Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Example of a Norval Morrisseau's painting alleged to be fake... (Part I)


/Click on image to Enlarge/
... was posted for sale at EMPIRE AUCTIONS in Montreal a few years ago. I had called them to say that they were selling a fake Norval Morrisseau painting and they told me that they had received the painting from a "reliable source". In this example there is no flow and composition. It does not have the "power" of an authentic Norval Morrisseau painting. Also, the signature in Cree syllabics is writen incorrectly with the fifth syllabic in the shape of a number six (click on the image above to see detail of this discrepency). Shortly after that I have never seen Empire Auctions sell Norval Morrisseau paintings again. Although there are some fake Norval Morrisseau's paintings in the market, but their numbers are insignificant. There is no reason for concern.
* The painting in this posting is not believed to be an authentic work of Norval Morrisseau by the Blog Master


Michael said...

I don't normally respond on blogs, however, this particular pair of paintings was brought to EMPIRE AUCTIONS by Eugene Morrisseau, son of Norval Morrisseau, who insisted, that although he did indeed help with the painting and the unusual detailing, these works are the inspiration, design and hand-work of Norval Morrisseau, circa 2001. Eugene said that he also signed the painting (with the backwards character), and said that Norval has been unable to sign his name for years.

As well, for the record, Gabe Vadas, and his lawyer, Aaron Milrod, sat in my office and told me directly that they have been monitoring our website and the Morrisseau paintings we have offered, and that they have never had a problem with any of them. EMPIRE AUCTIONS has never received any notification nor communication from Gabe Vadas nor Aaron Milrad that EMPIRE AUCTIONS has handled any non-genuine paintings.

I was not present when any Norval Morrisseau art was painted, but David Morrisseau, Norval's eldest son, was. He has seen his father paint hundreds of paintings and understands the painting techniques, colours, meanings and mythology of the painting subjects better that anyone else in the world. In the past, we have relied on his opinions. I also believe that Christian Morrisseau, David's brother, is also reliable as an expert on Norval Morrisseau paintings.

Regardless, all Canadian paintings sold by EMPIRE AUCTIONS are guaranteed genuine.

Anonymous said...

let me get this right.If Eugene Morrisseau signs the painting, it is still an authentic Norval Morrisseau painting. Or not? Please clarify

Anonymous said...

apparently empire auctions had sold morrisseau paintings for don robinson in 2001 and/or 2002 which you believed came from kahn auction. As the record shows that d. robinson bought 28 canvases of morrisseau's work from kahn auctions and did not return any of them,this sounds reasonable. Is it fair to say that kahn auctions sold legitimate mossisseau's

Anonymous said...

In my opinion "I don't care who signed the painting really,but who painted it is more IMPORTANT?"
Even Salvador Dali had a helper folks.All the Great Masters did.
In my opinion Norval Morrisseau was and had been 99.7% responsible for all his works from start to finish.The man was a Human dynamo and probably will go into the Guiness Book of World Records for being the most prolific painter the world has ever known!Genius

morrman said...

If you recall that Dali's work was also caught up in the authentication game.Apparently there were thousands of fakes in circulation. This was the downfall of both Gallery Hawaii and Gallery Alberta in the early 80's. These pieces were ltd. editions not originals. Here we are talking about "original" works.

Anonymous said...

I have never publicly revealed the identity of any art gallery that has sold paintings in my auction, nor speculated from where they acquired paintings.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I posted as annonymous; I forgot my password. Michael

Spirit Walker said...

Hi Michael,

would you like to see another painting alleged to be fake that was posted on Empire Auctions from Montreal?

This one, like the other one in this posting, is definitely, in my opininon of course, painting not painted by Norval Morrisseau.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for Michael of Empire Auctions and it applies the use of logic.Sir..if Eugene Morrisseau is admitting to you that his father Norval Morrisseau "has been unable to sign his name for years" and that he did this himself then how was it possible for Norval Morrisseau to even contemplate starting and finishing this piece if he can't sign his name?????
This painting by itself would require a steady hand and has been brilliantly executed.In my opinion I feel strongly that it's pedigree is questionable.

Quotation from comment by Michael Empire auctions:

"Eugene said that he also signed the painting (with the backwards character), and said that Norval has been unable to sign his name for years."

Anonymous said...

Our exposure to paintings from Eugene Morrisseau was extremely limited.


Anonymous said...

I noticed at a recent show that Norval is incapable of speaking,therefore when Mr Ross says"that Norval Morrisseau asked me to post the warning" if in fact it was Gabe Vadas that told him to do so. Also on your website you convey that the moneys received from from the sale of Norvals workgoes directly to him. I'm curious to know if it is going to Gabe Vadas? I am having a hard time with my password so this post is from MORRMAN

Anonymous said...

Let us examine this peice carefully.Look at the shape of the lips first.These lips are not in conformity with Norval Morrisseau's style of painting lips on any of his characters that I have seen.I have never seen this style of lips before on Norval's art.The second obvious sign of forgery is the black portrait outline for both characters is way too thin.It should be thicker as can be obviously found on most of his paintings.

Anonymous said...

(I have cut and paste this from a comment left on Thunder Bay 2002 as well.)

Help me understand what makes the Morrisseau shown on this site wiht Blog title Thunder Bay 2002 an original when to my untrained eye it has many of the same characteristics outlined below regarding the Empire Auction Morrisseau. Looking at this one and the date of 2002 - would you expect that assistance was provided to Norval as well?

Spirit Walker(or anyone else knowledgable) - you claim this one is authentic and the Empire Auction one is fake...help educate me, and I am asking you that honestly - why are you claiming one is fake and one is authentic?


Anonymous said...

Both Thunder Bay 2002 and Empire Auction paintings have thin black lines, unusual lips - not to mention the unusual noses!

Spirit Walker - explain to us why you are claiming THunder Bay is authentic and Empire Auction is fake when they share many of the same attributes?! Questionable?! Perhaps this one too was painted by Eugene or with the assistance of Christian or another Morrisseau clan memeber

Spirit Walker said...

As I previously commented for another posting: "I will be posting my opinions, with detailed explanations, about Norval Morrisseau painting techniques and other issues. Just, please, give me some time to prepare everything to be presentable for the format of this Blog."

Also, this is not the only thing I do and for elaborate explanation(s) can take some time but I will definitely address all the issues that need to be addressed.

Thank you for patience and understanding.

P.S. For proper internet presentation, especially for addressing sensitive issues such are these, attention needs to be paid to details that can take some time... please be patient, and I will present to you my views and opinions that, I hope, most of the visitors to "NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG" would appreciate.

Thanks again,

Spirit Walkler

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 is...you 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...

hi Thunderbear888 here,
Norval Morrisseau also painted his images with a Warm to Cold colour wheel scheme.Any violation of this warm to cold sequence in your paintings maybe cause for concern.
He did this to synchronize the colour vibration in the piece so that it would radiate a healing message to the viewer by exposing the person to the colour and it's associative chakra vibration and the result would be a MEDICINE PAINTING...you see?

Light and Color Therapy - Psychological, Biological and Spiritual effects
What is Light Therapy?
Light Therapy involves the application of light for purposes of healing and maintaining optimum health. It is a natural and noninvasive therapy without side effects and is extremely powerful in the field of prevention. Light therapy goes hand in hand with all other forms of holistic health care and can be inexpensively self-administered.
Natural light, containing the full spectrum of its component colors, including UV and infrared, is a basic human nutrient and is necessary for optimum health.
Malillumination is similar to malnutrition in that natural light, with its full spectrum of radiation, including ultraviolet and infrared radiation, is a life-sustaining element and a basic human nutrient. Exposure to natural light is necessary for overall human wellness and longevity. Light therapy treats the effects of “malillumination.”
Artificial Full-Spectrum Light
Natural daylight is a true “white” light, which contains a balance of energy throughout the entire range of the visible spectrum. Full-spectrum lighting is the most accurate reproduction of natural sunlight available.
What is Color Therapy?
Color Therapy (also called chromotherapy or chromatherapy) is the application of color in various ways for purposes of healing and maintaining optimum health. It is a natural and noninvasive therapy without side effects, and is extremely powerful in the field of prevention.
Color therapy is a holistic practice concerned with nourishing and balancing vital life energy and is complementary to all other holistic practices such as homeopathy, yoga, massage therapy, reflexology, chiropractic, acupuncture, Riki, naturopathy, and so on. Color therapy is the fastest growing spa treatment in the United States.
Understanding Color Therapy
To understand color therapy you must understand color. Color therapy is not “voodoo” or magic. Color therapy is based on the understandable scientific principles of light and color and their biological, psychological, and emotional and spiritual effects on human beings.
Selective Absorption
We are able to see individual colors because of a process called selective absorption. All substances, including the human body, selectively absorb only the energies they need from light. The energy that is not needed is reflected from the surface rather than absorbed. It is this reflected portion of light energy that we see as color.
Red is used in Color Therapy when life forces need to be stimulated or renewed. Red is a strong physical stimulant that will help restore vitality, courage and self-confidence. Red activates blood circulation and the sympathetic nervous system. It helps with problems of the sensory nerves - hearing, taste, smell, vision and touch. Red stimulates the metabolism and purification.
Chakra - Muladhara (root/support)
Location - Base of spine. (to feet)
Endocrine Association: Testicles, Ovaries. Secrete hormones that influence male and female characteristics.
Some conditions treated with/ Red light:
Acne in conjunction with Blue
PMS, menstrual and menopausal difficulties
To speed healing of skin and soft tissue after injury, surgery, etc.
Diabetic and other Neuropathy
Orange is used as a stimulant to the emotional center, to bring about a renewed sense of enthusiasm for life and to tap into a greater happiness and joy. It is also a strong creative stimulant providing an opening to inspiration and the energy to bring our visions to reality. In color therapy Orange is used for a variety of breathing and lung problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Orange has an anti-depressant and anti-lethargic effect strengthening the metabolism and promoting health.
Chakra: Swadisthana
Location: Over the spleen
Yellow is a combination of the RED & GREEN rays and therefore is both stimulating and regenerating. Yellow is very advantageous for the nerves and the brain bringing a sharpening of the mental abilities. In Color Therapy it is used for psychological problems like melancholy, depression and world-wariness. Standing for lightness and cheerfulness it enlivens and comforts. Yellow carries additional physical benefits in its effects on the nutritional organs; the liver, intestines, stomach, spleen and bladder. Purification and elimination through the liver, color and skin are promoted by the Yellow ray.
Chakra: Manipura
Location: Solar Plexus
Endocrine Association: Adrenal, Pancreas. Adrenals secrete hormones that influence metabolism, blood chemicals and body characteristics. Influences the part of the nervous system that is involved in the response and defense against stress. Pancreas secretes insulin that controls the use of glucose in the body.
Green symbolizes the harmonic cycles of nature and is the main healing color. It stands for balance, harmony, love, and growth. In color therapy it is used primarily to soothe irritation, bring balance and promote healing and growth. Green is the color of nitrogen which is the main component of our atmosphere and which is integral to the formation of bones, muscles and other tissues. Consequently a Green treatment is excellent for soothing soreness and tired muscles while promoting their regeneration. Green tends to have a very stabilizing, balancing and calming effect of the entire energy system. It is the color of energy, youth, hope, growth and love.
Chakra: Anahata
Location: Heart
Endocrine Association: Thymus - plays a role in the body’s immune system.
Blue is the purest, coolest and deepest color of the spectrum and stands for rest, relaxation, sleep, regeneration and communication. Blue decreases blood pressure and heart rate, dissolves nervousness and stress and has a very calming effect on the entire organism. It is very effective in the treatment of headaches and sleep disorders. Blue is also a highly effective color for meditation, communication, spiritual growth and high mental qualities. Blue will help bring about the expression of one’s creative power while bringing the individual to a state of peace and holistic balance.
Chakra: Visshudha
Location: Throat
Endocrine Association: Thyroid, Parathyroid. Thyroid gland produces hormones that stimulate body heat production, bone growth, and metabolism. Parathyroid gland secretes a hormone that maintains the calcium level in the blood.
Some conditions treated with the color Blue:
Anxiety & Panic
many more…..
Indigo like BLUE decreases blood pressure and heart rate, dissolves nervousness and stress and has a very calming effect on the entire organism. It is very effective in the treatment of headaches and sleep disorders/insomnia. Indigo is also a highly effective color for meditation, communication, spiritual growth and higher mental qualities. It controls the psychic energy flow of the extra subtle body through the brow charka (or third eye) and is therefore responsible for all the extra-sensory abilities such as telepathy, premonition and the like. Indigo is the opening to our unconscious selves, our intuition and our relationship to the great mysteries. On the physical, astral and spiritual planes indigo influences vision, hearing and smell. Oftentimes individuals will report their heightened sense of awareness in these areas after an indigo treatment.
Chakra: Ajna
Location: Brow
Endocrine Association: Pituitary, Hypothalamus. Spiritual, often called the Master Gland, produces a number of hormones that influence various other endocrine glands. Hypothalamus activates and controls the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary body functions, the hormonal system, and many body functions, such as regulating sleep and stimulating appetite.
Violet is used in color therapy as a powerful healing energy with strong purification properties. On the physical level it stimulates the spleen and purifies the blood. It is considered an inspiring and spiritual energy. Leonardo da Vinci wrote: The power of meditation can be increased ten times through the application of Violet light. It is excellent for getting in contact with our spiritual / higher selves and advancing ourselves on the path of enlightenment.
Chakra: Sahasrara
Location: Crown
Endocrine Association: Pineal Gland - involved with daily biological cycles.
Turquoise being composed of the Green & Blue rays carries all the calming, balancing and restorative properties associated with those two colors. Turquoise is a excellent treatment for building one’s self-confidence.
Pink is used in color therapy for treating psychological problems like melancholy, depression and world-weariness. It is helpful in these areas due to its ability to instill in the user a sense of being nurtured, loved and made secure. As such it is a powerful building block for helping individuals take those tentative first stops back to a full and healthy interaction with the world at large. Pink energy will also help put individuals in the mind set of sharing with and caring for others. It is a deeply calming and restorative treatment.

With the above understanding of colour we can use this knowledge to help us better comprehend what Norval Morrisseau had accomplished in his paintings and give us the sensitivity as potential collectors in choosing the right painting that we need in our present lives.

Kind Regards

Anonymous said...

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