Buyers Beware:Phony Norval Morrisseau paintings
have been selling on eBay,
Now they are showing up on eBay. "It's a new wrinkle on an old scam," says Toronto Lawyer Aaron Milrad who acts for the artist and the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society.
/ I quote lawyer Richard H.Baker in his letter from the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society: "the Society has not had, nor appointed, solicitors. Incorporation was handled by the late artist's solicitors."
The letter I recieved from the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society through my Lawyer Ethan M. Rogers of Daigle & Hancock L.L.P clearly states that no solicitors have ever been appointed to the committee except for the incorporation of the NMHS. Therefore Lawyer Aaron Milrad cannot be held accountable for the legitamacy of his statements in this Globe&Mail article since he has never been employed by the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society to speak on their behalf regarding the issue of authenticating Artworks by Norval Morriseau and as for any involvment regarding the Incorporation of the NMHS that is a different matter altogether. Logically any comments made by lawyer Aaron Milrad in the Globe&Mail article will have to be dismissed). /
And so far eBay's position is that it's up to a vigilant public to inform eBay's 203 million registered members of fakes via an automated program;the company takes no further responsibility.
One ad, which appeared in the late January, read "A Genuine 100 percent Athentic (sic) Acrylic on Canvas painting by Norval Morrisseau... An Excellent Investment and Golden Oppurtunity... "Prospective buyers were told that the painting comes with a certificate by a "Highly Qualified REGISTERED CERTIFIED MEMBER OF A.D.A.C. (Artists Dealers Association of Canada)."
/ The above paragraph refers to my listing on eBay in January of 2007. My eBay ID was bluenova999 and was changed to thunderbear888 in the month of April 2007. You can see a picture snap shot of my eBay listing for this detail and the piece "Father and Son" that was in the newspaper article but strangely omitted on the internet Globe&Mail archive site. /
/An article from "Globe&Mail" and image posted on eBay in the bottom left corner - Click on image to enlage// I am including detailed pictures of the article as it appeared in the Globe&Mail Newspaper which shows my eBay ID name at the time as bluenova999 and the item number for the eBay listing that this painting was associated with which was item No.150081372110. The title of the piece is "Father and Son" dated 1977. I had sold the painting to a gentleman in Toronto. I have proof of all documentation of this sale to him through eBay.
The Globe&Mail article has damaged my good reputation. I was forced to change my ID from bluenova999 to thunderbear888 because of the slanderous publicity that was generated by this article written by Val Ross reporting for the Globe&Mail in Feb.2007.
I also decided to open an eBay store and title it ThunderBear-Canadian Art Gallery as part of my new marketing strategy to increase sales through eBay.
The Globe&Mail article also caused me to lose two painting sales with an eBay customer who had committed to purchase two paintings from me but later renegged on her obligation to pay me because she had read the article here set out by the Globe&Mail and became highly suspicious and worried that the pieces I was selling to her were not genuine. That was a loss of over $11,000 U.S. in the month of April 2007 on those two paintings.
She repeatedly refered to me as a "Scam Artist" and texted me the link that can be found for this article in the Globe&Mail archives on the internet as the source for her concern and decsion to no longer continue with the sale that by eBay policy she had legally been commited to finalize with me. I chose not to sue her but to go after the Globe&Mail newspaper instead for damages rendered.
One other previous customer of mine also had declined to do any further business with me and another potential customer had decided not do any further business with me because of the implications of the Globe&Mail article. They both had read and told me that this article had scared them off from buying any more pieces from me. One of these potential customers I will mention had went around asking other people for their opinion about a different piece I was selling in the early part of 2007 on eBay which I still have for sale by the way. The piece's title is "Inorganics". He was interested in buying this piece and he recieved two positive results and one negative result from three different people. I later found out that the negative result he obtained came from Bryant Ross-eBay vendor coghlanart,who had told this potential customer of mine and I quote Mr.Ross in his email to this potential customer "it's an obvious forgery". I have all the email text messages regarding this interference by this eBay Vendor.
Thanks alot Bryant Ross for interferring and the loss of a potential sale for me... you have no right to interfere with other vendor's sales and this act allown can terminate your eBay membership keep that in mind I certainly am. The painting titled "Inorganics" has been appraised by Joseph McLeod of Maslak McLeod Gallery who is a member of the Art Dealers Association of Canada.
By April 2007 I decided to change my eBay ID and seek lawyers councel with the on going damage to my reputation and not to mention the reputation of the late great Norval Morrisseau. I have spent to date thousands of dollars in lawyer's fees with this case against the Globe&Mail newspaper. We are progressing.
My lawyer is Ethan Rogers and I have launched a law suit against the Globe&Mail newspaper for damages rendered past, present and future to my business on eBay. I demand retribution and compensation not to mention official letters of apologies.
Moniz v. CTV Globemedia Publishing Inc.et al.
Lawyer: Ethan M. Rogers
Daigle & Hancock L.L.P
Barristers and Solicitors
51 Village Centre Place
Tel. 905.273.3832 Ext. #236
File Case No.6036 /
Trouble is, there's no such organization.What ADAC usually stands for is the Art Dealers Association of Canada; it's president, Patricia Fehely,is appalled to see her organization cited as endorsing the sale of dodgy goods."I have never been so angry as now, at seeing ADAC's name so blatantly plastered on something which the artist says is not authentic," she said last week, adding: "They didn't even spell authentic right."
That ad has since expired and the vendor vanished. But Vadas has found at least two other phony Morrisseaus currently on offer on eBay.
/ The paragraph above in the article states that the vendor has vanished. This simply has never been true. I have always been on eBay selling my paintings to the public and after I sold "Father and Son" at the end of January in 2007, I went on to sell another Norval Morrisseau painting in Feb.2007 to a gentleman in British Columbia titled "Spirtual Beings" dated circa 1970's. After that sale I went on sell two more paintings to another gentleman in Richmond Hill Ontario who purchased two paintings off of my eBay listings. The titles of these two other paintings are "Shaman and Apprentice" and a small "Thunderbird" piece. Patricia Feheley seems to be fixated on my ability to spell the word AUTHENTIC...ok is that good enough for you now Patricia... if not let me know?
Unknowingly Patricia Feheley in her statement above had insulted one of her own members of ADAC who was none other than my appraiser Joseph McLeod of Maslak McLeod Gallery. All of my paintings that I sell have been professionally appraised by this member of ADAC.
Maslak McLeod Gallery is located in Toronto Ontario at 118 Scollard St. M5R 1G2 Canada; Tel: 416.944.2577; email@example.com ; www.maslakmcleod.com
Credentials: Joseph Mcleod
Art Dealers Association of Canada; Canada Council for Aboriginal Buisness, Canada; The Government of Canada, Ottawa, Ont. ; CanadaMuseum of Thunderbay, Thunder bay, Ont. Canada; Museum of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ont.; Canada; Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, U.S.A.; Master Dealer - Sotheby's.com; Institute of American Indian Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.; Governor's Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.; The Pequot Museum, Conneticut, U.S.A.; The Heard Museum, Pheonix, Arizona, U.S.A.; Volkunder Museum, Munich, Germany; Exposicao de Arte Indigena, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Collectors have greedily amassed Morrisseau canvases ever since his first exhibition of flat,stylized mythological figures made headlines in 1962. The value of his best individual works has climbed as high as $100,000,butressed by recent shows such as the National Gallery of Canada's Norval Morrisseau: Shaman Artist (which will go to the National Museum of the American Indian in New York in October, 2007).
But there is confusion over what is his best work, and indeed,what is his work at all. Morrisseau fell on hard times in the 1980's and could be seen on skid-row street corners in Vancouver, peddling paintings for the price of a bottle. Speculators bought them cheaply, without documentation, and attempted to donate them to public galleries for huge tax write-offs.
"Artists are entitled to do inferior works,"says Milrad. "The problem is the fakes." He's referring to works Morrisseau knows he did not create. Often drably coloured with wonky signatures, they've turned up for more than a decade at auction and in galleries. Vadas has more than 1,000 examples on file.
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 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 that the real ADAC only stands behind those paintings endorsed by the committee.
/ I quote from the letter sent to me by the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society-
"Though able to do so, the Society has not yet made an evaluation of authenticity for any of the art it has collected in its registry. To date over 1,700 works have been registered. All information recieved is confidential."
To date the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society has amassed 1700 paintings in their catalogue raisonne of Norval Morrisseau's work. My Lawyer had posed several questions to the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society to authenticate Norval Morrisseau's work in regards to the painting "Father and Son" that I had listed on eBay and had been accused of selling as a fake on eBay by the people that Val Ross of the Globe&Mail newspaper published along with two other paintings that I wrote about that were renegged on by an eBay customer that I mentioned earlier in this article.The NMHS has come back to us with their answer that even though they have 1700 paintings cataloged they are admitting that none of these paintings have been authenticated?
Below is the actual copy of the letter that we have recieved. It is now obvious to me that the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society in my opinion has been given unwarranted credit for their involvment in the Norval Morrisseau world of Art or has been grossly misunderstood by the public as to their powers. I was led to believe like the rest of the public that this committee was involved in authenticating Norval Morrisseau's work's of art. The committee had established this belief in me falsely.
As for Mr.Gabe Vadas and his list of 1000 examples on file of alledged forgeries. I ask you Mr.Vadas to kindly present such listings for competent examination by experts other than the members of the NMHS who are not in the position at the moment of assessing Norval Morrisseau's art on the levels of authenticating such pieces for the public record. Maybe Mr.Vadas will be in a better position to enlighten all of us collectors and vendors of Norval Morrisseau's works of art to safe guard the legacy of Norval Morrisseau so that it remains untainted. Thank You.
/ So what do we have here exactly? Well the persons mentioned in Val Ross' article are Gabe Vadas, Aarron Milrad, Patricia Fehely, and the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society have some explaining to do. I demand an APOLOGY from all of these people and the Globe&Mail publisher as well. I demand retribution and payment for damages rendered by the false claims made by these people mentioned and quoted in Val Ross' Globe&Mail article.
I am still open for business to any one of you mentioned above and I accept Bank to Bank wire transfers, Certified checks, Money orders, PayPal and cash. If you wish to purchase a fine authentic piece of art from me just contact me through my eBay store Thunderbear-Canadian Art Gallery and please submit your offers." An Excellent Investment and a Golden Oppurtunity" awaits you. Thank You. /
In fact, fakes of all kinds are a growing problem for eBay. Last year, Louis Vuitton filed a civil suit against the on-line marketplace in France (it's estimated that 90 percent of Vuitton bags on sale on eBay last year were phony). But lawsuits take time, and eBay, which sells $45-Billion (U.S) worth of goods annually, is well equipped to defend itself.
A similar case against eBay, filed in 2004 in a U.S. court by Tiffany, the luxury jeweller, will come to trial in May,2007. Until U.S. courts tell eBay to police counterfeits more actively, the recourse eBay offers to outraged parties is to join it's automated Verified Rights Program (VeRO).
"Counterfeits are bad for rights owners and for eBay," said Erin Sufrin, a spokesperson for eBay Canada."For this reason, the co-operation of rights owners-who have the necessary expertise in their product-is very important. As eBay is not a retailer, we never take possession of the items sold on our site.Therefore, we do not have the ability to inspect or examine them.
Late last month, Milrad couriered a letter to eBay's San Jose, Calif., headquarters saying: "Before any purported Morrisseau works are accepted by you for sale, it is imperative that you and the seller have the work reviewed by the committee and the artist himself to avoid law suits."
/ Knowing that the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society has never authenticated the Norval Morrisseau artwork in their catalogue raissone renders Lawyer Aarron Milrad's plee for eBay to police their listings illogical now that the NMHS has not done any work themselves at authenticating the 1700 pieces that they have catalogued.
As for the 1000 pieces that Mr.Gabe Vadas has collected, we the public should like to know who are the able bodies to have passsed judgement on the pieces you have on file so that we the public can better protect ourselves from the "bad guys" and protect Norval Morrisseau's legacy from becoming tainted, a worthy and noble cause Mr.Vadas.
As for the NMHS I am dismissing your committee from any further duties and involvment with artworks created by Norval Morrisseau until the committee can authenticate the 1700 pieces that they have in their catalogue raisonne. /
In reply, eBay reiterated that the Morrisseau defenders should join veRO. As of Feb. 6, eBay still had two fake Morrisseaus on offer.
Such legal wrangling,Vadas says, costs the Morrisseau estate about $70,000 a year. It could get worse: Tiffany spends more than $1-million a year(U.S.) tracking down on-line counterfeits.But Vadas insists the expense is worth it, adding: "The fakes are a cultural catastrophe. We must keep Norval's legacy from becoming tainted."
PS: I invite all personal comments from any one else with an interest in collecting Norval Morrisseau for enjoyment and investment purposes. Thank You
Thunderbear-Canadian Art Gallery (currently 'Avalon Treasure')