Saturday, February 16, 2008

Injustice for Norval Morrisseau (Part I)

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Spirit Walker reporting:

The painting above titled "Father and Son", 30"x30" dated 1977 is an Original work of Norval Morrisseau. This image was used in connection with an article by Val Ross from the "Globe&Mail" newspaper: "Old art scam surfaces on-line; Buyers beware: Phony Norval Morrisseau paintings have been selling on eBay" that can still be be found at Steffich Fine Art Gallery at Salt Spring Island, BC. The same article was posted at Coghlan Art Gallery in Aldergrove, BC and a link was posted at Kinsman Robinson Gallery website to direct to the same article at "Globe and Mail" website.

* Before I start commenting on the above article I would like you to know that I am in no way associated with this eBay vendor that was accused of selling a fake Norval Morrissseau work of art as per article stated above.

As I stated from the beginning the NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG is a platform for the truth to be heard and to protect the Norval Morrisseau legacy. The painting above (click on image to enlarge) is an original Norval Morrisseau work of art. See image below for the inscription on the back of the painting.













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* There are several incorrect statements in the above article besides the point that we are dealing with an original Norval Morrisseau work of art:

- It is mentioned that: "Two years ago, the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society formed a six-person committee of museum and government experts to compile a list of all authentic Morrisseaus. To date, the committee has identified about 1,200 pieces -- those with proper provenance thanks to gallery exhibitions or conscientious owners. The only way any vendor of a Morrisseau can claim it is genuine is if this committee authenticates it. Feheley has advised eBay that the real ADAC only stands behind those paintings endorsed by the committee."

To date the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society have registered over 1,700 pieces. They have authenticated none of these pieces in their catalogue raisonné. Also, they recognize "that the Kinsman Robinson Gallery is a trusted dealer of Norval Morrisseau's art." I am curious about the purpose and existance of the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society if they cannot authenticate registered pieces?

- It is mentioned that Gabe Vadas has more than 1,000 samples of supposed fake Norval Morrisseau's pieces of art on file. I am informed that information he has was never disclosed to anyone. What is the point to claim that one has "fake Norval Morrisseaus" if the public cannot see the samples in order to protect ourselves from the fakes?

In my opinion the quantity of alleged forgeries that Gabe Vadas expediates is not accurate.

- Also, Gabe Vadas stated: "The fakes are a cultural catastrophe. We must keep Norval's legacy from becoming tainted."

It remains to be seen who is tainting Norval's legacy the most. The truth will be found hopefully soon...

Note: To read Val Ross' article from the "Globe&Mail" newspaper: "Old art scam surfaces on-line; Buyers beware: Phony Norval Morrisseau paintings have been selling on eBay": Click here.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thunderbear-Canadaian Art Gallery
eBay vendor-thunderbear888
To spirit walker-I am requesting that you allow me to insert an accurate and detailed commentary that I have compiled in relation to the painting which you have posted on your Blog.My commentary will include a close examination of the Globe&Mail article that was released in February 2007 in regards to my association with this piece that the newspaper had falsely condemned and how it has damaged my reputation and the legacy of Norval Morrisseau's art.
I am asking you for a platform on your Blog so that I can present my case clearly and my involvment with this painting.I will need space for text and the insertion of pictures that I have for this remarkable piece so that the public will see and judge for themselves the truth concerning the injustice that still surrounds Norval Morrisseau's artistic legacy.I will need a couple of days to prepare.Thank You

Anonymous said...

I, like many would be intrested in knowing the origins of this work and it's history. I hope TB888 will shed some light and names associated with it ,to simply state that it came from a "private" collection would be a joke and an insult to those who seek the truth.
Spirit Walker, how can you be sure this is authentic? are you aware of the origin of this work?there are countless items in circulation that are very good works, but not authentic. have you personally inspected the work? I doubt anyone could conclude a works authenticity from a picture.
please don't take my questions as an accusation of any kind, just as blunt direct questions.
bravo for the blog..

Anonymous said...

forgot to add a key piece of info in my above posting.
an appraisal has nothing to do with the authenticity of a work.it is only an opinion by someone as to the value of an item.
authentication must and can only be done by a professional, and not by an armchair critic.
these are 2 very seperate issues.

Spirit Walker said...

To "eBay vendor-thunderbear888":

I am providing you with a platform on NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG so that you can present your case clearly and your involvment with painting titled "Father and Son"...

When you are ready send me the info and I will post it for you.

Thank you for your response.

Spirit Walker said...

To "Anonymous":

The best signature of Norval Morrisseau is in the way he applies the paint - his brush strokes.

I have investigated detailed digital images of the painting in question where the brush strokes can be clearly seen. "eBay vendor-thunderbear888" will include these images as soon as he prepare the material for his presentation.

As Jack Pollock one stated that: "...Norval, with his incredible ability with the formal problems of art (colour-design-space) and his commitment to the world of his people, the great Ojibway, give one the sense of power that only genius provides... It is sufficient to say that in the history of Canadian Painting, few have, and will remain giants. Norval shall."

Speaking about authentication of Norval Morrisseau's art there is nobody in the world authorized to do such responsible task even there are many people that are qualifed to do so.

I am basing my expertise on direct observation of hundereds of original paintings by Norval Morrisseau and in my private collection I have paintings from all six decades of his career.

As you can see I am not just another armchair critic :-)

Anonymous said...

sorry, the armchair critic comment was not directed at you, I think you have demonstrated that you have a deep knowledge and intrest.
it was directed in general terms to the many who claim they are experts.

Spirit Walker said...

To "Anonymous":

Thank You For the Clarification :-)

Spirit Walker said...

To "Anonymous":

You wrote: "Spirit Walker, how can you be sure this is authentic? are you aware of the origin of this work? There are countless items in circulation that are very good works, but not authentic. have you personally inspected the work? I doubt anyone could conclude a works authenticity from a picture."

Could you please go to: http://norvalmorrisseau.blogspot.com/2008/02/justice-for-norval-morrisseau.html and "click to enlarge" on the third image for detailed observation of the artist's brush stroke technique.

Thank you,

Anonymous said...

I checked the work you refered to. again let me state that I am not an expert and could be wrong. it's the signatue I mostly have a problem with.
I have posted before that the answer to authentic Morrisseau works is in the signature. I will not disclose what part of the signature tells me it is authentic or not. as it is only my opinion.
I always suggest that anyone who owns a painting thought to be done by Morrisseau, have it registered with the NMHS. you have an 90% chance of it coming back with a positive results if it really is a Morrisseau, far better than it's current status. just my thoughts.
as time passes and the controversy rages, undocumented works will become even more suspect. my advise if anyone want's it is
get it authenticated. yes from the NMHS as this will be the only body to provide that stamp of approval
(hope it's soon) like it or not, it's what Morrisseau wanted.

Spirit Walker said...

To Anonymous,

You Wrote: "I have posted before that the answer to authentic Morrisseau works is in the signature."

Do you refer to the syllabics or signature in English? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Thunderbear-Canadaian Art Gallery
eBay vendor-thunderbear888
email:bluenova999@rogers.com

I am working on an article that will include pictures of known signatures by Norval Morrisseau on letters he wrote in ball point pen and comparing the letters and numbers to the painted signatures on the back of the canvases that he signed.
There are many peculiarities to Norval's signature and caligraphy.I can personaly spot about 14 points of interest in how he wrote his words and letters.
Anyone wishing to send me pictures of his signature can do so and I will tell you in my opinion if the signature is real or fake or if I can't I will say so.
I am most sensitive to his signatures that came out in the 60's,70's and early 80's.For these are the decades that I have had greater exposure too.
A signature is like a finger print.

Anonymous said...

A signature is like a finger print.

I'M sure I used this line my self in a previous posting, it's too bad it does not apply to the black paint smears peaople call signatures.it should only be used in a forensic type investigation on works preferably written on paper with a pen or pecil...
there are no referance points in these signatures.

Anonymous said...

there are no reference points in these signatures????? Well I think the Moniz monograph on that subject, which has been promised publication here, will most definitively clear that up for you!!!!
KHVH

Anonymous said...

We have no evidence from the words of Norval Morrisseau that he had any concerns about authenticating his paintings. We have only the hear-say put into his mouth by Gabe Vadas and Don Robinson. We do have Morrisseau's DEEDS: he quite freely signed anything if it would bring joy to others or cash to him. If we understand Morrisseau as a shaman, we can understand his disdain for authentication -- the shaman believes that reality creation is entirely subjective: we create our own reality. The man whom Morrisseau called the greatest shaman of them all taught us that if we believe a thing to be true, it will be true.
KHVH

Anonymous said...

da...no evidence except that he felt compelled to launch the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society to protect himself and his art.

Anonymous said...

The NMHS was established late in 2005 when Morrisseau was already quite ill. Was it really an expression of his desires, or of his care-givers? Was Morrisseau's interest to safeguard his personal artistic heritage, or to safeguard the shamanistic traditions of his people? His focus in life was shamanistic, not artistic, i.e.; he was a shaman who painted, not a painter who also happened to be a shaman.
KHVH

Anonymous said...

another 2 cents from the intellectual flyweight himself...

Anonymous said...

C.T. says
now now, lets play nice.
one of two things will happen to this blog.
it will not be an on the fly forum, which means spirit walker will need to screen every comment. (completely un-doable) as he already spends alot of time as the master.
- also not cool, as it would mean he can choose which posts are posted.
the other is an invite only chat room, this would rid the site of those too unstable to discuss here.
can we get back to seeing works, and discussing the issues? for me it has mostly to do with "where did/are these works from"
I already know where I can works that are well documented.

Spirit Walker said...

Several comments have been deleted from this post due to the issues presented in "Blog Master's Public Address II".

Thank you,

Stardreamer said...

Just to clarify - there appears to be a story within the comments here of factory-like productivity in the late 70's and 80's by Norval and his apprentice artists in creating a ton of Morrisseaus. During this period he really did paint up a storm of "great" paintings, as did his three (and only three) apprentices.

There were a couple of instances where the demand for Morrisseaus and time pressure led Norval to have us do minor tasks on a series of paintings filling in pre-designated colours. I also remember an instance where Brian did black lining on a couple of paintings for Norval. Though Norval asked him to give it a shot the result upset him (as it should of - it was stiff and uniform - no offense Brian!) and it never happened again. Jack Pollack received the artwork and bitched about the works quality - he liked to bitch but he was smart and a great quality control expert. There was never an instance when any of us ever did sketching, inlay or overlay for Norval.

During this same period the four of us painted together, generally working on our own pieces (in our own styles) or at times on collaborative paintings that were not Morrisseaus but were explorations and experiments in vision questing in paint. In part, that's why Norval had time pressure to produce work for Jack, because we were having too much fun painting things that couldn't be sold. In the near future I will post a picture of a Thunderbird School painting that Norval and I did together that we both signed at Christmas 1979 to give you all an idea.

>>>> Stardreamer