Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mr. Robert Lavack's Open Letter to Spirit Walker

~ This post was originally published on May 22nd, 2008

Mr. Robert Lavack in his home in Prague, Czech Republic
~ Currently residing in Stockholm, Sweden (2013)

Dear Spirit Walker,

Please feel free to post the revised edition of the "Morrisseau Christmas Letter" sent to Norval in December 2004. I wrote this on a "spur of the moment" urge after my meeting with Norval in Toronto at the Kinsman Robinson Gallery earlier that year. I noted "revised edition" because the original was done in a hurry and had a few typographic errors. I have a large file of letters that include correspondence from Norval, Harriet, Victoria, Josh Kakegamic, politicians and others that contributed to the early development of Norval. Through many of these one can discern a line of humor that was typical in the events that concerned Norval.

The Morrisseau I read about in the various blogs is quite a different person from the one I knew during the 1960s and 1970s. He was no oracle spouting philosophical prose, but rather a person that displayed a unique humorous character that ofttimes ignored the consequences of his actions. He was a larconic/humorous mix that one could imagine playing Tonto as a co-star to the Lone Ranger in a Western comedy series. The only criticism I have about the blogs I've read to date is the tendency for some to deify Norval. This tends to place him in the same category of an over paid rock star or athlete that retains public adulation for brief periods and is soon forgotten. Norval was fortunate to be a creative artist that will be remembered as one of greats, and possibly one that used his artistic bent to further the recognition of his people. He wasn't alone in this endeavour because there are other North American Indians (I don't like the new demeaning political "First Nation" term) who have done this in the visual and literary arts. You have posted some of these outstanding individuals on your blog.

Without passing any artistic judgement on the painting of Norval Morrisseau "Dance of the Weasels" that you have shown on your recent blog, it is a painting I can imagine Norval doing when he was in a humorous mood. Something I would like to buy if it was available and the price was right. When I saw it I burst out laughing because it gave me a brief glimpse of the old Morrisseau I knew. The "Dance of the Weasels" and the recent "Three Blind Mice" paintings would keep me laughing until I stepped off this planet.

There are some excellent comments and evaluations of note that appear in the contributors' postings on your blog. I liked the Bryant Ross and Thunderbear888 (Michael R. Moniz) views on authentication. These were excellent. There is bound to be differences of opinion about this, but without the input of those that agree or disagree, we would never solve that problem. If I can convince myself a Morrisseau is authentic, by the old gut feeling formula, then I am happy to accept the painting as such. But that doesn't mean I would accept it fully unless I got an expert's advice and some hard provenance or authentication.

So keep up the good work Spirit Walker. If I see any pertinent items on your blog, or other blogs, that relate to some of the letters I have on file, I would be happy to scan and sent these to the blog master to use as he/she wishes.

All the best.

Robert Lavack


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