Monday, April 11, 2011

Open Letter to the NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG by Mr. Karl J. Burrows (Part I)

Revised on 04/12/2011 (see ADDENDUM #1 & #2)

-Karl J. Burrows ~ still image from "Playing on the road with Norval Morrisseau"
-Click on image to view a short video at titled "Playing on the road with Norval Morrisseau". This video was submitted and narrated by Mr. Karl J. Burrows who explains meeting Gabor M. Vadas and Norval Morrisseau at Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery* in Aldergrove, BC in 1989.

* - Bryant Ross, gallery director


>>> The following is the communication that had transpired between Mr. Karl J. Burrows (KB) and Ugo Matulić a.k.a. Spirit Walker (SW) - blog master of the NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG on April 10th, 2011:

> KB to SW:

" To Whom it may concern,

I have been watching the ongoing story of Norval Morrisseau in the press and on the net. I feel I must step up and tell my story. Your blog at has always been my first stop in the morning, so I have decided to join this discussion and will be publishing additional information that might be of your interest.

As I previously stated in communication with Mr. James White of Toronto, Ontario - this information was also presented at you blog at - I had painted on number of canvases which Norval Morrisseau approved of.

The following four paintings were painted by me in 2005 and sold at Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery the same year.

These paintings were fully painted and signed by me and under Norval Morrisseau direction. Gabe Vadas was aware of all of this and received all payments. The Gallery owner Mr. Bryant Ross was aware that I had done the paintings but not that I had signed, he chose to backdate the paintings.

"Spirit Fish", 54" x 62", 1998;
* Price: $14,500 cdn;
~ Exhibited and sold at Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery ~

"Bird Family", 40" x 62", 1998;
* Price: $12,750 cdn;
~ Exhibited and sold at Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery ~


"Birds and Fish", 39" x 62", 1998;
* Price: $12,625 cdn; 
~ Exhibited and sold at Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery ~

"Telling the Stories", 65" x 104", 1998;
~ Exhibited and sold at Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery ~
   /Click on image to Enlarge/

The fifth painting, "Ojibway Family Motif with Tree of Knowledge", was painted in 1999 at White Rock, B.C.

It was at this time Norval Morrisseau hired me to paint the black lines on many of his paintings, I was not an apprentice, I was hired to do a job. This painting was published in "Norval Morrisseau - Return To The House of Invention"; page 136 and also back-dated by Kinsman Robinson Galleries. I was never paid for my work on this painting.

"Ojibway Family Motif with Tree of Knowledge", 87" x 54", 1991;
~ Exhibited and offered for sale at Kinsman Robinson Galleries ~
   /Click on image to Enlarge/

Norval was a friend and I miss him,

Karl Burrows, Los Angeles, California USA 04/10/11 "

> SW to KB:

Hi Karl,

Thank you for your willingness to participate in this important discussion regarding the Legacy of the great Canadian painter Norval Morrisseau.

I just wanted you to clarify if you have painted fully the painting titled "Ojibway Family Motif with Tree of Knowledge" and if Norval Morrisseau had any input in creation of this artwork?

Thank you so very much,

Best regards,

Ugo Matulic a.k.a. Spirit Walker

> KB to SW:

My pleasure my friend,

The painting "Ojibway Family Motif with Tree of Knowledge" was a line drawing on canvas when I started to paint it, I painted it all.

Norval signed it and we offered it to Leona Lattimer, she turned it down.


> SW to KB:

Thank you Karl,

One more thing I would like to clarify.... was Kinsman Robinson Galleries aware that you have painted this artwork in 1999?

Thanks again,


> KB to SW:


Kinsman Robinson Galleries, as Norval's agent, must have known that this painting had be done by someone else. If Gabe Vadas did not tell them that I painted it, this would not be a surprise to me.


* Click HERE to view this communication between Mr. Karl J. Burrows and Ugo Matulić a.k.a. Spirit Walker (dated April 10th, 2011).

Blog Master's notes:

For the first three paintings presented above which were sold at Mr. Bryant Ross' gallery click HERE for screen capture of the original content as it appeared in May 2005 at Coghlan Art Gallery & Studio's website.

Mr. Ross stated at that time at 'Norval Morrisseau Online Gallery' that "These paintings were guaranteed to be original and authentic and were obtained from the artist or authenticated by him."

The fouth painting sold through Coghlan Art Gallery & Studio titled "Telling the Stories" was exhibited at Norval Morrisseau Archive as a sold painting but then shortly after some time it was permanently removed from the archive by Mr. Bryant Ross.


#1. The painting "Ojibway Family Motif with Tree of Knowledge" was shown on the large digital screen during the show when Norval Morrisseau posthumously received the National Aboriginal Lifetime Achievement Award for 2008. Which was held at the Sony Centre in Toronto, Ontario CANADA on March 7th, 2008.

* As soon as this video footage becomes available it will be presented on the NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG for all to see. 

#2. The painting "Ojibway Family Motif with Tree of Knowledge" was exhibited and offered for sale at 2010 RETROSPECTIVE of Norval Morrisseau's artworks which was held from October 16th to November 20, 2010. This sale exibition was organized by Kinsman Robinson Galleries (click HERE for the exhibition catalogue shown at KRG's blog and click HERE to view this painting listed on page 23 of this exhibition catalogue).

* This painting was clearly listed and previously described in Kinsman Robinson Galleries' textbook publication "Norval Morrisseau - Return To The House of Invention"- page 136).-


Anonymous said...

Your research is definitely a marvel to behold and the legacy of Norval Morrisseau will be enormously enhanced by your work. Thank you for your strength of character which continually gets stronger in these difficult times. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

These five pieces were painted by karl J.Burrows and four of them were sold by Bryant Ross of Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery in Aldergrove BC. I have a question for Bryant Ross. Bryant Ross did you tell your customers that purchased these four paintings off of you that they were done by Karl J. Burrows? Or did you mislead your customers into thinking they were genuine Morrisseau paintings?