Thursday, March 27, 2008

Understanding Art of Norval Morrisseau (Part II)

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An example of genuine Norval Morrisseau painting from the 1970s
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"Energy Transformation"- acrylic on canvas, approx. 28"x 44", © 1976 Norval Morrisseau /Purchased from reputable Toronto gallery - Private Collection/

The above painting represents energy transformation of the spiritual powers in the presence of the Creator, Mother Earth and shamans (Note: two shaman images could have also represented one shaman in different stages of spiritual development).
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Shamans are protected within spiritual realm and power lines connect the rattles that are represented as arm extensions. Yellow colour is representing protection from the Creator while green colour represents everlasting presence of Mother Earth.
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Shamans are sitting on stones that are considered sacred due to the fact that they had been pushed up to the surface from the heart of Mother Earth. There are seven stones that represent seven teachings of the Ojibway or seven teachings from seven grandfathers: wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility and truth.
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Power circles over shamans' heads and power lines that are connected to them express high level of spiritual powers that are present. Spirits that are emerging from their backs are representing communication with ancestral spirits (curly lines that are coming out of the spirits' mouths represent lines of speech or prophecy lines).
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Cross-hatched lines inside of the shamans' bodies that are placed in the sets of four represent powers that spread evenly in all four cardinal directions (east, south, west and north).
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Red colour represent blood-line of the tribe and their true connection with ancestral spirits.
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White colour is the most sacred and spiritual colour that artist uses and in this painting he painted eye pupils to enhance spiritual powers of his vision.
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Note: There is not any specific way to describe the art of Norval Morrisseau. The text included herein is just one way of experiencing his art. Norval Morrisseau's art can be experienced in so many different ways depending of the subject matter and the knowledge and spiritual inspiration of the viewer.
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See the following images for detailed observation of the above presented genuine piece of art of the Great Norval Morrisseau:
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Click on image to enlarge

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Click on image to enlarge (back of canvas)

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Please do not hesitate to contact me if any additional explanation is needed. In one of the next postings of: "Understanding Art of Norval Morrisseau" I will pay more attention in describing painting techniques that Norval Morrisseau used throughout his prolific career.
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Meegwetch,
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Spirit Walker
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34 comments:

X-Ray said...

Dear Spirit Walker,

Thanks for caching up with the “Understanding Art of Norval Morrisseau” since 29 November 2007. I think a lot of people are eager to understand Morrisseau’s work as noted in earlier comments from several people in this blog.

Looking at the number of unique visitors since the last 24 days, this blog seem to be very popular, so I hope you will continue to do this “Understanding parts” for different area’s of Morrisseau’s career mid 50’s to 90’s.
Of course you need input from people who worked with Morrisseau over these years so I hope these people will contribute.

Thanks so far, and the above Morrisseau painting has a very powerful image.

Regards,
X-Ray

Anonymous said...

Powerful image...maybe. Can it be authenticated? Purchased from a Toronto gallery...what provenance did they give you?

Here is a question. You purchase from a reputable gallery like KRG and the provenenance they give you is - Private Collection - Thunder Bay, ON Same provenance is given when purchasing from Maslak Mcleod. How does this really build any creditability to the provenance of a non-documented piece?

Anonymous said...

KRG (Kinsman Robinson Galleries) is the last place I would buy Norval Morrisseau's art from due to the fact that they are fabricating stories about so called "questionable" painting in order to promote their own paintings and causing further confusion in the art market.

Is that the way to protect Norval Morrisseau's legacy KRG?

Mr.Rock

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rock - can you authenticate any of the 1970's paintings in question. I presume not...

Can you prove that KRG is fabricating stories? I presume not...

FACT - KRG started a blog and is making a point by the use of pictures and facts. Can this blog do the same to authenticate paintings?

Anonymous said...

Spirit Walker,

Thank you for the platform you are providing and all the hard work you putting into it.

Do not be provoked by the others that are possibly closely related to KRG or even KRG themselves are posting comments of this kind.

Thanks again for educating me and the others.

Regards,
Division Circle

Anonymous said...

Sorry Division Circle but not associated with KRG in any manner. Fact is there are claims that these paintings are fakes and and so far no factual evidence presented to fight this. If any exists...please finally present it.

Spirit Walker said...

To Anonymous - Please sign your postings at the bottom of the comment(s) you are placing... Thanks

You wrote: "Fact is there are claims that these paintings are fakes and and so far no factual evidence presented to fight this. "

Where is factual evidence to prove that these are fakes? If any exists...please present it.

Note: If anyone has a proof that "questionable" paintings from the 1970s are non-authentic I am providing you the platform to present your case and then let others decide for themselves where the truth lies. Let's come to the end of this debate...

Is enyone going to assist me?

Spirit Walker said...

"thickblacklines" asked me how come that paintings from my collection have no history? Most of them do have history...

I am the one presenting the case here to defend those paintings from the 1970s. Nobody visting this blog is doing anything that will shed more light on these pieces of art which I believe are authentic.

I am inviting "thickblacklines" on "Skype" coversation if he is really serious about finding the truth about authenticity of those "questionable" pieces.

Meegwetch

Note: My "Skype" user name: spiritwalker2008. If not familiar with "Skype" go to www.skype.com.

CoghlanArt said...

Hard facts are hard to come by in this situation. It is hard to prove authenticity when the artist is no longer available to confirm it. It is easy for those that want to legitimize these paintings from the seventies to say “prove it”. They must rely on this stance as they can not prove that they are real.

Some people have said that myself (Coghlan Art) and KRG are trying to manipulate the secondary market to promote the paintings that we have. This is ridiculous. The controversy has only softened the market and created fear. There are so many of these questionable paintings in the market place that it would be easy to accept them and make money on them. I am offered these pieces almost daily at far below market prices for legit Morrisseau paintings.

Here are some “facts” .

It is a fact that Morrisseau had assistants in the mid and late 70s and early 80s. Several of these “apprentices” have told me off the record that they had assisted on Morrisseau’s paintings during this time. Morrisseau would do the sketch and let the “apprentice” paint in the color. When the painting was finished , Morrisseau would sign it. This escalated into more and more paintings being produced with less and less input from Morrisseau until paintings were being produced with no input from Morrisseau.

It is a fact that none of these questionable paintings has surfaced that has provenance back to the Pollack Gallery. It is odd that none have had a Pollack Gallery sticker on it. The Pollack Gallery was Morrisseau’s main dealer at that time but none of the paintings that went through there were of the style of the paintings in question. “The Art Of Norval Morrisseau”, by Jack Pollack and Lister Sinclair, the definitive book on Morrisseau’s work from the 70’s does not contain one piece in the questionable style.

It is a fact that no provenance beyond “private collection” is offered on the questionable 70s paintings. If these paintings are truly Morrisseau’s from the 70s then they should have a history back to when they were obtained from him.

It is a fact that not one of these questionable paintings has been reproduced as a limited edition signed print.

It is a fact that I worked with Morrisseau for over 20 years. During this time I received 100s of paintings directly from him. Not one was signed, dated or titled on the back.

It is a fact that during the last 10 years of his life, Morrisseau dis-avowed these paintings many times. To me personally he said that something had to be done to stop these “Physic Leeches” (his words) from ripping him off. This talk began in earnest after Morrisseau returned from a trip to Ontario where he took part in a gathering on Manitoulin Island in 1999. There was a painting on the wall behind the stage that is in the questionable style. Although he did not want to create a scene at the gathering, it did piss him off. When paintings of this type began to surface on eBay he asked me to warn people that they were not his paintings. Morrisseau started the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society to rectify the situation and to insure that these paintings were not included in his art history. His trip back to Toronto shortly before his death was all about these paintings. In his last newspaper interview he said that he had come to Toronto to ”Kick some ass”. He was referring to these paintings and the people that are selling them.

Bryant Ross - Coghlan Art

Anonymous said...

SW --- Thickblacklines is not the only person asking this. There are a number of people viewing this blog that have asked the question or read this blog looking for the answers. Many who have purchased a Morrisseau in good faith and know are wondering what they purchased. If you have the answers that can authenticate these paintings why would you not post the facts here?

ALSO - your posting today of a 70's print does not resemble the questionable Morrisseau paintings discussed here. It is of the artistic quality that no one would question...different from the painting you have pictured attached this blog entry.

3-0

Anonymous said...

TBL asks.
if you are not intrested in posting comments or questions here. I and other will start to ask those questions on other blogs.
you want people to participate but you appear selective, silent and at times very seceretive?
why?

Anonymous said...

We keep talking about 70's painting and none of these paintings being connected back to Pollack Gallery. Fact also exists that there is a large number of quality paintings that exist from the 70's and 60's that never were sold by Pollack that exist in the market making up what is a strong secondary market opportunity. There are numerous paintings that were exchanged by Morrisseau during this time that were not associated with Pollack at all that are creditable. Norval Morrisseau: The Red Lake Year exhibited many fine examples of his work - none of which were connected to Pollack. They all are paintings that Morrisseau exchanged or sold directly to families (Carlson, Tingley, Shushack, etc) in the area. These fine examples are different then the ones discussed here from the 70's but we need to be careful not set the definition of a original Morrisseau from this time period as only ones the can be traced back to Pollack Gallery.

That being said, I presume this was not Bryant's intention but more a point being raised that with the large number of these questionable paintings why can not one of them be traced back to Pollack (or to Morrisseau himself).

AP

Spirit Walker said...

Rather than going back and forth in never-ending fight for approval and disapproval of the paintings in question (or “questionable” paintings) from the 1970s why don’t we have conference call over the “Skype” this weekend (or tonight if some of you are available) before we confuse even more novice collectors, seasoned collectors and others. This is the only way we can come to some conclusions. I know many people who were closely associated with Norval Morrisseau but unfortunately they prefer to be silent.

Anyone interested to talk?

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone having information that could clear this up want to remain silent? Why would they want to leave the market in the current state when they could do something positive. Sharing what they know would only increase the value of these paintings which I presume would be in their benefit. Why the silence???? It does not make sense...

Signed
Likely to be delete message

CoghlanArt said...

Of course I am not suggesting that all Morrisseau's paintings in the 70s went through the Pollack gallery. But Morrisseau always sold paintings where ever he could.But many of them did go through the Pollack Gallery. It would be reasonable to assume that if these 70s paintings are real, some would have gone to Jack Pollack. It is not reasonable to think that Morrisseau painted in one style for Pollack and in another for sales to other people.
Bryant

Spirit Walker said...

His name is Jack Pollock and not Jack Pollack... just to to clarify :-)

CoghlanArt said...

You are right. I did spell Pollock wrong. I have always been a terible speller.
In a previous posting I also spelled Psychic Leeches wrong. I asked Spiritwalker to correct it for me but he has not responded.
Psychic Leeches was a term used often by Morrisseau to describe people that claimed to know Morrisseau better than he knew himself. When he read descriptions of his art written by people that he did not know he would laugh and say "more Psychic Leeches".
Bryant

M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spirit Walker said...

Spirit Walker did not respond because he cannot change any of the text posted unless the comment is deleted and another one posted.

Hope this clears it... :-)

M said...

Bryant Ross of Coghlan Art makes a good point. Why is there no example of even one of these "questionable 70's' paintings going through the Pollock Gallery?

Spirit Walker said...

I would love to post the proof if someone can provide it to me that so-called questionable paintings from 1970s are not authentic.

Does anyone has knowledge and/or courage to present their case that those paintings are not authentic? Words mean nothing if you cannot present the facts.

Do you think that the Senate of Canada have non authentic Morrisseau on their walls? Please check this link: http://norvalmorrisseau.blogspot.com/2007/11/norval-morrisseau-painting-at.html

Stay tuned. More to follow from Spirit Walker.

Anonymous said...

Eric.C says.

why do "we" need to prove they are not authentic? should it not be up to you to explain how they are?
you and other vendors have this obligation.
how could you expect anyone to say the works are fake if we know nothing about them?
only you have that info.
please answer

Spirit Walker said...

The best way to authenticate Norval Morrisseau paintings is by evaluating paint application on the face of the canvas. Nobody can copy his style of painting. Too bad we cannot organize some-kind-of Norval Morrisseau conference where many spekers will present their cases... Maybe one day that will happen.

By the way I am not a "vendor" of ant kind... I am a collector and admirer of Norval Morrisseau art.

I will present slowly my case which I believe is "Case for Justice" but others that are criticizing me are not presenting anything... just words.

Be patient and I will present more facts why I believe that those paintings from the 1970s are authentic.

Meegwetch

CoghlanArt said...

The fact that spirit walker thinks I and others are critizing him says a lot about where he is coming from. I am critizing the questionable paintings from the 70s, not Spiritwalker.

I have stated 6 facts relating to the authenticity of these paintings. Yes they are just words, but it is a blog of words. How else can I state this case except with words.

Please give me some facts that prove the authenticity of these paintings
Bryant

M said...

The paint application on the 'questionable 70's' paintings is different when compared to Morrisseau's with good provenance.
Why is that?

M said...

The paint application on the 'questionable 70's' paintings is different when compared to Morrisseau's with good provenance.
This is a fact.

Spirit Walker said...

To "M": Why don't you send me some images that you question their authenticity (higher resolution if possible") and then I will tell you if I believe that painting is authentic or not... if you want to challenge me show some other weapons than words alone. Oh my God... it is getting more and more fun on the Morrisseau front :-).

Is anybody there who can challenge me with other means than just using words? Images... I want images to be presented to me?

M said...

Norval himself said that 'others' had painted these 'questionable' paintings, should we not believe the artist?

I do not wish to argue with you, I believe you are sincere in your admiration for the artist Norval Morrisseau as am I. I do believe you are searching for the truth.

But the fact is that if you open your eyes and look at the 'questionable 70's' art that Norval disavowed authorship to it has a different look to it compared with the 70's paintings that have good provenance.
Can you not see the difference?

But again, I believe you are sincere and I have no wish to argue, I only wish the best for you.

You have asked that you be provided with images. Look at the National Gallery Catalogue and the images in there. Look at the 70's art in 'The Art of Norval Morrisseau'.

Do you not see a difference in the style compared with the questionable art?

I do.

Respectfully,
M

Anonymous said...

Eric C asks again.

the critics of these works can only state that the works presented don't look like the good works Morrisseau produced.
again, only you can help clear this issue by telling the blog where they came from?
It seems the blogmaster is allowing this debate to stall?
to simply show and state that a painting is by Morrisseau, and provide no other details. how can anyone debate this?????
if there is no other info on the works you present, than the debate for me is over as I don't see the works as authentic?
YOU must show US why they are. not the other way around.

just my point of view.

Spirit Walker said...

I am going to show much more and I am going to prove much more. I was hoping someone will step in with proofs in the form of detailed digital images of the paintings in question???

Due to the fact that I am a Blog Master and that I am the only one working on this Blog - every detail and proper presentation takes time. It seems to me that all of you have not much choice than to wait for my detailed explanations.

Is there anyone else who would like to contribute? If not, just wait for me for the presentation in my own "timely" terms. If nobody is willing to work with me on this heated topic how can you consider me allowing this debate to stall?

I am still waiting??? Eric C, thank you for your verbal contribution... is there any "visual" contribution from you in sight?

Is anybody there who can challenge/assist me with other means than just using words? Images... I want images to be presented to me? :-)

Meegwetch.

Anonymous said...

sorry, no pics here.
I am not an art collector, but I do follow art blogs out of intrest only.
do we not already have enough pictures? why do we need more to get an explanation of the truth?
I have seen 100s ?
thanks Eric.

Anonymous said...

Argument to Support Morrisseau Fakes in Market

1 - Pollock never sold one of the questionable paintings

2 - Not one of the questionable paintings can be traced back to the artist.

3 - Artistic quality of these paintings is very different from Morrisseau's with provenance

4 - Not one picture of painting similar to this ones in question exists in The Art of Norval Morrisseau or any print of a 1970's original painting

5 - Not one picture exists of Norval actually painting one of these questionable works but many exists of him painting quality paintings

6 - Norval himself when he was alive stated that these paintings were fake. To his final days he stayed firm to this.

7 - The NMHS consists of a number of recognized art experts that are committed to finding the truth. They are not in this for themselves and have been assembled to do the artist right. These individuals have much better things to do with their valuable time then to get in involved in an initiative like this if they do not see that a problem exists. Have a look at the bios of each member - impressive team.

8 - Family members and apprentices have admitted on the record and off the record that they have assisted in creating Morrisseau works

I could continue but I do not think I need to. It is clear that there is something fishy about these paintings. Because of this, the onus is on the owners of these paintings to present information to show us differently.

You should also take a read at a lot of your entries --- you consistently question yourself stating I BELIEVE. Do you believe or do you know? Big difference.

Re: the Senate. Perhaps the NMHS should assess this painting immediately on behalf of the Senate? If the Senate was sold a fake then they should take immediate action.

3 Owls

Anonymous said...

Eric here again
I just looked at a posting in another blog about the documents a collector used to get an accurate finding and appraisal for his work.
info does seem to be out there, it is the obligation of the seller or owner to state that this work is authentic because.............
I would think that many of the posters here are very knowledgable and that is why they are suspect?
how does discrediting these works help them? there is no reason.
we all know "other" works exist, I don't think these galleries are acting in bad faith? just the opposite.
I just started reading this blog a week or so ago, and I have to admit it appears that there are only a dozen or so posters here, dispite the HTML counter numbers?
I've been a blogger for almost a decade, and can easily see this problems with this debate on this blog.
sorry. fishy, fishy...
to promote your point of view, you must prove all the skeptics wrong, not the other way.with facts..
thanks again.

Halyna said...

Dear Spirit Walker,
Sometimes, but not often, we come across something so powerful and insightful that it gets engraved in our souls and in our memories. That is exactly what happened to my husband and I when we saw paintings by Norval Morrisseau for the first time. It’s been almost 20 years, but the feeling is still fresh—joy and sadness, ancient wisdom and a sudden ray of humour…
We could not afford to purchase a real piece, so for a number of years, we would buy a selection of greeting cards and some books, just to have an opportunity to be surrounded by the power of the art of this Master.
Having been raised in Europe, where it was common for many to be in contact with and be surrounded by the arts and artists, I had to know more about Norval Morrisseau’s art and the artist than books had to offer. I was trying to learn more about his life, his inspirations and struggles, and how to decipher his symbolism, which touched me deeply.
In my attempts to connect my own experiences to the life and art of Norval Morrisseau I came across your blog. And what a learning curve it has been! I learned a great deal, which has helped me to form my own opinion on many things that had been unclear to that point.
Even if I might not agree with the format of the blog (being used as a repository of knowledge for such purposes), you impressed me with your dedication, your passion, and a firm stand on issues concerning the rights of and the search for truth about the late master.
As people we have different opinions on this and that. I, for one, would like to express my admiration for your valuable information, which enables us to form our own opinions. I thank you for that, Spirit Walker.
As a knowledge source, you provide valuable and timely services to the public. It is more than enough for those, like myself, who are looking for information on Norval Morrisseau to fill any gaps in our knowledge about this Great Master.
It is a great responsibility that you took on, dear Spirit Walker. Thank you.
Halyna Klid, Eddmonton, AB