Monday, December 21, 2009

'Old Art Scam' Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery and Gabor Vadas: Mr. Karl J. Burrows (Part I)

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* This post has been revised on January 9th, 2010 (click HERE)
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>>> NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG & Protecting the Legacy of Norval Morrisseau continues...
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Mr. Karl J. Burrows & His Art - Illustration by Spirit Walker
Source: www.karlburrows.com
~ Click HERE to view the art piece used for this Illustration
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Presented in this article is a full disclosure and admittance by Mr.Karl J.Burrows of fraudulent activites ('old art scam') involving Bryant Ross of Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery - Donald Robinson of Kinsman Robinson Galleries along with former manager Gabor Vadas, for the late Norval Morrisseau.This affidavit by Mr.Karl J.Burrows is in regards to assisted artwork sold by Bryant Ross, Don Robinson and Gabor Vadas that Mr karl J. Burrows painted.
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>>> The following is a statement by Mr. Karl J. Burrows dated August 5th, 2009 as per e-mail communication with Mr. James White who is an art dealer from Toronto, Ontario:
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/Click on image to Enlarge/
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"To Whom It May Concern,
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I, Karl J. Burrows, worked for Norval Morrisseau from 1989 until his death. My duties included sales, promotion, printing and painting.
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In February of 2005 Gabor Vadas [1] was in control of Norval's business affairs and in need of funds. I had finished some large canvas paintings, and brought them to Norval's house in Nanaimo, BC. Norval did a drawing on paper at this time. A portrait of Dawn Morrison. She was wittness to these events. This was the last painting that Norval ever signed, I painted it and Norval gave it to Dawn. Norval was able to sign a few paintings that day but not all that were ready, so he asked me to sign for him, I did. Gabor Vadas was aware of this and directed me to Bryant Ross [2]. Bryant Ross offered these paintings for sale and sold them. The deal was 50-50 with Mr. Ross and he paid me. I kept 50% and transferred the other 50% to Gabor Vadas' Canada Trust account. We repeated this until the paintings I had signed were all sold, then we did some more.

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In 1999 I had been instructed by Norval to paint the black lines on a roll of murals some small canvas and some papers because Don Robinson [3] had returned a batch of paintings to Norval with a note saying "can't do anything with these". Gabor was off fishing for a couple of months on one of the boats he purchased with Norval's money. Norval was broke and needed money so he asked me to finish some paintings and sell them. I sold a lot of paintings that summer, many that I painted and Norval signed. The paintings that Norval had started himself were mostly kept. Gabor Vadas and Don Robinson both were aware that I painted these pictures but decided to back date them rather than explain that they were mostly completed by an apprentice. Since this might effect the value. I was not paid for this work, my agreement with Norval was that I would be paid as the paintings sold. Gabor Vadas did not keep this agreement and in fact denies that I did the work. He still has some of the pictures and represents them as work done in the early 1990's and completly painted by Norval, some of which I signed.
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Norval once told me that I was his best student, but I must agree with Michele Vadas [4], I am not Norval Morrisseau. I believe that the market should be aware of these facts and that Gabor Vadas should live up to the deal I made with Norval.

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Signed and dated in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., 5th of August, 2009"

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[1] - Resident of Nanaimo, BC, who for the last 20 years of Norval Morrisseau's life functioned as Mr. Morrisseau's guardian, business manager and 'adopted' (although not legally so) son,
[2] - Director of the Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery, Aldergrove, BC,
[3] - Co-founder, with Diane Kinsman, of the Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto, Ontario,
[4] - Gabor Vadas' wife.
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>>> The following was part of Mr. Karl J. Burrows' e-mail dated July 27th, 2009 which preceded the above statement:
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/Click on image to Enlarge/
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"In the summer of 1999 Norval Morrisseau hired me to paint for him, 'Shapeshifter' was one of these. Norval instructed me to paint the black lines as well as the colours.
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During that time I worked on and finished many paintings for Norval. He left work with me at my home in Fort Langley, BC. In the fall of 1999 Gabor Vadas moved Norval out of White Rock to West Vancouver, at that time I was left with 5 murals 12 canvas and 20 papers, these paintings I finished and kept until the Winter of 2002. Norval was living in Nanaimo by this time, he invited me to get back to work at that time. I returned to paint for Norval until his death in December 2007. In the Summer of 2005 Norval could not sign his work, at that time both he and Gabor Vadas asked me to sign for him. I did, these paintings were sold to Bryant Ross of Aldergrove, BC, by myself and the funds were paid into Gabor Vadas' Canada Trust account.

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'Shapeshifter' is the last of these paintngs. Gabor still has some of these pictures and is offering them for sale, in full knowledge that they were signed by other than Norval Morrisseau.
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Karl
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>>> 'Coghlan Art - Mr. Karl J. Burrows'
------/Comparison I/
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> The following paintings (on the Left) were offered for sale at Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery in May of 2005 at their 'Norval Morrisseau Online Gallery' (click HERE* to view screen capture of the 'Norval Morrisseau Online Gallery' as of May, 2005) and are compared with paintings done by Mr. Karl J. Burrows (on the Right) that are currently exhibited at www.karlburrows.com.
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* The screen capture of the 'Norval Morrisseau Online Gallery' as of April, 2005 also include paintings 'Water Spirits' 1979 and 'Upper and Lower Worlds' 1978, that were initially exhibited as authentic only later to be labelled as 'Fake' by Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery owner. Bryant Ross of Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery stated that "These paintings were guaranteed to be original and authentic and were obtained from the artist or authenticated by him."-
These two paintings 'Water Spirits' & 'Upper and Lower Worlds' were last presented in our posted article The truth behind 'Open Letter to the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society'.
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NOTE: The following comparison of paintings done by Mr. Karl J.Burrows and pieces sold at Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery show strong similarities in composition and painting style to paintings assisited and completed by Mr. Karl J.Burrows. The paintings from Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery's for this comparison came off their website in April of 2005. -
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Comparison No.1 /'Coghlan Art' - Karl J. Burrows/
~ Left: "Spirit Fish", 54" x 62", 1998; Price: $14,500 cdn/$12,100 usd
~ Right: Painting by Mr. Karl J. Burrows /www.karlburrows.com/
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Comparison No.2 /'Coghlan Art' - Karl J. Burrows/
~ Left: "Bird Family", 40" x 62", 1998; Price: $12,750 cdn/$10,625 usd
~ Right: Painting by Mr. Karl J. Burrows /www.karlburrows.com/
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Comparison No.3 /'Coghlan Art' - Karl J. Burrows/
~ Left: "Birds and Fish", 39" x 62", 1998; Price: $12,625 cdn/$10,500 usd
~ Right: Painting by Mr. Karl J. Burrows /www.karlburrows.com/

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>>> 'Kinsman Robinson Galleries - Karl J. Burrows'
------/Comparison II/
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> The following paintings (on the Left) were originally published in Kinsman Robinson Galleries' publication "Norval Morrisseau Return to the House of Invention" /© 1997, 2005 by Norval Morrisseau/Kinsman Robinson Galleries; Key Porter Books Limited, ISBN: 1-55263-726-3/ and have been compared with paintings done by Mr. Karl J. Burrows (on the Right) that are currently exhibited at www.karlburrows.com.
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NOTE: The following comparison of paintings done by Mr. Karl J.Burrows and pieces exibited in Kinsman Robinson Galleries publication "Norval Morrisseau Return to the House of Invention" show strong similarities in composition and painting style to paintings assisited and completed by Mr. Karl J.Burrows.
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Comparison No.4 /'Kinsman Robinson Galleries' - Karl J. Burrows/
~ Left: "Mother and Son", 48" x 36", 1993; Page 127
~ Right: Painting by Mr. Karl J. Burrows /www.karlburrows.com/
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Comparison No.5 /'Kinsman Robinson Galleries' - Karl J. Burrows/
~ Left: "Ojibwa Shaman of the Eagle Clan...", 48" x 30", 1996; Page 85
~ Right: Painting by Mr. Karl J. Burrows /
www.karlburrows.com/
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Comparison No.6 /'Kinsman Robinson Galleries' - Karl J. Burrows/
~ Left: "Story Tree on the World", 59" x 53", 1990s; Page 33
~ Right: Painting by Mr. Karl J. Burrows /
www.karlburrows.com/
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>>> 'Norval Morrisseau (?) - Mr. Karl J. Burrows'
------/Comparison III/
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> The following painting (on the Left) was found on Internet and previously posted on this blog as an original artwork by Norval Morrisseau (click HERE) and is compared with painting done by Mr. Karl J. Burrows (on the Right) that are currently exhibited at www.karlburrows.com.
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NOTE: The painting on the right was done by Mr. Karl J.Burrows (the master's apprentice) and the painting on the left was supposedly executed by Norval Morrisseau. Both paintings show strong similarities in composition themes and styles. This demonstrates that Mr.Karl J Borrows as a highly skilled artist who was chosen by Norval Morrisseau for his exempliary attributes.
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Comparison No.7 /'Norval Morrisseau (?) - Karl J. Burrows/
~ Left: Painting by Norval Morrisseau (?), c. 1990's

~ Right: Painting by Mr. Karl J. Burrows /www.karlburrows.com/
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COMMENT: Considering all of the findings presented above one can only be confused as to who created the painting on the left?
Questions one might ask:
Was it done completely by Norval Morrisseau?
Was it Norval Morrisseau's artwork assisted by Mr. Karl J. Burrows?
Was it completely painted by Mr. Burrows and then approved or not approved by Norval Morrisseau? > Only God knows, and Mr. Karl J. Burrows!
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BLOG MASTER'S COMMENT: There is a stain of corruption in Yorkville Toronto and it's stench rises above the clouds all the way over to Aldergrove and Nanaimo British Columbia.
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Mr. Karl J. Burrows was a commissioned apprentice for Norval Morrisseau from 1989 till Norval Morrisseau's death in December 2007. There is nothing illegal about this kind of activity. The employment of Mr. Burrows was commissioned due to Norval Morrisseau's failing health caused by advanced Parkinsons disease.
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As best he could Mr. Morrisseau sketched out images later to be painted by Karl J. Burrows. At other times Mr. Burrows commenced and finished paintings along with signing them 'Norval Morrisseau' on the reverse of the canvas without Norval Morrisseau having any participation in the painting's creation other than the authorization of said works by Norval Morrisseau. This kind of assisted artwork does have it's own unique value. However, when a customer interested in purchasing an assisted piece of art has not been given 'full disclosure' as to the nature of the artwork's creation then a serious case of fraud is at hand.
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Mr. Burrows admits that Donald Robinson 'back-dated' many of these paintings that found their way into Kinsman Robinson Galleries of Toronto, Ontario - 108 Cumberland Street. The 'back dating' of paintings afterwards is illegal and criminal. This was done to decieve the public into thinking that the painting(s) for sale were from an earlier period where an assisitant like Mr. Karl J. Burrows to the painting would not be traced. It's akin to turning back the odometer on a used car to decrease wear and tear and getting a higher price...only worse in this case. Mr. Karl J. Burrows' involvment was never disclosed to customers that found their way into Kinsman Robinson Galleries and Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery looking to buy fine Canadian 'Woodland/Anishinaabe' art. The scope of this 'old art scam' perpetrated by these three individuals: Gabor Vadas, Donald Robinson and Bryant Ross runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Paintings that were done by Mr. Burrows also found their way into the collections offered for sale to the public by Bryant Ross of Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery in Aldergrove, British Columbia. Our screen capture of Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery's website in May 2005 (click HERE) clearly shows examples of paintings that appear to be done by Mr. Karl J. Burrows who will testify in a Canadian Court of Law if necessary as to him being the said author of any of these pieces. Please make note that these paintings for sale by Bryant Ross were being touted as 'genuine pieces' so as not to affect their market value.
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Anyone that has purchased a painting from these three individuals: Donald Robinson, Bryant Ross and Gabor Vadas between the years 1989 and 2007 should seriously consult Mr. Karl J. Burrows as to his involvment with said pieces of artworks that he assisted and/or painted solely by himself.
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What to do?
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Customers should ask for a full or partial refund of their monies if they were not given full disclosure as to the nature of the artwork created.
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As stated above 'assisted artwork has it's own unique value' but certainly nowhere near the very high price values of an original Norval Morrisseau painting created by the artist from start to finish.
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Paintings sold that had been 'back dated' is obviously of a criminal nature and intent to defraud the customer and is akin to nothing less than robbery and the authorities should be summoned for investigations. Call your local police department if you have reason to believe that you have purchased a painting that was 'back dated'.
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Mr. Karl J. Burrows can appear before a Canadian Court of law to testify in accordance to his disclosure appearing on his affidavit.
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In solving any case one must establish 'motive'. What was the motive behind these activities commited by Gabor Vadas, Donald Robinson and Bryant Ross?
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Market competion from earlier artworks by Norval Morrisseau have been selling at reputable galleries across Canada for many years. For example these works were also to be found at estate auctions mainly in Ontario such as Kahn Auctions and later 'Randy Potter Estate Auction' in Port Hope, Ontario. These works of art were mainly from Norval Morrisseau's 1970's period and many were of a superior nature. Unable to control this influx of paintings available to the public lead Donald Robinson with a 'National Post' article: "Morrisseau fakes alleged" dated May 18th, 2001 launched his efforts to corner the Norval Morrisseau Art Market through slander and smear campaigns of what he had purchased at Randy Potter Estate Auction.
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Mr. Robinson stated to the newspaper that he had purchased 28 paintings (click HERE) at Kahn Auctions sold by Mr. Randy Potter (auctioneer) calling them all 'fakes'. Oddly he never did ask for a full refund of his money from Randy Potter? It is funny that the same auction house where Mr. Robinson purchased his Morrisseaus now calling them 'fakes' were appraised and authenticated by his own gallery as being 'authentic' (click HERE). Mr. Robinson was not alone in his market controlling schemes. He found company with Gabe Vadas (click HERE, HERE & HERE) and Bryant Ross (click HERE & HERE) who were equally bent on a 'market monopoly of Norval Morrisseau's art.' The added advantage to all of this would of course lead the other galleries into ill-repute and eventual closing of the doors to business. By slandering the older works and causing a panic among collectors took away focus and attention from these three and their fraudulent activities at selling 'undisclosed back-dated assisted artwork to the public' in their art galleries for many years.
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"The 28 paintings purchased by Donald Robinson were donated afterwards to the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society for research purposes?"
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These 28 paintings were never given to the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society and was only a smoke screen for this man's deception (click HERE for a full disclosure of this story).
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The authentic paintings coming from the auction houses in Ontario were signed in Cree sylabics on the front and signed 'Norval Morrisseau' titled and dated. Some were just signed and dated with no title. The authentic painting that were being sold at auction houses gave Donald Robinson, Bryant Ross and Gabe Vadas serious competition problems. Mr. Karl J. Burrows and his assisted paintings that these three were pedalling were not signed on the backs. Unlike the authentic pieces being sold at auction houses which were almost always signed on the back as was Norval Morrisseau's custom to do so after completing a painting. Donald Robinson took care of that by signing his Mr. Karl J. Burrows assisted paintings himself and also back dating them to earlier periods in the 1990's.
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Their campaign to discredit Norval Morrisseau's paintings that were signed on the back with black drybrush coming from the 1970's period (click HERE, HERE, HERE & HERE) has now been fully revealed as part of their deceptive smear campaign against authentic works being sold ligitimately all across Canada in reputable galleries and auction houses. Forensic analysis and much money spent has proven this point with admissable evidence used in a court of law (click HERE, HERE & HERE).
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Their plan of 'contained market espionage' back fired on all of these people mentioned here; save for Mr. Karl J. Burrows whose art can be found exhibited at 'Harry's Bar in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where he's employed as a resident artist. Mr. Burrows continues to sell his own Norval Morrisseau Woodland/Anishinaabe style paintings to the public at this bar (click HERE) with full disclosure of himself being the said author of his own creations.
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'They thought that they could disrepute the authentic paintings coming out of an earlier period and therefore attract customers to their Karl J. Burrows assisted paintings from a much later period.'-
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CLOSING STATEMENT: The reason why I started this blog more than two years ago was due to false statements made by Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery and individuals* (a List of Individuals presented at the end of this paragraph) closely associated with the artist regarding authentic Norval Morrisseau paintings they call 'questionable', 'fakes', 'forgeries', 'abominations' and other defamatory attributes. I felt the need to create a platform that will speak for Norval when this priviledge to speak for himself was put in the hands of others that were only interested in their personal financial gain by putting the Legacy of Norval Morrisseau aside.
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I am a strong believer that Norval Morrisseau's Legacy belongs to his people "the Great Ojibway" and to family that bears his name - Morrisseau Family.
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"May the truth be told and known to all"
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Miigwetch

Ugo Matulić a.k.a. Spirit Walker
/spiritwalker2008@gmail.com /

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> For the purposes of this blog I would like to be referred to as Spirit Walker. Miigwetch!
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* - Donald (Don) Robinson of the
Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Bryant Ross of the Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery & Gabor (Gabe) Vadas, who for the last 20 years of Norval Morrisseau's life functioned as Mr. Morrisseau's guardian, business manager and 'adopted' (although not legally so) son.--
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To be continued...
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