew that with a single stroke of his paint brush with out it leaving the canvas in a clock wise manner.
When you see the signature/Title/and or Date on the reverse you will notice that Morrisseau did not dip his brush over and over to complete the signature's letters to clear perfection.He would dip his brush in his can of paint once and trail the brush to complete his name or title giving it the tell tale sign that the brush tip is running dry of paint and the letters or numbers are progressively becoming fainter towards the end of the word or his name.
We all write our caligraphy a certain way.We all write our numbers a certain way.I know how Morrisseau would paint(write) a number 8 and I know how he would paint his letters N,M and S in his name.I can't tell you how this looks unless I show a picture of what I mean.But I will say this he painted his letter N in two ways.
Look for a canvas that is NOT EVENLY cut in it's dimensions.The individual lengths of each side of the piece will be different in measurements;example one side will measure 24 inches and the opposite side will measure at 23 inches and the top and bottom will be different aswell or the same if the piece came off a roll.If your piece has already been stretched and framed this will prove difficult to prove because your framer has already compensated the irregularity in the cut piece of canvas and has compromised for the best fitting that can be achieved for that particular piece onto it's wooden stretcher he is about to make for you.Morrisseau would cut a piece of canvas off a roll and not be too particular with measuring it's accuracy to make a perfect square or rectangle.One can see this obvious sign by looking at a piece that has already been stretched and framed but due to it's irregular cutting by Morrisseau;the framer had no choice but to find a best fit by sacrificing part of Norval's image in the painting.In other words the painting's image is cut off and demonstrates imbalance and constriction you see?

I Hope this helps you folks a little bit and if I can share any other bits of knowledge about this I will let you know.

Kind Regards
eBay Vendor Thunderbear888

I hope this answers some of your questions.Now go to your painting and have a closer look knowing what you have learned.

Anonymous said...

...comments from yet another self-proclaimed 'expert' who never had any involvement with the artist.

Anonymous said...

Why do those who claim to be the experts and have all the knowledge never share what they know with the public? How can you claim what a fake is and not give reasons and examples? How come you can not share what YOU AS AN EXPERT WHO HAD INVOLVEMENT WITH THE ARTIST knows about what characteristics are a true Morrisseau. I am starting to question the legitamacy of the statements of these experts. Time to start sharing your views....

Spirit Walker said...

I am going to present all the knowledege that I have regarding tell-tale signs of authentic works of Norval Morrisseau and I do not agree that you needed to be involved with an artist in order to recognize authentic work(s) of the artist.

The time is not right for elaborate presentation especially when we have in mind that the artist in question, Norval Morrisseau, is not laid to rest yet.

Expect that in the beginning of the year I will start presenting a study of my views of how to recognize the authentic works of Norval Morisseau.


Spirit Walker

Anonymous said...

I wish to thank you SpiritWalker for this incredible and informative BLOG on Norval Morrisseau's ArtWork and his achievments throughout his fantastic life.Your BLOG has helped me and my friends in many ways with information that would be hard to come by.The posting comments by all the other people have been very useful and I can see clearly now the battle that must be fought and won.I am dissappointed with Kinsman Robinson Galleries and their ignorance and/or folly in deseminating information of any value to the unsuspecting public.I am also upset that the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society has not answered your public address to them?I am looking forward to the information which you possess about the authentication of Morrisseau's body of work.This information I am sure will become a reference point for all of us in the future to use and will become an important presence and data base for future scholars to work from in compliling their analysis as time goes by of Norval Morrisseua's art.

Anonymous said...

Let the facts speak for themselves: Kinsman Robinson Galleries provided essential financial support for Norval Morrisseau by mounting sell-out exhibition after sell-out exhibition over the last eighteen years consistent with being the artist's sole representative in Toronto.

Mysticguru said...

Wow, lots of trash talk going on here.
after spending much time reading the various posts ,a number of things come to mind.
Norval most certainly signed many works which he did not create, the answer to the questions regarding authenticity could be in part with the signature, it's style and location. (Norval was no fool)
I believe that authentic works can be found at smaller galleries and perhaps even on Ebay, but I would proceed with much caution.
I would also like to point out that in all of my time as a follower of Norval's work, I have never heard negative remarks made regarding Mr Ross or Kinsman from the legitamate art community.
It is my belief that the question regarding the ownership of the remaining body of Norval's work
(currently in Gabe's possession)will be tied up in legal wrangling for years to come.
There should be no doubt that without Gabe's assistance over the years, Norval would have passed many years ago.Is Gabe entitled to the vast body of Norval's work?
I don't think so, certainly he should be compensated for his efforts and rewarded with some of the work's, but the body of works should go to the Morrisseau family, they are the Morrisseau legacy. Although Norval chose to leave his family behind decades ago, does not mean that he didn't care for them, his thoughts were often with his children.
over the years I have seen many purchase works which they "know" are by the master, these and many other are now in a desperate battle to convince others that the works which they aquired as a "bargain" are now worth $$$$
sorry,not so.
" a painting is like a fingerprint"
To Christian, I know you monitor this blog from time to time,and I leave you with the following thoughts.
"pursue not with anger or for vengance, but with integrety and clear thought to preserve the legacy known as Morrisseau,your father was a master, and as such will remain an icon in the history of art"
it is all about family, your family.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised and appalled by all the nonsense and political crap that is going on with these Morrisseau paintings. Its sad to see what money has promoted. My experience is this. Upon purchasing 3 painting from an auction 10 years ago where a dealer in Norval Morrisseau paintings attended and purchsed many many paintings himself. I 3 or 4 years later went to have them appraised by this dealer who flat out refused to provide me with an authentication although apparently he was the only one who could. Can someone explain that to me? His painting purchased at the same place which i know he sold later on and he said or refused to authentic mine. Why? I really wonder what is going on here. Otonivik may have a very valid point.

Spirit Walker said...

Interesting comment annonymous.

If you truly care about Norval Morrisseau's Legacy please alaborate on your comment and sign your name otherwise do not waste time to this blog's master.

Only those who are not affraid to speak up about important issues regarding the legacy of the Great Copper Thunderbird are those who can truly make a difference.

Please assist us for the world to find the truth.

Sincerely, SW