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.