Wednesday, March 5, 2008

> Gatherings of Norval Morrisseau (Part I)

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MANITOULIN ISLAND, 1999 /Click on image to enlarge/
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/Norval Morrisseau (in the wheelchair) and Gabe Vadas (with sun glasses) attending the Gathering on the Manitoulin Island in 1999/
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"I consider Manitoulin Island to be the most sacred place in Canada" Norval Morrisseau
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Have you noticed the painting hung on the wall in the background?

I am certain that the painting on the wall is from the 1970s and as you can see it was painted in similar style as the numerous paintings posted on this Blog. To those of you that consider this painting to be in category of the "questionable kind" I will post the following questions:

1. "How come that numerous galleries across Canada have been selling this kind of paintings for years without anybody stopping them to do so?"

2. "Why would galleries like Maslak McCleod Gallery in Toronto, ON; Bearclaw Gallery in Edmonton, AB and Qualicum Frameworks Gallery in Qualicum Beach, BC risk their reputation spanning several decades being involved in selling non-authentic art pieces of Norval Morrisseau?"...

... and last but not least: "Why would Norval Morrisseau together with Gabe Vadas attend the Gathering on Manitoulin Island with non-authentic painting being hung on the wall?"


Spirit Walker
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* Thanks to the individual that would like to remain anonymous I acquired this photograph showing Norval Morrisseau and Gabe Vadas attending the Gathering on the Manitoulin Island in 1999.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I heard an interesting item about art authentication on the radio, and here’s a link to the transcript:

http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/farid/press/art04/abc.html

There are further links from that item for those wanting more details.

Dartmouth College has developed a software program which digitalizes the brushstrokes of an artist to create a fingerprint for that artist. In a blind test by a Belgian museum, the software was presented with five fake and one genuine 16th century Pieter Bruegel paintings, and correctly picked out the genuine item. Renaissance painter Perugino’s Madonna with Child, when analysed, revealed that three assistants had participated with the artist, finally concluding a curator’s debate which has gone on for four centuries. This may be the answer for authenticating Morrisseau’s work.
KHVH

Anonymous said...

the painting is "similar"
I would assume it is authentic, as Norval and Gabe would have been outraged if it was signed and displayed as a Morrisseu.
the question regarding the galleries selling works. many galleries have bought paintings from the public, both real and others which may not be so. if they paid money for them, I expect that they are not happy about taking a loss, and as such would sell them to recover? as stated before, it is usually always about money.
Mr Ross is the only poster to be credited with taking a loss on the 2 paintings he claims he bought in good faith and was later told by Norval they were fakes.(at a loss)
I have not heard of anyone else sharing a similar story.
to me this says much about the integrity of Mr Ross?
nice to see the blog back on track, many, many great posts and questions, still a little thin on actual facts and details.
I suppose bits will leak out over time.
regards to all & credit to SW.

Spirit Walker said...

Thank you and welcome back KHVH.

Anonymous said...

To me, and it is only my opinion, a picture of Norval sitting in front of a painting like this does not add creditablity to it. If the picture was him working on the actually painting that would be a different story. The only person that can answer the questions asked would be Norval, Gabe, the galleries selling the paintings...you get the idea. This picture adds no creditabilty to this painting or style of painting...like I said...my opinion.

ink guy said...

good point on the software, I too heard about this a while back, I never did follow up, hope to look into it a bit over the next day or so.
I should point out, Morrisseau did not always paint in the "same" style, I believe and have seen where his brush work is vastly different depending on his sobriety. this again will cloud the issue.
still a good option in that legit works will display the same brush pattern which is good.
for inferior works, again we need to identify an authentic "ugly" work and make the same comparison. again this could confirm the ugly as authentic as well? and so on.
very intresting and perhaps a good tool, not all will be happy, and the results will be challenged.
thanks for the post.
let's keep going as options open up debate, and debate brings out answers.

ink guy said...

to the post 2 above, I value your opinion, but knowing how Norval could be, would he and perhaps Gabe not raise the question of the painting on the if he did not do it?
I see your point but have to ask?
thanks

Anonymous said...

Thanks for responding to my comments. I have never witnessed Norval or Gabe in the presence of a painting that they did not agree as an original - you may have and know more about his reaction or willingness to be in the presence of a questionable painting. How do we know that the painting was not questioned by them? Also it is not a picture of Norval endorsing this painting as an original done by his hand but a picture of him at a gathering. To try to authentic paintings like this by using this picture as evidence is not really much of a leg to stand on because there are too many questions....

ink guy said...

fully agree, I'm just throwing out questions for both sides.
I never take one side over the other, unless the issue is totally confimed and undisputed.
I would think that Morrisseau would not tolerate the work if it was presented as his, and not actually so.

Spirit Walker said...

I would appreciate if all of the "anonymous" use imaginary nick-names for ease of the following who said what.

Thank you all for contributing. Also I am inviting the others to send similar stories to posted here. Your confidentialty will be honoured. SW

Anonymous said...

Good idea - like it. My comments above exchanged with Ink Guy...I will continue to post using nickname AP. I would encourage others to do the same. My postings also exist today stating there is a Morrisseau for everyone...

Who is AP...a Toronto Collector who started purchasing Morrisseaus off the internetabout 7 years ago but with recent concerns has been acquiring paintings from galleries. My preference is for early pieces done in the 60's and early 70's. I own four pieces - one of which in my opinion could be questionable but one that I am happy to own and hang on my wall and enjoy it for what it is worth!

Anonymous said...

Art fraud - recognize it, report it, stop it. Fraud affects thousands of Canadians each year. Unfortunately there are many types of art fraud and too few fraud squad officers to monitor the situation nationwide.

Why do galleries get caught up? Simple answer, greed and ignorance. There's simply too much money at stake for most to stop engaging in the practice of selling 'suspect' art works.

The situation is changing and the number of officers is increasing. Its up to Canadians to take an active role and report incidents: 416-222-TIPS for starters.

Anonymous said...

I hear through the grapevine that a major Toronto auction house will have several well documented works going to auction this summer. it will be intresting to see if new records are set for this artist.
all works I'm told are well authenticated and are in no way in dispute.
if others can confirm or add details, please do.
regards

Anonymous said...

ok, so I call the fraud division, I say I have a fraudulent Norval Morrisseau. Who are THEY going to call to verify the information? Until we have something or someone to authenticate his work we are still at square one. m.g.

peek a peek said...

not so, investigators go to the source you got it from, and work back from there.
it's quite easy, trust me.
just a name of the seller, that's where it always starts.

peek a peek said...

further clarification on the above.
if anyone feels that they have purchased art in good faith and later become suspect, it should be reported to the local authorities.
the primary role of investigators is not to determine if the work is authentic, but rather if the work was created to deceive.
the crown will decide based on the evidence presented if prosecution is an option.
the courts have many tools in determining all of the what if's?
"hostile" witnesses who are often reluctant to give details are often found to be in contempt of court, a finding which could keep that person in custody until such time as they are more willing to participate in the hearings being held in the court of law.

the focus of any investigation is always the , who,what,where and when.
hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in City of Lévis v. Louis Tétreault: "The concept of diligence is based on the acceptance of a citizen’s civic duty to take action to find out what his or her obligations are. Passive ignorance is not a valid defence in criminal law."

Anonymous said...

I don't believe Gabe can authenicate ANY painting except for the ones "HE" ( GABE) painted in the late 90's. Why would Gabe and Morrisseau sit in front of a FAKE painting and get their picture taken?? Gabe wouldn't be in the same room never mind sit in front of one these above unless it was REAL! HELLO!! When will GAbe be investigated for ART FRAUD? Are any of these 1990's paintings painted by someone other than MORRISSEAU? Just wondering! Perhaps we should do a DNA on these?? This is my opinion of course.

Anonymous said...

I received today my copy of the National Gallery's Spring Issue of Vernissage, its official magazine, as well as the usual inserts of informational material. This includes the April to June/08 calendar, which has a good image on page 17 of Morrisseau's 1980 ARTIST AND SHAMAN BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, which will be part of an indigenous art exhibit from May through September. What interested me here in the small print was the copyright attribution to Gabe Vadas. Under Canadian copyright law, the copyright remains vested in the artist's estate for 50 years following the death of the artist. Morrisseau passed on three months ago today, and this has surely not been enough time to settle the estate? and to begin transfer of copyright to heirs and successors? Is this a pre-emptive end-run against the possibility that the family may share in the estate? Have any of the bloggers who live in B.C. seen any of the legal notifications required to be published locally in the deceased's municipality of residence prior to the settling of an estate? I would have thought that it would take some time to settle this estate, and that it would require the sale of a significant portion of the estate to pay what I would presume to be quite high death duties? Any comments?

Anonymous said...

What we are also admitting to here is that there is a different style of the Morrisseaus painted during the 70's. We can see this in this picture and we assume by the quality of it that it is likely signed on the back - the paintings typically in question on this blog. But there are still plenty of 70s paintings of a different style with no signature on the back! It is assumed that this painting is signed on the back (DO WE KNOW FOR SURE?) and that is was painted in the 70's (DO WE KNOW THIS?). Perhaps we are wrong and perhaps that is why Norval and Gabe are pictured in front of it - perhaps they know more then us and assumptions here are incorrect. The only way to get clarification on this to assist in helping to take a step towards authenticating these 70s paintings is to find out more about this painting and the reserve side of the painting. If the individual providing this picture to us has access to this information and can share it with us - please do...thanks