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.

The Norval Morrisseau painting on the right was featured on the cover of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (formerly Musée du Québec) catalogue in 1966 titled Norval Morrisseau. From page 68: "Mikkinak, the ancient sacred turtle of the Ojibway shaking tent rites. The turtle was the interpreter of the demi-gods who came into the shaking tent ceremony performed by the shaman. The lines represent continuation, and the balls, the never ending circle of power." This painting was sold by KRG in 2006. Private Collection. (USA, Texas) The painting on the left (available for sale) was painted by Norval Morrisseau in 1989 while the artist lived in the A-frame house at Aldergrove, B.C. on the Coghlan Art Studio property.
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