Friday, March 18, 2016

Norval Morrisseau, b. 1931

A combination of poor record keeping, the effects of living a nomadic lifestyle and a youthful desire has led to considerable confusion surrounding Norval Morrisseau’s date of birth.

Let's set the record straight. Correspondence appears to confirm Norval Morrisseau’s date of birth as March 14, 1931. Various media reports from 1962, at the time of Morrisseau's meteoric rise to the top of the art world, state his age as 31. Norval's then-manager confirmed that Norval agreed at the time. An avid collector of Morrisseau art, Dr. Bernhard Cinader, (D.SC Immunology, 1958), located Norval's medical records prior to his own death in 2001. Norval agreed with those records. Moreover, the year 1931 became an established fact when Norval Morrisseau applied for a Canadian passport to travel to France for “Magiciens de la terre” a contemporary art exhibit at the Centre Georges Pompidou in 1989.

Michele Vadas, Morrisseau's caregiver over twenty years, offered the following explanation. Norval, even if he knew, would have liked the fact that the year 1932 made him appear younger and that it placed his birth date in line with the year Elizabeth Taylor was born. Norval had a long-held fascination with Taylor, at times even comparing her to his own mother.
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