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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