Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Blog Master's Public Address I



"Untitled", 14"x30", © 1960 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

I would like to thank you all for your comments posted on this "NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG". It is proving to be an exciting success as I have always anticipated it would be. The subject is dynamic and evolving to say the least. Allow me to introduce myself with a name that I have chosen - Spirit Walker.

The subject of my passion is Norval Morrisseau's art. He is one of the very few living artists who started a completely new art movement: the Woodland or Medicine School of Art, now called the Anishnaabe School of Art, and has been dubbed the Father of Canadian Aboriginal Art. I believe as well as many others do that we are witnessing the rise of a Star in the World of Art with Universal proportions. My extensive knowledge and research along with my personal collection which I have amassed over the years are what I draw my knowledge base from. It seems like almost every day I find a new and fantastical correlation within this man's work. It is never ending. The scope and depth of Morrisseau's visions throughout his lifetime have left an impact on my soul that I cannot describe in words. "Perhaps I should paint as Morrisseau did to express feelings otherwise would not be explicable within my vocabulary?" His Art Work is my passion.

Challenge keeps all of us going and is the spice of life. Norval Morrisseau has given us plenty to flavour our appetites. He uses tenderness and harsh realities associated with purifying our souls painted as images on canvas. In the end it is our choice to fall or RISE! Norval Morrisseau's works of Art have been challenged on many levels by different people. The issue of authenticity of his works can only be drawn out of secrecy by revealing the necessary knowledge for the seasoned collector and the novice wishing to swim in this Golden Ocean which is before us by exposing that which has been kept secret. The novice needs to know the precious tidbits of information at his or her disposal to make a sound and wise decision on purchasing Woodland Art created by the Master...Norval Morrisseau. I will desiminate whatever knowledge I have in this regard and keep a sensitive eye on any new developments as they will arise. Should I stray, please feel free to comment so as to put me on the right path again. I Thank you.

This information will of course prove to be invaluable to all collectors now and in the future. I am an authority in my own right. Many people have asked for my opinion and value my judgement which is not backed up by monetary gain but for the truth to be known and recorded for posterity. So let it be written so let it be done. All topics are open for discussion. I thank the Creator for allowing me this venue. Let us not disappoint but release the store house of Spiritual knowledge left to us painted on the canvas of Norval Morrisseau's legacy. This is my Constitution and Manifesto. Let us begin...

Spirit Walker

/The painting in this posting shows Medicine men receiving Spiritual powers from the Sacred Serpent in the presence of the Great Mystery (Kitchi Manitou) who's giving protection in all Four directions to all living beings upon Mother Earth./


Anonymous said...

Stated by Spirit Walker...
The issue of authenticity of his works can only be drawn out of secrecy by revealing the necessary knowledge for the seasoned collector and the novice wishing to swim in this Golden Ocean which is before us by exposing that which has been kept secret. The novice needs to know the precious tidbits of information at his or her disposal to make a sound and wise decision on purchasing Woodland Art created by the Master...Norval Morrisseau. I will desiminate whatever knowledge I have in this regard and keep a sensitive eye on any new developments as they will arise.

This is the second time you have mentioned you will reveal what to look for but you never do! What is stopping you from actually listing what we should be looking for? I raised the question elsewhere in this Blog but no one wants to give answers. How do you determine if it is a fake or not? I am sure this start a lively debate between two opposing sides! What evidence do each side have to support their knowledge?

I am a novice collector and have three paintings. I look at them know and constantly question if the are authentic or not - realizing it may not matter if you bought from a gallery or auction house. Shed some of your wisdom - anyone???

Spirit Walker said...

I will be posting my opinions, with detailed explanations, about the issue stated in the above comment. Just, please, give me some time to prepare everything to be presentable for the format of this Blog.

Thank you for patience and understanding...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Spirit Walker...I look forward to reading it and hopefully gaining a better understanding about the paintings hanging on my walls!

Anyone else want to share their take on elements of an authentic Morrisseau.

Anonymous said...

TO the inquirer:
Go to Galleries where established authentic Morrisseau's exist,Glenbow, McMichael, etc. Research different media that contain authentic
Morrisseau's. Observe with your own eyes and establish threads of traits that you see in each of such established works. Trust in your own judgement and intuition(your gut)and help to determine what is authentic and not. Aid common sense with known knowledge and trusted experts.

Anonymous said...

I can give you some real hardcore factual information on how to tell an original Morrisseau from a fake.
First see if your painting has been painted from edge to edge and has no white border to it like a photograph would have.You will see this over the wooden stretcher as the canvas is stapled and overlapped onto the wooden stretcher.Morrisseau always painted from edge to edge of each canvas.Because back in the day he would sell his pieces by the square inch.So therefore he would recieve more money for them if they calculated to a greater square footage.Smart guy.
Look for signs of ageing on the reverse of the canvas and soiling.A painting that is 30 to 40 years old will not display a bleach white appearance to the canvas.Overtime the canvas begins to yellow or become tawny beige in colour.This is natural due to pollution in the air and oxidization.
Ask your self this question "My painting is dated 1977,but the canvas on the reverse is bleach white...looks like it was manufactured a few months ago?" If it looks too new it probably is...you see?
I know that Morrisseau used rather dull matte paint colours for his early works in the 50's,60's and 70's. The 80's stuff was electric in colour so if your piece is dated from the 60's and 70's and has been painted with electric colours of blue,red,green,yellow and so on I would be careful about it's authenticity.There is no clear cut date for the transition from matte acrylics to electric acrylics.Early 80's pieces I have seen are still matte acrylics and not electric in hues which came at a latter date.But I have seen a few examples of pieces dated from the 1970's that are electric in colour.
Look for signs of paint application done by using your finger instead of a brush.Morrisseau was known to paint with his fingers and so the paint is applied with this tell tale characteristic.What artist likes to clean brushes all the time? When it's so easy to dip your finger in a can of paint and go to it for a different colour!
Morrisseau also used HOUSE PAINTS to work with.That would require lab testing and they would look for LEAD content in the sample for this.New paint today is manufactured without lead.The ingestion and exposre to lead has been the bane of many an artist eg.Van Gogh and is probably why Norval Morrisseau is suffering from a Nervous dis-ease like Parkinsons because of his many years of exposure to the chemicals found in the paints he used.
Forensics can also determine the year of the paint manufactured but that would cost big bucks to find out.However it would be definitive proof if your piece dated 1972 was painted with material manufactured in 1989.This would be cause for worry wouldn't you say?
If Morrisseau Titled the piece look for spelling mistakes.He was a bad speller.
Look for contamination in the paint such as bits of dirt,sand,and tobacco embedded in the acrylic paint.
Look for imperfections such as spotting of different colours not associated with the piece.
Morrisseau would stack his finished paintings one on top of the other before allowing them to dry completely and this would sometimes cause smearing and spotting onto the painting stacked below it.
When he signed his signature in English on the reverse look for his name "Norval" painted on an angle to his last name "Morrisseau" and again if he dated the piece that number too would be offset on an angle.Some paintings even have his last name written as MORRISEAU" with only one letter "S" instead of two letter S's.That's because of Jack Pollock mispelling his name back in the 1960's I believe.
Look for that characteristic copyright symbol and how he drew that with a single stroke of his paint brush with out it leaving the canvas in a clock wise manner.
When you see the signature/Title/and or Date on the reverse you will notice that Morrisseau did not dip his brush over and over to complete the signature's letters to clear perfection.He would dip his brush in his can of paint once and trail the brush to complete his name or title giving it the tell tale sign that the brush tip is running dry of paint and the letters or numbers are progressively becoming fainter towards the end of the word or his name.
We all write our caligraphy a certain way.We all write our numbers a certain way.I know how Morrisseau would paint(write) a number 8 and I know how he would paint his letters N,M and S in his name.I can't tell you how this looks unless I show a picture of what I mean.But I will say this he painted his letter N in two ways.
Look for a canvas that is NOT EVENLY cut in it's dimensions.The individual lengths of each side of the piece will be different in measurements;example one side will measure 24 inches and the opposite side will measure at 23 inches and the top and bottom will be different aswell or the same if the piece came off a roll.If your piece has already been stretched and framed this will prove difficult to prove because your framer has already compensated the irregularity in the cut piece of canvas and has compromised for the best fitting that can be achieved for that particular piece onto it's wooden stretcher he is about to make for you.Morrisseau would cut a piece of canvas off a roll and not be too particular with measuring it's accuracy to make a perfect square or rectangle.One can see this obvious sign by looking at a piece that has already been stretched and framed but due to it's irregular cutting by Morrisseau;the framer had no choice but to find a best fit by sacrificing part of Norval's image in the painting.In other words the painting's image is cut off and demonstrates imbalance and constriction you see?

I Hope this helps you folks a little bit and if I can share any other bits of knowledge about this I will let you know.

Kind Regards
eBay Vendor Thunderbear888

I hope this answers some of your questions.Now go to your painting and have a closer look knowing what you have learned.

Anonymous said...

THunderbear888 and others - I posted the frist anonymous post and want to thank you for all the great and interesting information.