When: January 25th, 2012;
Where: The Supreme Court of British Columbia, BC, CANADA
/Copyright by Norval Morrisseau Estate/
Family of renowned first nations artist Morrisseau finally settles estate dispute
By Vancouver Sun,
A legal battle between the family of renowned native artist Norval Morrisseau, often called the "Picasso of the North," and his "adopted" son was finally settled this week - five years after the acclaimed B.C. artist died.
Morrisseau's will left nothing to his seven children, who live in Ontario, and named the sole executor and beneficiary of his estate as Gabor Vadas of Nanaimo.
Morrisseau met Vadas during the artist's darkest days in the 1980s, when Morrisseau would sell paintings on the street in Vancouver's Gastown district to buy booze.
The artist once remarked about his past: "They speak about this tortured man, me, but I'm not. I've had a marvellous time, when I was drinking and now that I'm not, a marvellous time in my life."
Morrisseau became part of Vadas' family 20 years ago and they looked after him in Nanaimo, where he lived out his final years.
Vadas and his wife Michele were with Morrisseau when he died on Dec. 4, 2007, at a Toronto hospital. He was 75.
His death came a year after the artist had a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa - the first aboriginal artist to be honoured with a solo show at the gallery.
With his death began a series of disputes between his biological children and Vadas, including where to bury him. His children wanted him returned to Ontario to be buried, and Vadas eventually agreed.
Morrisseau was born at Sand Point Reserve near Beardmore, Ont., in 1932. He was self-taught and combined elements from his Ojibwa heritage with European influences to create a style known as the Woodland school of painting. As Morrisseau began using brighter colours in his later paintings, some called it "primitive surrealism" for its almost psychedelic imagery, which portrayed the legends and myths of his people.
Morrisseau was awarded the Order of Canada in 1978 and was acknowledged as Grand Shaman of the Ojibwa in 1986.
Vadas' Vancouver lawyer, Michael Miller, said Thursday an out-of-court settlement was reached before the civil trial was to begin next month.
The legal action involved a claim by Morrisseau's family that the will was invalid because their father did not get independent legal advice and was suffering from advanced Parkinson's disease, causing him to become mentally and emotionally frail.
The response filed in court by Vadas said Morrisseau did receive legal advice and was of sound mind when he signed his will in 1999.
Miller, co-counsel on the case with Manuel Azevedo, said both sides have agreed to co-manage Morrisseau's estate, which includes a number of paintings and the reproduction rights.
"The cooperation between the Morrisseau children and Mr. Vadas will help ensure that the integrity of the works of one of Canada's foremost artists is protected and maintained," he said.
"This settlement ensures that the children of Mr. Morrisseau are able to share in management of their father's artistic legacy while also recognizing the important role that the Vadas family played in Mr. Morris-seau's life," Ted Charney, co-counsel for the Morrisseau family, said in a statement.
Morrisseau's family wants to enhance the legacy of their father's art to aid his own native community through projects such as a memorial meeting house for artists, museum exhibits, retrospectives and proper management of the copyright of his art.
Miller said both sides are hoping the settlement will also bring some certainly to the art market.
One of Morrisseau's paintings recently sold for about $200,000 at auction, he said.
"He was a brilliant painter," Don Robinson, Morrisseau's principal art dealer in Toronto between 1989 and his death, said Thursday.
"This man is better recognized around the world than many Canadian artists," he added.
He recalled that Morrisseau instantly earned acclaim at his first art show in 1962 at the Jack Pollock gallery.
"He had almost overnight fame," he said. Morrisseau's shows at Robin-son's own gallery repeatedly sold out.
The Kinsman Robinson Galleries in Toronto, now run by his son, Paul Robinson, has scheduled a 50-year retrospective of Morrisseau's work next September.
© (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.
>>> Reference posts:
- The Morrisseau Time Machine (Part I),
- The Morrisseau Time Machine (Part II),
- The Morrisseau Time Machine (Part III),
- The Morrisseau Time Machine (Part IV),
- The Morrisseau Time Machine (Part V),
- The Morrisseau Time Machine (Part VI),
- Norval Morrisseau's children sue over will (Part I),
- Norval Morrisseau's children sue over will (Part II),
- Morrisseau Family Vs. Gabor Michael Vadas... A trial date: Februrary 27, 2012 ,
- Claim Regarding the Estate of Renowned Canadian Artist Norval Morrisseau Resolved,
- Morrisseau Family Foundation, - About the Morrisseau Family Foundation, - The Last Homecoming of Norval Morrisseau (Part I), - The Last Homecoming of Norval Morrisseau (Part II), - Norval Morrisseau's Family (Part I), - Norval Morrisseau's Family (Part II),
- In memory of Harriet Morrisseau (Kakegamic), - Norval Morrisseau's Final Resting Place, - Extra! Extra! Copyright for the Artistic Legacy of Norval Morrisseau has been registered! & - Certificate of Registration of Copyright for 'The Artistic Legacy of Norval Morrisseau'.
*The paintings in this post shows a celebration of Norval Morrisseau's first grandchild from his daughter Victoria and Norval Morrisseau with Gabor M. Vadas & Michele Vadas with their first-born child: "Victoria and Family", 1978, © Norval Morrisseau Estate; "The Family", c. 1990's; © Norval Morrisseau Estate /Collection of Gabor & Michele Vadas/