Friday, May 2, 2008

"Powerful Images" of Norval Morrisseau (Part I)

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The ART of NORVAL MORRISSEAU
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the WRITINGS of BASIL H. JOHNSTON
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130-9th Avenue S.E., Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G 0P3
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A booklet "The Art of Norval Morrisseau and The Writings of Basil H. Johnston" for an exhibition presented in conjuction with Glenbow Museum's Summer 1999 theme "Powerful Images".
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* Cover Image: "Spirit Communication", n.d., acrylic on canvas, © Norval Morrisseau /Glenbow Collection/

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's a question for the panel. How can so many galleries and collectors collaborate and create a huge conspiracy and sell the 1970's "fake" art? Usually its one or 2 individuals that are KNOWN by the art world ( They get caught)They tend to copy a certain artist and sell it as authentic. Galleries tend to "KNOW" through years of research, whats authentic and what is not! What I want to know is..how can, so many Galleries get away with selling these "fake" Morrisseau paintings? Is it because they are genuine paintings? do they have meetings in a basement together and all state "we are selling these paintings together"? Can all these people be hoodwinked so easily? SKD

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is not a conspiracy but perhaps lack of knowledge on their part or even worse...greed. I am not sure - you ask a good question. I would not go as far as saying there is a conspiracy amongst these galleries rather they operate independently selling what is in their opinion authentic paintings. Why has not one of them jumped on this blog to provide any insight to help authentic them? They are keeping far away from this debate on purpose I am sure. KRG has started a blog openly providing information on what they call genuine Morrisseaus. Is it an conspiracy that not one example of these questionable paintings show up in exhibition catalogue from Pollock during the 60's/70's, they do not show up in any book on norval's work, they do not show up in the Paradox of Norval Morrisseau and the list goes on. No one can argue that KRG or Vadas manipulated these as they were not associated with Morrisseau at this time. This is strong evidence to suggest that these paintings were not coming from the same source. This is all my opinion and for the record I do own and enjoy paintings of both quality/style. I would love for this mess to be sorted out and will continue to enjoy my paintings, the colour and images.

T.

Anonymous said...

These galleries selling Morrisseau art, did not spring up 2 weeks ago, they are legitimate operating companies. Operating for 20 some odd years. They most likely have met Morrisseau. If Morrisseau stated to each Gallery, over the years( Not Gabe writing letters) that these 70's are fake, would they keep selling them? If in fact he did, why would they tarnish their reputation? and keep selling? Its not that Morrisseau is the ONLY art they sell! Do you honestly believe that these Galleries would intentionally rip the public off? Knowingly? Even the slightest doubt of forgery would stop their sales.
SKD

Anonymous said...

The disk that Gabe Vadas said he had with hundreds of fakes on it has been found to be non existant. More lies from G.V. It only took three years for him to come clean. I do not trust this man and I believe he is the force behind the so called fake paintings. If there is nothing in it for Gabe he has no problem making it difficult for anybody else. For the gallery owners [like myself] we know justice will prevail and hopefully he will end up with nothing. He has lived off Norval for years and he is now spending monies that truely belong to the Morrisseau grandchildren. Who knows what we will learn in another three years? M.G.

Anonymous said...

This conspiracy makes the Kennedy assasination look amaturish. PLEASE>>>>>>>>>>> M.G.

Anonymous said...

The disk Gabe said he had doesn't exist? Has that been proven now?

JZ

Anonymous said...

If I may point out a weakness in your argument about Norval not saying anything about these paintings until recent years...

One could suggest that Norval would not have said anything about these paintings to any galleries 20years ago becaue at that time - they didn't exist. If these paintings were made after the seventies - then of course he would not have said anything at that time. So, it doesn't support that logic.

Of course, IF any of these galleries were exhibiting and selling these paintings in the70s - then they should have been paying somebody... There woudl be a trail to corroborate it.

So where is the paper trail? Where are the photos of these "reputable" galleries selling these 70s Morrisseaus?

How many galleries exactly are selling these and whom are they buying them from?

Those questions, if answered woudl provide more support - or questions - to those on either side of this debate.

Even if these were not genuine, there are lots of galleries who may honestly believe these are real. But the fact that they believe this to be so doesn't make it so in fact.

I have to say - this mystery is intriguing.

Thank you for reading,

Robert T.

Bryant Ross - Coghlan Art said...

When people like the poster above bad mouth Gabe Vadas they really show how close minded and uninformed they are. Gabe and his wife Michele were personally responsible for Norval's well being for the last 10 years of Norvals life while he battled Parkinson's. It was a very difficult job that few could have handled. They were always there for him. I respect them for this and think that they are heroes.

"How can so many galleries and collectors collaborate and create a huge conspiracy and sell the 1970's "fake" art?"
If you can buy a questionable painting for $2000 and sell it for $15000, I would call it greed.
If you are a gallery owner that sells these paintings then tell us why you think they are authentic.

Anonymous said...

Of coarse Bryant Ross would come to the plate for Gabe. They are two peas in a pod. For the last ten years Norval was in an extensive care facility in Nanaimo. Anybody that wanted to visit Norval had to go through Gabe to see him. It took 3 hours for Christian to see his own father because Gabe put a restraining order on the entire family. I dont think he was a hero, he was trying to protect his meal ticket. M.G.

hugh said...

M.G.,

Redirecting again. Dream on about your so-called Morrisseaus

The proof is in the provenance, history, of the paintings in question. Not in what anyone says. I believe Gabe took care of Norval. Bryant obviously knew them and helped. They got him through some tough years. Who cares what you think about that. You didn't know Morrisseau or his circumstances, so don't get all high and mighty!

You, I don't know, so Gabe and Bryant are higher on the ladder than you in my opinion.

Prove your point or keep quiet about other people!

SW, you should know these things. We know Norval would have been gone from us much earlier were it not for Gabe and Bryant in his life. Maybe that's what these people were counting on. Get Norval out of the way to sell their dubious goods! No one to question them!

M.G and SKD, put up the proof or cut the crap, that 's it.

Thanks for letting me say my peace SW

Best wishes to all who seek the truth,

Hugh

juscruzin said...

make no mistake about it, the disk is real, I can confirm it's existance.
I can also state the the NMHS has documented 100s of fakes thanks mostly to folks who are attempting to promote them in a public forum. this makes it very easy to capture and document the images.
As to the galleries selling fakes?
ask yourself. what else are they selling?
I have little doubt that this matter will be resolved one day, perhaps sooner than some may think.
to quote from another blogger....
it's not the proverbial hammer that will fall, but rather a Sledgehammer.
tread with caution to all those who seek to deceive.

Anonymous said...

Well I personally can state there is NO disk but a book or binder with many cropped photocopies of each painting. GABE probably forced Morrisseau's hand to initial the yes, no and ?. I can also state that Gabe took "care" of Morrisseau, in money mind and spirit..total control and only for his gain. I have personally watched it for years. The house, luxury pickup truck , bank accounts, etc. THIS IS TAKING "care" of someone alright..Any of you "outsiders" do not know what your talking about

AKA

Anonymous said...

Just curious... Cause it sounds like this would answer a lot of questions:

What do Ritchie Sinclair and Brian Marion have to say about these paintings?

It seems odd they have said nothing.

Robert T.

Bryant Ross - Coghlan Art said...

Norval was not in an extensive care facility for the last 10 years of his life. At various times he was in a care home for short periods. There were times, like when he broke his hip, that he required professional care that the Vadas family could not provide. These stays in a care home never worked out as Norval could be a very disruptive patient.

Parkinson's is a nervous disorder that affects your motor skills, not your mind. In early stages it is manifested as shaking of arms and legs and progresses to the internal organs in later stages. There is no set medication for this condition, every patient is different. Different combinations of drugs had to be tried. There were times that Norval was over medicated. When his medication was changed he had to be observed by medical personal to ascertain it’s effect. These evaluations were sometimes done in a psychiatric facility.

During the last couple of years of his life Norval started to lose control of his bowels. To a strong man like Norval this was extremely embarrassing. When Norval soiled himself and his bed in the middle of the night it was Gabe and Michele that were there to clean him up. I think that this is an extremely personal situation that could only be dealt with by a close family relationship.

Anonymous said...

AKA:

I'd like to know, under what authority do you speak?

I've heard the opposite: Not only does the disk exist, but it's in the hands of the NMHS.

What do you say to that?

C/B

Anonymous said...

To "AKA" -moneyticks- Micheal -Rockefellor....and so on.
wrong you are again. you have never been "in", but you are for sure now "out".
there is a disk.
as for Ritchie and Brian... well, lets let them comment. they read the blog.
to me and others, silence speaks volumes.
I-C-ALL

Anonymous said...

regarding Robert T.'s point above - it would be very interesting to hear their comments but they too are silent! If they were hand chosen by Norval to carry on the Woodland Art movement and were by MOrrisseaus side in the late 70's and early 80's then why the silence? Why not protect his artistic standing as the father of the Woodland Art movement by sharing thier knowledge on this matter. Of interest...if you visit morrisseau.com which is a site hosted by Richie Sinclair (I think) it does not show one picture of a questionable Morrisseau. Any picture I have seen of paintings done by MOrrisseau, Sinclair and Marion during this time do not reflect the style of the questionable paintings.

T

hugh said...

AKA,

How can you make your unequivocal statements, are you a spider on the wall... or just a snake in the grass?

How do you know?
C/B & I-C-alll have got a point. I tend to believe them. I'm sure the NMHS would be interested in that disc and have a copy. Most of them have studied Morrisseau's painting from that time and spoke to Morrisseau himself while he was alive. It doesn't take a genius to see they don't look like the other Morrisseaus of that period. Iheard some where that Morrisseau told the NMHS that they were abominations!

Oh yes and speaking of liars... M.G. your up to your usual rubbish!
What do you NOT make up! Mostly Garbage must be the long form of MG.

Lets have some facts not fiction boys.

Hugh

Anonymous said...

To M.G.

Your post stated the following:

"The disk that Gabe Vadas said he had with hundreds of fakes on it has been found to be non existant. More lies from G.V. It only took three years for him to come clean."

That is a strong statement and hence my question about how you came to that conclusion. You have not responded on the matter.

Robert T.

Anonymous said...

In the above post,MG, you also stated:

"It took 3 hours for Christian to see his own father because Gabe put a restraining order on the entire family."

I think this is actually helpful in explaining a few things if at all true.

Why did Gabe have a restaining order against the Morrisseau children? Since you seem to know so much - why not tell us how Gabe was able to obtain a restraining order against the children?

You cannot get a restraining order from a judge without any evidence and without suitable cause.

And I hate to point out the obvious - but those who have interviewed Norval and saw him and Gabe together are pretty clear on the fact that they had a close relationship. In fact, Norval spoke quite highly of Gabe and referred to him as his adopted son.

If you believe everything that you claim - then why is this not being dealt with via the Courts? The children never complained about Norval being in Gabe's care until after he died. They had no problem finding a lawyer though after he died.

I think debate is fair but false statements shoudl at minimum be questioend and brought to light in this forum.

Please publish this comment Spirit Walker if the truth is really what you are after.

Robert t.

Spirit Walker said...

To "anonymous" visitors to this blog: "Unsigned comments will not be posted"!

"Thank you for your support to the Blog initiated in Honour of the Mind, Body and Spirit of Copper Thunderbird better known as Norval Morrisseau - Grand Shaman of the Ojibway... Blog dedicated entirely to the preservation of the legacy of his people as well as to the preservation of his artistic legacy."

Megweetch, SW

Anonymous said...

Id like to say, keep up the great work you are doing Spirit Walker! You are doing Norval proud and Im sure he's looking down on you and smiling. As for the dealers who will remain nameless, his so called friends, Im sure he's hung his head in disbelief. I think its sad that all this fighting is always going on and that so many of you attack SW with such ease. Again, keep up the good work SW, the truth will prevail! It always does. There will always be wolves in sheeps clothes out there looking to cause problems and discredit others. They live a shallow life....remember..the only person that will respect a thief is another thief...and what's that worth?
Four Owls

Anonymous said...

SW,

You are doing a great job with this blog. However, it appears many people who post make statements that cannot be corroborated or worse - are simply false. This can lead someone to conclude that this is not a real debate but rather a propaganda campaign.

I've asked specific questions and there have been no replies. What we get instead are the comments of Four Owls which provide no facts and which sidetrack from the issues raised.

I don't see one post that attacks SW in this string of comments. So why does he need these words of encouragement?

Is this blog about propaganda or fact? People make statements and then when asked for an explanation or when their inconsistencies are pointed out, they dissapear or make no further comment - or suggest the Blogmaster is being attacked.

SW - just because some people raise intelligent questions -that doesn't mean you are under attack.

I thought you wanted debate and to come to the truth in honour of Norval Morrisseau?

Still waiting for facts 4 Owls. Do you have any?

I am reading with great interest.

V.m.

Anonymous said...

This string is one of the only ones that certain individuals are not attacking the blog master. I don't see that many intelligent questions on this blog ever. And when there are. They are answered. The bottom line is this web site is only here to continue and promote the legacy of the Great Norval Morrisseau. That's it. This is the only site that was created while Copper Thunderbird was still on this earth, and has only honoured him throughout the past year. You want a fact VM, here is a fact. Kinsman Robinson has nothing better to do with there day than personally attack SW and this site. DO you see the blog master ever randomly attacking them. NO. There newest article on their site tries discrediting this blog. The only thing is they don't have the balls to come right out and use the sites name. That's a coward in my opinion. Just an opinion, but looks pretty factual to me. The writing is literally on the page. All I see is a gallery that is scared that someone might see right through them. Here is another fact for you all to read. Another fact. All I see is a gallery that is trying to control the market still and scare potential buyers and collectors into believing that if its not from their gallery its just not a REAL Morrisseau.
My opinon,and just my opinion, is that KR and other galleries only viewed Mr. Morrisseau as a cash cow that they could milk for years to come. And they sure did. They sure did love him alright. Im sure all the galleries had only his best interest in mind. The only gallery that I leave out of these comment is Masak McCloud. They are a truly honerable gallery. The others kept him broke and drunk most of the time. I forgot to mention homeless as well. Funny, I read somewhere that he was never usally shy on money, that he could have up to $10 000 on him at any given time. Yet when I met him for the first time in 1992, he had no money on him, and was severly intoxicated. I remember he was painting at KR at that time. And was given a few hundred dollars for a huge shaman painting he had just done for KR, they were asking $15 000 for it at the time. WOW, that is a gallery that respects there artist. Great work Spirit Walker. Keep it up.
This site is truly a pleasure to visit each day. I will continue to enjoy and respect SW opinion on Copper Thunderbird.
Cheers to all,
Four Owls

Anonymous said...

Question - when did these 1970's paintings begin to show up in the market? Was it with the large auction of Morrisseau paintings held at Kahn? If so, when was this auction?

I have not seen the disk but I have seen the binder of paintings that Norval claimed were not by his hand. This is going back about 2 or 3 years ago and it contained a few hundred colour pictures.

Regarding Gabe - he most likely started taking care Norval Morrisseau well before the luxury trucks and homes were around when they both lived a life on the streets that non of us could imagine. Looking at pictures of how Norval lived and seeing his studio it would appear that both Norval and Gabe benefited from this relationship. If Norval Morrisseau was able to break a tie with the mob then I am sure he would have found a way to get away from Gabe and Michele if he wanted. As well, by the painting of The Family showing Norval, Gabe, Michele and Robin (I think) it would appear that Norval was pretty happy.

3-0

Anonymous said...

Mr. Four Owls,

You state that people are "cowards" for not posting their names yet you use "Four Owls." Secondly, I asked several very direct questions in this comment string and NONE were answered. Not one. So you comment about them being answered is simply false.

It is rather clear to me you are simply providing propoganda and not truly interested in this as a discussion/debate.

SW, this should concern you. Why are there no facts? Only accusations and allegations. KRG and Gabe Vadas were not part of Norval Morrisseau's life during the 70s. Why is there no evidence that he was connected to ANY of these paintings the last 38 years. Think about that - No photos or exhibits of him selling or paintings these style of 70s paintings?!?

I am trying to keep an open mind but I have to admit - it is becoming a stronger argument to say these are not genuine paintings.

I don't know what other readers think but it seems odd to me that rather than proving these are genuing in ANY manner - some individuals who are not answering intelligent remarks and simply attacking Vadas and KRG.

Doesn't that make you wonder SW? It makes me wonder abotu what exactly is going on here... THis shoudln't be such a debate... Norval was the most recognised Canadian artist during his time...

Robert T.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Four Owls,

I would like to also had that I too know much about Norval, more than some and less than others. From what I know, Norval NEVER painted ANY paintings in the KRG galleries. I welcome any evidence to the contrary. I wondered about this myself in the past and verified with multiple sources.

And in regards to KRG paying Norval, they paid him for every single piece he ever gave them to sell. Your comments in that regard are unsupported and much too strong an allegation. From what I have heard in regards to various galleries dealing with NOrval, you are mixing up your galleries. Right rumour but wrong gallery.

I hope you realize your comments are likely slanderous. Good thing you don't sign your real name - like the other cowards (sorry but just using your own words).

I welcome genuine debate and facts. I, too, am looking for the truth in this matter. I was personally very touched by Norval's work. It changed my life after I first saw his paintings.

Robert T.

Anonymous said...

Robert T,
First of all, I never said KRG never paid him . I said they paid him $200 or so to paint a $15 000 painting. I was there at the gallery and was 16 years old at the time having a painting appraised in the early 90's. And the back room was being used to paint in by Norval. I was personally there. They bragged to my father and myself that they keep him drunk and he paints for them. Slander, no, they just don't like the messenger. Well, don't do the crime if you can't do the time. I find it funny that you all defend this gallery so much. When they have been the problem from the start. Whey don't they come on here and say something to me instead of all there followers. For someone that cares about Norval so much why don't they give half the profits to the Morrisseau family instead of Gabe. Seems shady to me. So trust me Robert T, right story, right gallery.
Four Owls

Anonymous said...

Four Owls,

I won't bother debating point by point with you and I don't trust your comments because they are completey at odds with what others say and what others saw. People who knew Norval more than yourself (by your own admission).

And you have the wrong gallery. That was not KRG. I know which gallery you are referring to. I found out about that story from another source and it was confirmed by another source.

As for your slanderous comments - I am only trying to advise you to moderate yourself for your own protection. There can be legal consequences for making slanderous remarks. I personally take no offense - I have no ties to KRG... But it's evident that KRG reads this blog.

Do as you like.

AS for defending KRG? If I found anything about KRG which suggested what you were saying was truthful (accurate may be a better term if you honestly believe what you are saying) then I woudl post it here and certainly agree with what you are saying. But this is supposed to be a honest debate.

Even on the surface of things, as if a gallery owner is going to discuss abusing an artist in public with a father and his 16 year old... I actually know that was done but liek I said - that was not KRG. WE can agree to disagree on that. I am just trying to provide what information I have dug up thus far.

It's a free world. You choose your own reality if you don't like the one the rest of us see.

I welcome your input Four Owls if you moderate youself and are respectful. Otherwise, I am sorry but I will not waste anymore of my time responding to your wild accusations and comments.

TO SW - Thank you for having this blog to discuss these issues. I welcome more information. WE all want the truth... Or at least some of us do.

AS you often say ; Megwetch.

Robert T.

herbert said...

SW,

I just saw this page and a few others and I think you've got some people on here that have a vested interest in the paintings we are discussing, not the truth. They obviously don't want the truth, even when it is presented clearly, otherwise I would suggest they read my comment on todays entry. Guys, Norval was about spiritual harmony! His paintings exude it. Get the vibe. -HVK

Bogus Myth Slayer said...

Addressing the Fantasies from SKD, MG & AKA.

They continue to perpetuate the myth of these paintings. No proof just jibberish. Meanwhile nothing about the paintings is right. What more does anyone need! You would have to be blind as well as dumb. They don't look like anything Norval did and Norval said they weren't his. Full stop. The only photos of them are from the present! Were they done last week!

Herbert said as a comment on todays entry that as an artist he thinks they don't look like Morrisseaus, I agree. Chunky is the word, ugly creatures flying around in a mess usually. He also said he remembers the real period in the 70s, so do I and these paintings don't fit.

The burden of proof clearly lays in the hands of those purporting them to be real!

The case against is overwhelming.

BMS

Anonymous said...

BMS- you state that They continue to perpetuate the myth of these paintings. No proof just jibberish.

Morrisseau and Gabe are sitting in front of this so called "fake 1970's painting" in a previous post.
What other proof do you need?
Then the too funny remarks happen.."they were embarrassed", "they knew it wasn't real"..and so on. Remarks "you individuals" make up to enhance your "position".

If I was an artist, the last thing I would do is sit in front of a HUGE painting while others talked about me. Especially if I DIDN'T paint it! They didn't look too embarrassed SITTING THERE! COME ON! AKA...LOL

Hugh said...

AKA,

That's the best you can do?

A crowded room, with their backs to it!

Who's to say what they said or did after they turned around. The next photo might be Norval and Gabe turning around and looking on in horror!

I think the comments you refer to meant he was often a live-and-let-live guy. And as proof of this, one of his own favourite saying...

Just be,

Hugh

Anonymous said...

Hugh, you mean they walked into this room, sat down and didn't notice this BIG PAINTING behind them? You actually mean that after being invited to a room full of paintings that Morrisseau painted, he just didn't see something he "didn't paint"? WHAT? Am I missing something here? This is by far the dumbest post of the year:

The next photo might be Norval and Gabe turning around and looking on in horror! GOOD GOD! A crowded room? With their backs to it? LOL

You guys are an embarrassment to the legacy of Norval Morrisseau..These posts are quite humorous..

AKA....LOL