Thursday, December 1, 2011

Morrisseau As Supreme Storyteller

The Legendary Visual Artist at Age 68
Raven and The Sun:
One day in anchient [sic] times
there was no sun in the sky.
As the huge raven was flying
low by the ocean he seen [sic]
a very shinning pepple [sic] or stone.
Being very mischief and
curious took the stone into
its mouth and swallowed
it the the [sic] Raven flyed [sic]
into the sky feeling very funny
becane [sic] to vomit out comes
the stone bursting into flames
And light upon the earth
for the stone (being really
the sun) took orbit.
Today much respect is held
to Ravens by the Ojibwa
Indian for his curiousty [sic]
bought [sic] light upon the earth.
— Handwritten by Norval Morrisseau (in graphite, on 3-hole punched narrow-ruled paper) around the time of Jack Pollock's art class at the Beardmore Elementary School in Aug 1962. Photo: Alex Waterhouse-Hayward/The Globe and Mail.
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sold-Out Morrisseau Exhibit Opens Today

Today marks the opening of one of the most important Morrisseau art exhibits in 2011, Norval Morrisseau: Early Paper & Birch Bark, at Kinsman Robinson Galleries in Toronto. KRG is a leading gallery in Morrisseau art. Art gallery co-founder, Don Robinson, is regarded as one of the foremost dealers in Norval Morrisseau's art in Canada. KRG's distinguished clientele include the Royal Ontario Museum and The National Gallery of Canada. A number of Morrisseau artworks in public collections are certified as being of "outstanding significance" to Canada's national heritage. Although the exhibition is sold out, collectors will be pleased to know that a few carefully chosen last-minute additions — with the coveted and guaranteed 'Pollock Gallery' provenance — will be made available. We invite you to visit our gallery to view this exceptional collection of Morrisseau art.
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Friday, November 11, 2011

KRG To Showcase Sold-Out Morrisseau Exhibit

Norval Morrisseau's major dealer and principal gallery will showcase the sold-out exhibit, Norval Morrisseau: Early Paper & Birch Bark, from Nov 19 until Dec 17, 2011. Thirty-four original works of art from early-to-mid-1960s will be on display. Norval Morrisseau came to prominence following his first sold-out exhibition at Toronto's Pollock Gallery in 1962. Time Magazine (Sep 28, 1962) reported on Morrisseau's overnight success: “Few exhibits in Canadian history have touched off a greater immediate stir than Morrisseau's.” It's a statement that was true almost half a century ago and still holds true today. Kinsman Robinson Galleries represented Morrisseau from 1989 until his death in 2007 at age 75.

Illustrated: Lord Of The Water World, c.1966, Pencil crayon on Gestetner paper, 14x8.5 in, 35.56x21.59 cm (left); Shaman With Two Faces, c.1966, Pencil crayon on Gestetner paper, 14x8.5 in, 35.56x21.59 cm (right)
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Morrisseau's Painting Fox And Fish Theme

Handwritten (verso) by Norval Morrisseau — in graphite:
Fox and fish Theme
the Sun who gives Life to all
matter upon Earth
and this Picture Potrayes [sic]
Life's Interdepende [sic] on the Sun
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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Norval Morrisseau - Early Paper & Birch Bark

It gives me great pleasure to invite you to view our upcoming exhibition, Norval Morrisseau: Early Paper & Birch Bark, opening on Saturday, November 19 and continuing until December 17. This exhibition features 9 especially rare, early inks on birch bark and 14 rare, early pencil crayons on Gestetner paper, each circa 1966.

The majority of these exhibition works came to KRG from the heirs of two private collectors and patrons  Alfred Sawkins who lived in Kenora and Walter Ard who lived in Red Lake, both having acquired their artwork directly from Norval Morrisseau. Notable subject matter includes Bear Walker, Fox And Fish Theme, Lord Of The Water World, Mystical Thunderbird, c. 1960-64 and Ojibwa Midawiin Sacred Bear, c. 1959-62.

Please treat yourself to yet another outstanding exhibition by Norval Morrisseau — the iconic Canadian artist whose symbols and enduring artwork are synonymous with Canada's national identity.

Regards,
Paul Robinson, Director
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Chronology of Morrisseau Exhibitions

Over the past five years:
  • Norval Morrisseau: Early Paper & Birch Bark Nov 19 - Dec 17, 2011 at Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto
  • Legends: Norval Morrisseau and Woodland Artists Aug 27, 2011 - Apr 8, 2012 at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, ON
  • Norval Morrisseau 2010 Restrospective Oct 16 - Nov 20, 2010 at Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto
  • Norval Morrisseau: A Retrospective Nov 6 - 29, 2008 at Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto
  • A Tribute to Norval Morrisseau and the Woodland Artists Jul 4 - 6, 2008 at the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre, Red Lake
  • Norval Morrisseau Copper Thunderbird, A Celebration Of The Life And Art Of Mar 31, 2008 at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
  • Norval Morrisseau: Shaman Artist Oct 20, 2007 - Jan 20, 2008 at The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian George Gustav Heye Center, NYC
  • Norval Morrisseau: Shaman Artist Jun 15 - Sep 3, 2007 at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM sponsored by Kinsman Robinson Galleries
  • Norval Morrisseau - Sixteen Acrylics On Masonite Dec 1 - 23, 2006 at Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto
  • Norval Morrisseau: Shaman Artist Sep 29, 2006 - Jan 14, 2007 at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, ON sponsored by Kinsman Robinson Galleries
  • Morrisseau's Morrisseaus: The Artist's Collection Sep 28 - Oct 31, 2006 at Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto
  • Norval Morrisseau - Shaman Artist Feb 3 - Apr 30, 2006 at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Major Norval Morrisseau Exhibition To Open

KRG will announce a major new exhibition of Norval Morrisseau in the coming week. Opening on November 19, the exhibition will showcase rare, early works on paper and birch bark. The core of this collection is coming to KRG from two private collectors and patrons of Norval Morrisseau during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Stay tuned for more exciting details.
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Caregivers 'n More for Morrisseau

Gabe and Michele Vadas essentially provided Norval with the seeds of family rejuvenation. Contrary to the rumours and wild conspiracy theories, Norval Morrisseau wasn't "kept under guard, with no visitors allowed" nor was he "deliberately isolated" from his adult children. I'm told there was one instance when Morrisseau’s youngest son, Christian, showed up at the nursing home unannounced and he was turned away until staff okayed it with Gabe. Gabe explained that his instruction wasn't an attempt to keep Norval away from family. He made the request because a former friend previously had shown up unannounced and Norval became very afraid at the time. In my opinion, the Vadases took great pains to care for and protect Norval in a tender and loving way in every instance I've witnessed. Photo: Michele Vadas tends to Norval at the nursing home in Nanaimo (Sep 2004). Photograph © Roberts Studios Inc, 2004. Read more »
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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Morrisseau's Painting Bear Cubs Checking It Out

Bear Cubs Checking It Out, 1991 [SOLD]
Acrylic on canvas, 25x56in, 63.5x142.24cm
This playful Morrisseau instantly brings a smile to the viewer. Quite simply, it's a depiction of the iconic twin bears—a lively-feeling snapshot from nature. At a deeper level, the twinning of the bear cubs is symbolic of the duality the artist saw in life. The bear cubs are the natural cousins, or siblings if you will, to mankind. By using harmonious colours and careful composition, Morrisseau kept the painting's spirit alive for the viewer, never losing sight of the underlying strength of his subject matter.
Provenance:
Collection of Neil Doherty by bequest
Collection of Lynne Sullivan, Toronto
Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto
Acquired from the artist
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Counterfeit Warning

Internet users are advised that many paintings sold online and identified as Norval Morrisseau, may in fact be counterfeit, misattributed, or of doubtful origin. A word to the wise: "Certificates of Authenticity" are easily printable and mean nothing if not backed by a reputable dealer. A good provenance can help to establish authenticity, art-historical importance and title. Since Internet sellers are liable for the authenticity of the artwork sold and for conveying good title, buyers must ultimately rely on the honesty and knowledge of the individual seller. Read more »
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Morrisseau's Painting Surprise

Surprise, 1989 [SOLD]
Acrylic on canvas, 30x48in, 76.2x121.92cm
Painted while Norval Morrisseau lived in the A-frame house at Aldergrove, BC on the Coghlan Art Studio property, July 1989. Often Norval would paint outside in the sunshine on the back deck and, to his delight, the birds would come to visit him.
Provenance:
Private Collection, Downers Grove, IL
Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto
The Art Emporium Inc, Seattle, WA
Acquired from the artist
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Norval Morrisseau - Dateline 1962

1962 proved to be a pivotal year for Norval Morrisseau$900 from Senator Grosart freed Norval from financial constraint so that he could paint all summer long. Then he met Jack Pollock who immediately offered him a solo show which subsequently "sold out" within a matter of days. Nancy Robinson and her mother Edna Fulford knew Norval Morrisseau personally and supported his artistic endeavors during his early years. This photo of Norval Morrisseau was taken by Nancy just outside Beardmore, Ontario in August 1962. “I went out to Norval's home with Jack [Pollock] and one or two newspaper reporters and some others,” said Nancy. “I took this photo with my camera while the reporters took theirs.” Edna Fulford ran the lumber yard and hardware store after her second husband, Earl, died and Norval sometimes bought painting supplies from her according to her daughter. Original photo donated to the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives by Nancy Robinson in memory of her mother Edna Fulford (née Jackson), 2008.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When Jack Met Norval

During the summer of '62, Jack Pollock - artist and owner of The Pollock Gallery, Toronto - toured Northern Ontario giving week-long lessons in oil painting. Two ladies from the Beardmore Art Club took his course at Quetico Park.  When Jack said he had an extra week with no commitments, they invited him to Beardmore. That's how I came to take a week-long session in oil painting with Jack at the Beardmore Elementary School in Aug 1962.

My mother belonged to the Beardmore Art Club and sold the painting supplies for the group in her hardware store.  Norval Morrisseau came in often, she told me later, to buy supplies and had asked her and her manager, Jerome Faubert, if they thought his paintings were any good.  My mother didn't know, but when Jack came to Beardmore, she said she told Norval to take his paintings to the school to show him.



A meeting was arranged around the mid-point of Jack's stay in Beardmore.  I was standing beside Pollock when he first laid eyes on one of Norval Morrisseau's paintings - I heard a sharp intake of breath. I looked at Jack - he was speechless.  Then he said, without hesitation, "I'm going to have a show."

My mother bought two paintings from Morrisseau that fall as they were loading up a truck to go to Toronto for the exhibition.  She was rather backward in this kind of thing but she said, "Everyone was buying them." She liked these two, which she had framed and hung in her various living rooms until the end of her life. 

- Nancy Robinson, Sep 2011
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Morrisseau Art Sponsorship

Kinsman Robinson Galleries (KRG) proudly sponsored the landmark exhibition "Norval Morrisseau: Shaman Artist" at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, NM from 15 June-3 September 2007. An exhibition curated by IAIA Chief Curator Joseph Sanchez. While Morrisseau was unable to attend the opening festivities due to health concerns, it’s rumoured that Norval toured the exhibition in its entirety during an out-of-body experience. The above photo shows the exhibition banner which hung on the museum's courtyard-facing wall. Partnering with the IAIA Museum provided KRG with broad and distinguished recognition as Norval Morrisseau's major dealer and principal gallery. Celebrity attendees included Diana Krall and Elvis Costello. Click on image to enlarge.
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Morrisseau Family Ties

Never-before-seen photo shows Norval Morrisseau with the Vadas family: from left Michele, Gabe, Kyle and Norval in Nanaimo, BC (Sept 2004). The Vadas' proved themselves to be outstanding caregivers over the years never losing Norval Morrisseau's trust. While Gabe came from humble beginnings by his own account, he and his wife Michele were solely responsible for Norval Morrisseau's health and well-being over the last two decades of the artist's life. A close bond developed from their family relationship. Norval Morrisseau loved the two boys, Robin and Kyle, treating them at all times as his own grandchildren. Frequently, they appeared as subjects in the artist's later works. Images of the Vadas family began to appear in Morrisseau's paintings immediately following Robin's birth in 1990. Photograph © Roberts Studios Inc, 2004. Click on image to enlarge.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Warning to Morrisseau Art-Buying Public

The Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society (NMHS) issued the following public statement back in December 2006: "The NMHS is aware that there are many works available for sale to the public that are falsely attributed to Norval Morrisseau. When buying a work of art, ask the art dealer or art gallery about the origin and source of the work. Did it come from the artist directly, or from some other source? Inquiries about the work's provenance or history are advisable, as it is to become familiar with the artist's work and pricing in other galleries, auctions and exhibitions." Write to the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society, P.O. Box 4430, Station E, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B4  E-mail: norvalmorrisseauheritage@gmail.com
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Morrisseau Art Fraud Scheme

A large-scale art fraud scheme has cast a cloud over legitimate artworks by Norval Morrisseau. As Morrisseau himself became increasingly aware of the issue over the last decade of his life, he took decisive steps to tackle the problem. The artist identified specific forgeries and he mailed sworn declarations to known distributors. He created the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society (NMHS) as the sole authority to catalogue his life's work. He designated art experts capable of authenticating his work. Morrisseau sought the advice of a top law firm in an effort to protect his rights. Epilogue: To this day, the Internet is rife with misinformation relating to Norval Morrisseau and his artwork. And the disinformation continues.
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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Morrisseau At The Wick Inn

Never-before-seen photo shows Norval Morrisseau having dinner with Gabe Vadas at the top-rated Canadian hotel, Wickaninnish Inn on beautiful Chesterman Beach in Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island, BC (Fall 2004). "Norval was delighted watching the ocean," said Vadas. Photograph © Roberts Studios Inc, 2004. Click on image to enlarge.
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Morrisseau Signature Reference

KRG has built the case—beyond opinion alone—towards confirming and securing the authentication of Norval Morrisseau's art. Here's an example of Norval Morrisseau's genuine signature as it appears in a detail from the original painting, A Separate Reality. While Norval Morrisseau rarely dated or initialed the front (or back) of his canvases, this painting is an exception. By far, the vast majority of authentic Morrisseaus are signed only with Norval Morrisseau's Indian given name in Ojibwe syllabics. Morrisseau may have titled the back of a canvas or paper—typically in graphite—in a unique combination of upper and lowercase cursive script, complete with misspellings. There is a tremendous market for anything Morrisseau produced precisely because he became so popular, which didn't go unnoticed by the forgers. In an effort to curb the proliferation of fakes, Norval Morrisseau himself identified numerous forgeries in the final years of his life which he documented in various written statements. Furthermore, computerized analysis revealed that Morrisseau's authentic paintings "exhibit his commanding painting skills" and consistently demonstrate higher levels of "steadiness and coherence in curves."
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Friday, June 17, 2011

And Morrisseau Painted The Astral Plane

Norval Morrisseau's mural-size canvas—A Separate Reality—hangs prominently inside the Canadian Museum of Civilization at Gatineau, Quebec. Painted between the years 1979 and 1984, it serves as a potent reminder of the powerful subject matter—the sheer, awe-inspiring majesty—that Norval Morrisseau was fully capable of rendering at this pivotal time in his artistic career. Jack Pollock discussed Norval Morrisseau's work during the NFB film from 1974: "I saw a sense of purpose, a direction, and an inner strength. Looking at it from a painting point of view, I found an incredible sense of design, a power of imagery, and a uniqueness. You know, there is a sense of the unique. Obviously, he is one of the few people who have interpreted the legends and myths. But, his images of those demigods, the animal world, the Merman—things of this type were unique to himself, I felt. I felt that I had not seen this before." Click on image to enlarge.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Separate Reality: Norval Morrisseau

This 2005 documentary film was written, directed, edited, and produced by Paul Carvalho. The Montreal-based filmmaker had unprecedented access to Norval Morrisseau’s adoptive son, Gabe Vadas, to his biological son, David Morrisseau, and to the artist himself in the last years of his life. Carvalho delved into Morrisseau's controversial life: his sexual abuse at a Catholic boarding school, his past cocaine use and his involvement with Toronto Mafia boss, Albert Volpe. Carvalho interviewed Esther and Joseph Weinstein, early patrons who first discovered Morrisseau's "natural-born" talent and later presented a Morrisseau drawing to Picasso. The film was screened at the AGO in Jan 2005, attended by both Vadas and Carvalho, before it aired on CBC-TV's Life and Times in Feb 2005. Paul Carvalho has graciously permitted KRG to screen the film now and in the future.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Handwritten Notes by Norval Morrisseau

Handwritten notes by Norval Morrisseau offer tell-tale signs of authenticity. The story goes something like this: It was spring 1973 and Alfred worked at Walkey's Drug Store in Kenora as the pharmacist. He had married the town's head librarian, Rosellyn, in 1969. They both knew Norval Morrisseau and would lend him a few dollars from time to time, which he would repay either with a small drawing or cash, when he had it. Rosellyn would chat with Norval while he sat on the library steps creating his art. Alfred and Rosellyn became very fond of Morrisseau's artwork and various pieces hung in their homes in Kenora, Sarnia and Dunnville. After Rosellyn passed away, Alfred moved back to Kenora where his Norval Morrisseaus hung in his living room. Click on note to enlarge.
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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Collecting Norval Morrisseau

"Occasionally I'm asked why I have collected the works of Norval Morrisseau. A simple answer is that his works entice and excite me in their various representations of his Ojibwa people."

- Anonymous American collector in Norval Morrisseau: Return To The House of Invention  (Toronto: Key Porter Books, 2005) explains his passion for collecting Morrisseau art.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Morrisseau: the Documentary Evidence

Case in point: Here's an example of solid documentary evidence for Norval Morrisseau which gives a provenanced artwork its pedigree. The above image is a piece of corrugated cardboard that was used as backing material by the original framer—pretty much standard practice at the time. On closer inspection, it tells a detailed story of authenticity.  Fig. A is the label that was removed from the old frame which states: "Framed by Marko Studio, Thunder Bay "P', Ontario".  Fig. B is the postage meter label from Toronto, Ontario dated "30 III '70" or 30 Mar 1970 that was attached to the original corrugated box (from which this backing was cut) and sent by moulding manufacturer, Artistic Woodwork Co.  Fig. C is the handwritten address label marked: "Sold To Marko Studio, 9 S Cumberland St, Thunder Bay, Ont". The artwork that came out of this frame is an original acrylic on paper by Norval Morrisseau dated 1969, of Thunder Bay origin, which was restored, reframed and sold during KRG's 2010 Retrospective—it came with incontrovertible proof of authenticity.  Click on image to enlarge.
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Set the Record Straight - CBC Statement

KRG would like to independently correct Mr. Matulic's inaccurate comment about CBC reporter Melissa Fung by pointing out that Norval Morrisseau did in fact instruct KRG to place an advertisement in Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, which stated the following: "A message from Norval Morrisseau, wabino-wiin shaman artist, 'For the record, I would like to state that Kinsman Robinson Galleries are my sole authorized representatives in Canada. Artworks sold by Kinsman Robinson Galleries are guaranteed to be by the artist Norval Morrisseau'." Furthermore, Mr. Matulic neglected to mention that the single complaint against KRG, brought before the Competition Bureau by Mr. Otavnik, was deemed without merit and promptly dismissed. Click on ad to enlarge.
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Morrisseau in His Own Words

"I go to the inner places. I go to the source. I even dare to say, I go to the house of invention where all the inventors of mankind have been."

- cited by Donald C. Robinson in his introduction to Norval Morrisseau Exhibition: 'Honouring First Nations' (Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto, 1994)

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Morrisseau Art for Your Portfolio

When it comes to making a good investment in Canadian art—more specifically in Norval Morrisseau's art—three things to look for will stand you in good stead. Be sure to find artwork of 1) exceptional quality, 2) rarity and 3) impeccable provenance. KRG's current holdings include:
  1. Sacred Trout Through The Portal of Time, 1978 (illustrated) Acrylic on masonite, 23x31inches, 58.4x78.7cm, Provenance: Private collection, Ontario; Collection of Susan A. Ross, C.M.; The Pollock Gallery, Toronto.
  2. Mikkinak, The Turtle, 1989 Acrylic on canvas, 48x36 inches, 121.92x91.4cm, Provenance: Private Collection, Maple Ridge, B.C.; Acquired from the artist.
  3. Sacred Trout, 1989 Acrylic on canvas, 36x48inches, 91.4x121.92cm, Provenance: Private collection, Whistler, B.C.; Acquired from the artist.
    By making the right choices in fine art, you can buy a tangible asset that's closer to your heart and at the same time offers some protection, liquidity and a financial return on your investment.
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    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    Of Morrisseau and Provenance

    The best provenance—or detailed history—includes documentary evidence of past owners and their locations giving a Morrisseau painting a pedigree which makes it far more valuable than an 'unprovenanced' artwork. Examples might include a handwritten letter by Norval Morrisseau to the original purchaser, a copy of a cancelled cheque to Morrisseau as proof of payment or some other documentation, by the original owner, which tells the story of the purchase from the artist. Generally speaking, provenance is an acquired characteristic of value that should be accounted for in fair market valuations. But when it comes to Morrisseau and provenance, an old property law doctrine called caveat emptor or "let the buyer beware" has never rung truer. The prudent collector should beware of blanket statements like "Provenance leading directly to the artist" that are not backed up by verifiable facts. Likewise, unexplained gaps in a painting's history can be cause for concern. Ideally, the origin of a painting should be traced back to the time that it was created by the artist. Our unique history with Norval Morrisseau has led at least one gallery owner to go so far as to assert a provenance attributed to KRG when, in fact, none existed. If you have any doubt about authenticity, contact a trusted dealer to give you his or her opinion.
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    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Two Authentic Morrisseau Artworks Revisited

    This side-by-side comparison makes readily apparent the common design elements shared by these two genuine Norval Morrisseaus which were painted decades apart. The painting on the left, from 1989, depicts the turtle's front and hind legs, as well as head and neck, in a similar fashion to its predecessor from the early-to-mid 1960s. The more recent painting portrays the turtle at a slightly more dynamic angle with the Green Man motif contained within the turtle's body. The vibrant colour and balanced composition set the more recent work apart. Showing the skill of a master painter, Morrisseau balanced the circles of life by alternating their colour and size while keeping their number consistent. The demigod's horns become a central design element without diminishing the power of this iconic image.

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    Set the Record Straight - Otavnik v. Sinclair

    KRG would like to independently correct Mr. Matulic's inaccurate comment about settling the Otavnik matter by pointing out that Mr. Otavnik agreed that he had no valid claim against KRG and agreed to dismiss his lawsuit against KRG without any payment of any kind by KRG and that, as part of the settlement, Mr. Otavnik signed a release confirming that KRG's settlement was not any sort of admission of liability.
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    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    Reasons for Judgment - Otavnik v. Sinclair

    "I am not prepared to accept the evidence of Mr. McLeod for the plaintiff over that of Mr. Robinson for the defendant as to the authenticity of the painting."

    - The Honourable Justice M. Donald Godfrey, Small Claims Court, Superior Court of Justice on the 11th of January 2011 (Otavnik v. Sinclair)

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    Saturday, February 26, 2011

    Morrisseau Art and Authenticity

    When it comes to Morrisseau's art, authenticity has been much debated. It's a topic that is becoming more relevant than ever, particularly if you are investing in art as a collector or wish to sell a painting, drawing or print. You may have some unanswered questions about the artwork's history or prior ownership particularly if it has not been authenticated or there is any doubt surrounding its true origin.

    Art experts with a thorough knowledge of an artist can generate sufficient consensus within the art community to establish a work of art's authenticity. KRG has built a formidable reputation in the art world over 30 years. Don Robinson is widely regarded as one of the foremost experts in Morrisseau art.

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    Morrisseau Art of Exceptional Calibre and Significance

    By deliberately limiting his palette, as he did in certain exceptional works from the '70s, Norval Morrisseau emphasized the beautiful flow as well as the linear shape design in his masterful compositions.  Animal Unity (1978) Acrylic on canvas, 50x108 in, 127x274 cm, reproduced on page 158, The Art of Norval Morrisseau (Sinclair/Pollock, Methuen Publications, 1979), shows the beauty in its rhythms and sense of sparseness, with a lot of emphasis on the design's linear aspects.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Who was Norval Morrisseau?

    A new book could be a "game changer" for the Morrisseau art market. Dr. Carmen Robertson, a professor at the University of Regina (UR), received a federal grant to answer a key question:  Who was Norval Morrisseau?  She is currently working on a SSHRC-supported monograph on Norval Morrisseau:
    "Historically, this Anishnaabe artist has not fit neatly into the history of Canadian art. As the mishomis or grandfather of a new artistic movement within Indigenous contemporary art, Morrisseau challenged the Canadian art establishment to make a space for a discourse related to Indigenous aesthetics.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    'First Nations Drum' Covers Forgery Issue

    In an article from Feb 2010, titled "Norval Morrisseau Legacy Tainted By Forgery" published by First Nations Drum (billed as "Canada's National Native Newspaper"), Frank Larue writes:
    "Unfortunately, Norval Morrisseau’s body of work is now being defamed by painters of low character attempting to cash in on his reputation by selling paintings that are fakes. Norval’s death has opened the door for a group of frauds who are producing forgeries done in Norval’s style and selling them as originals ...

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Norval Morrisseau's McKenzie Island House

    Pictured is the house on McKenzie Island where Norval Morrisseau lived for some time, and where he first met Selwyn Dewdney in 1960. After spending time together travelling by canoe throughout Northwestern Ontario, they coauthored the book, Legends of My People, The Great Ojibway (The Ryerson Press, 1965.) The house has been occupied by the same couple for the past 18 years. Essentially, it hasn't undergone any major renovation since Morrisseau lived there. Courtesy Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre.
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    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Susan Ross' Instrumental Role

    In an excerpt from Pollock's memoir titled Dear M, Jack recalls how he met Morrisseau with the help of Susan Ross: "The first stop was Port Arthur, where I met a wonderful lady named Susan Ross, a graduate of the Ontario College of Art, married to a judge, James Ross. She used to go live on reserves and do portraits and drawings of Indian life. She kept telling me about this Indian who painted on birch bark ...

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Jack Pollock's Last Visit

    Gallery owner and artist, Jack Pollock, dropped into KRG back in 1992 after leading one of his art walks—it would be his last visit. He told Don Robinson that he was glad that KRG represented Morrisseau at this stage in the artist's life. In an excerpt from Pollock's memoir titled Dear M, Jack recalls the first time he met Norval, "As I walked in, [Morrisseau] scared the sh*t out of me because he started chanting and banging a drum. He was having fun, really having me on ... But then he went over to the table and picked up a brush and did this magnificent painting ... I got goosebumps. I knew he was a genius." Courtesy McClelland & Stewart. Jack Pollock is pictured seated inside KRG viewing Morrisseau's mighty Thunderbird painting.

    Here’s a follow-up post that you'll want to read: When Jack Met Norval
    See also: Jack Pollock at Wiki
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    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Don't be misled by COAs

    Certificates of Authenticity (COA) are easily printable and mean nothing if not backed by a reputable dealer. Dealers who represent artists or their estates automatically have access to primary source information that can be used to authenticate works. A dealer with an extensive history of handling a specific artist's work will also build up an archive of information as well as a body of experience that can help resolve questions of authorship and title. Unfortunately, false and forged COAs are commonplace in the art market. And don't be confused: COAs and appraisals are two distinctly different instruments.

    Friday, January 28, 2011

    Picasso and Morrisseau in France

    Here's a historic photo taken in the French Provençal town of Saint-Paul de Vence in 1969. Picasso and Morrisseau exhibition posters appear together in this storefront window. Herbert T. Schwarz (M.D., collector, author and art promoter) was instrumental in organizing Morrisseau's first solo exhibition in France at Galerie Saint-Paul from 3 - 24 Sept 1969 titled "Norval Morrisseau: Légendes Indiennes du Grand Nord Canadien" (under the patronage of Eugène Bussière, Consul General in Marseille.) Schwarz also knew Picasso quite well. Since Picasso was exhibiting in the South of France, Schwarz visited Picasso while promoting Morrisseau and tending to exhibition details there. Photo courtesy The Ottawa Citizen.
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    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    Morrisseau: À la fois chaman et conteur

    Norval Morrisseau est sans conteste le plus grand artiste amérindien de tous les temps. Chaman et conteur, il a contribué à l’émergence d’un des mouvements artistiques nord-américains le plus coloré, celui de l’école des beaux-arts de Woodland. Ardent défenseur de l’environnement avant l’heure, il disait: “Mon peuple croit que la terre est sa mère et que nous sommes les enfants de la terre. En esprit, nous ne faisons qu’un avec notre environnement.” Ses créatures sont souvent reliées symboliquement par une ligne continue renforçant l’idée que tout est interrelation, thème récurrent dans son œuvre entier. Des êtres puissants hantent sa figuration, voyageant dans un monde parallèle. Des portraits de famille intimistes dépeignent les traditions orales ancestrales, transmises de génération en génération.

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Morrisseau Defends Against Fraud

    On Wednesday, Oct 24, 2007, the Toronto Sun newspaper published an article which chronicles Norval Morrisseau's final efforts to defend himself—his reputation and his market—against widespread fraudulent activities. The iconic Canadian painter had already established a home base in the GTA and Morrisseau was preparing to face the forgery issue head-on in the Ontario Courts when his life ended suddenly after he suffered complications from Parkinson's.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Notable Works By Norval Morrisseau

    When it comes to making a good investment in Canadian art—more specifically in Norval Morrisseau's artwork—three things to look for will stand you in good stead. Be sure to find artwork of 1) exceptional quality, 2) rarity and 3) impeccable provenance. KRG's notable current holdings include:
    1. Adam & Eve, c. 1966-70 (illustrated) Acrylic on kraft paper 56x37inches, 142.24x93.98cm, Provenance: Private collection, Ontario; Collection of Paul & Mary Okanski, Red Lake.

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Dr. Ruth Phillips Speaks About Morrisseau

    NMHS Society member, Dr. Ruth Phillips (Canada Research Chair in Modern Culture and Professor of Art History, Carleton University), speaks about A Primitive Effect on the Pictures:
 Norval Morrisseau and the Global Emergence of Indigenous Modernism at an upcoming lecture series entitled Culture and Identity on the Global Market on 24 February 2011, 6:00 pm, Chandler Auditorium, Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida.