A 61 page Special Investigation: MAJOR UPDATES – Feb 24, 2015
Preamble: This analysis sets out to compare two historic documents from 1997, both, supposedly created in the exact same time frame:
– an alleged Norval Morrisseau painting “Child With Headdress 1997,” (which Toronto Canada’s Kinsman Robinson Galleries has had for sale for years), and
– a contemporaneous “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997” shot of Norval Morrisseau “dancing” the very same year, in order to:
– assess the possible authenticity, authorship, and provenance of the painting, and then to further examine its validity by reviewing other compromising contemporary evidence, to see how its “provenance” claimed by Kinsman Robinson Galleries in 2015, stacks up with the historical record.
Historian, Investigative Journalist – This highly unique investigative analysis, into comparing the “visual” with the “documentary” record, was only possible because of the rare combination of recognized professional skill sets possessed by longtime Canadian historian John Goldi csc, who graduated with an Hon. Ba. in Modern History from the University of Toronto in 1966, later pursuing graduate studies leading to a B. Ed. and an M.A. in History. He has carried out major historical and investigative journalism contracts for Parks Canada, CBC, and History Television. HISTORIAN – CURATOR
Visual Artist – For decades he has also, been one of Canada’s leading visual artists, in two fields that are rarely found together at the professional level: Director of Cinematography and film and television editor. NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL
Cinematographer – for his decades of work as a Director of Cinematography he was awarded a “csc” the highest honour awarded by the Canadian Society of Cinematographers for “outstanding achievement in the art of cinematography.” CINEMATOGRAPHER
Film & Television Writer/Editor – as a decades long, full-time professional film and television editor, of prime time television broadcast programs, he has won over 130 international television awards for his work for the Discovery Channel, CBC, History Television, Alliance-Atlantis, etc. EDITOR
No Requisite, Relevant or Recognized Professional Credentials or Skill Sets – We note with interest that two people we mention repeatedly in this article, Donald Robinson, and his acolyte Ritchie Sinclair, DO NOT HAVE any of these independently certified credentials, or anything remotely similar, in the visual arts, or in documentary examination (history or journalism). In fact court after court, and judge after judge, have holus bolus, brusquely dismissed and/or rejected both of their claims to having credentials or believable or credible expertise of any kind: NOT in the arts in general; specifically NOT in Norval Morrisseau art knowledge; NOR in fields of handwriting or documentary analysis sciences of any kind.
The Big Zeros – In short, in one word their Morrisseau art expertise is – NONE, NIX, NADA… And what they don’t know, they make up…
In fact, to my knowledge, I know of no two people in the history of Canadian art, who have been so totally, repeatedly, and universally discredited by judge after judge, after listening to their claims regarding Morrisseau art and so-called fakes they allege.
From Silly to Surreal and Back Again – Donald Robinson in court, before Judge Godfrey, acknowledged to Joe Otavnik on Mar 18, 2010, that he had no credentials, but that he still had a “right to give his opinion,” even if – and here it gets surreal – it is actually completely “groundless.” Otavnik is questioning Robinson’s so called expertise and truthfulness in writing a 100 page report claiming his painting “Jesuit Preist 1974” was a fake.
OUCH!!! Robinson had claimed it took him six months of serious study and research to write his report. Otavnik proved in court that Robinson had only had possession of the painting, after seeing it for the first time, for 2 (two) months, tops, before he published, his fakes allegation. Like so many other times when he is caught out – some distance from the truth – it appears that Robinson, not his artist, is the one suffering from debilitating Alzheimer’s.
“Jesuit Preist 1974” was later also totally authenticated by a forensic scientist, who unlike Robinson, had real, independently recognized credentials in the field. In fact, ALL FOUR of Robinson’s so-called “expert reports,” would be discredited and trashed by judges or lawyers for whom they were prepared.
Here’s the reason, in a courtroom exchange from Otavnik v Sinclair in 2010.
“Otavnik: And all of your, your handwriting analysis is your own analysis, that’s it?
“Robinson: Uh, yes
“Otavnik: And you have no, you have no… you have no education in that? You are not qualified to give an opinion on any handwriting? If I submitted handwriting analysis to you, as an expert, you couldn’t do it.
“Robinson: I am not a handwriting analysis expert, no.
“Otavnik: So what, what in this report is actual fact besides your opinion?
“Robinson: I thought the purpose of a report is to give you my opinion.
“Otavnik: Well, no, it’s using, using fact or, or a scientific method. If I were to get a handwriting analysis expert, he’d say, “I’m educated in X, Y, Z, I did this type of an analysis, I am qualified.” But yourself, you’re not qualified to give a handwriting analysis, is that correct?
“Robinson: I still have the right to do so if I wish.”
(Otavnik v Sinclair, Court Trans. Mar 18, 2010)
During a three-year-long trial, in Hatfield v Artworld, another judge, Deputy Judge Paul J Martial, listened to Donald Robinson giving similar kinds of sworn testimony, on different days, for many, many hours on the witness stand. And found it, in a word – incredible.
(I also saw and heard all the detailed testimony, in both court cases, from ten feet away. And then re-read it all in the transcripts, to make absolutely sure that I recalled properly, what I had seen and heard in person from the public gallery.)
I have observed many judges over the years, but none who demonstrated such a meek and disarming persona, on the bench, as Deputy Judge Paul J Martial. No other judge kept their cards so close to his/her vests; none betrayed such singular non-disclosing circumspection, in whether he was wavering towards the Plaintiff or Defendant in conducting the business in his courtroom.
In fact, after the last day of trial, I left the courtroom somewhat disenchanted, worried about the possible outcome, because, to my “reading” of the judge, he just didn’t “seem to get it.” After all we had both seen the same evidence from the same witnesses.
Which makes his totally absolute and scorching judgment, ten months later, on Mar 25, 2013, all the more remarkable.
Judge Martial pointedly repeated what Justice Mogan had found, 17 years before, in assessing Robinson’s credibility and honesty, in 1996. Martial recopied Mogan’s devastating finding in his own judgment: Robinson has “a hopeless conflict of interest in trying to be objective about the quality or value of Morrisseau’s work when he is currently the exclusive distributor for Morrisseau’s new works in Ontario.”
Adding his own supporting and damning examples, Judge Martial further concluded:
“It was Robinson’s opinion that Randy Potter sold some 2000 “fake” paintings… The Court finds it obvious that Potter would be seen as a significant competitor.” (ed: And one to target with allegations of fakes for which Robinson could never demonstrate any credible proof.)
“Mr. Robinson also testified as to his personal dealings with Morrisseau paintings. It was his view that there were a large number of forgeries. It was also clear that his personal views and business interests conflicted with his professional opinion since it was in his interest along with Mr. Vadas to maintain the price of Morrisseau paintings which would not otherwise be the case if the market was flooded with paintings sourced from Potter auctions. The Court rejects his expert report and his conclusion that the Morellian analysis, style, colour, and provenance all pointed to forgery.”
“His (Robinson’s) testimony” was “inconsistent” and “confusing” and “overlapped into the area of handwriting and included an analysis of syllabic and English handwriting, areas for which he was not qualified. He has no formal training as an expert witness in handwriting analysis and his evidence is rejected.”
Which is a judge’s way of saying “you have no credentials; you have no facts; I don’t believe a word of what you say, nor what you write; what you’re claiming is all total bullspit to me…”
Judge Martial went on about Robinson’s lack of credibility regarding the authentication of paintings during exactly the period in which “Child With Headdress 1997” was supposedly painted by Morrisseau.
“Robinson agreed that he probably offered for sale Morrisseau paintings that turned out to be fakes. He also agreed that even he himself had difficulty assessing the authenticity of Morrisseau paintings around 1999-2000.” A failing which, to my mind, would have been even worse, in the years before, when, according to his own testimony in court, he was even a lesser expert. What is less than “a 10% expert” which he said he was at the time…?
Was one of those “fakes” “Child With Headdress 1997?”
“He (Robinson) testified that he observed Norval Morrisseau himself having difficulty telling whether or not his own painting was a fake…The Court concludes that authentication by the artist himself was at times incorrect.”
(All quotes from Deputy Judge Paul J Martial, The Judgment, from Hatfield v Artworld, Mar 25, 2013. All his findings subsequently totally upheld on Appeal by the Hon Madam Justice Mary Anne Sanderson in Ontario Superior Court.)
What does all that say about the credibility of the artist and his dealer when both are judicially discredited as believable “experts,” two and three years AFTER “Child With Headdress 1997” was supposedly painted and certified by these two self-serving businessmen
Now do you see why judge after judge has, repeatedly, discredited Donald Robinson’s testimony and his so-called expert reports? There is NOTHING BEHIND WHAT HE SAYS… He’s prepared to tell you anything, at the drop of a hat…
Note 1: Kinsman Robinson Galleries (KRG) claimed to be the “Principal Morrisseau Dealer” from 1990 till Norval’s death in 2007, and in the years since.
Backgrounder: By the early 1990s, Norval Morrisseau’s lifetime of gross, over-the-top alcohol, sex, and substance abuse had made his the most mentally and physically-debilitated and disabled mind and body of any celebrity in Canadian history.
By the time he allegedly painted “Child with Headdress 1997,” Norval had – for years – already been a permanent wheelchair invalid, and been suffering from Alcohol Dementia, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s, and its associated Parkinson’s Dementia, which the Alzheimer’s Society says strikes some 80% of all Parkinson’s patients.
Read the 229 page Special Report of:
“The Mental, Physical, and Artistic Decline of Norval Morrisseau.”
In this Investigative Report I focus on the following:
1) Deliberately Covert, Secret, Hiding Behaviour at KRG – Transparency is the heart of provenance – in fact, of honesty – a fact that seems to escape Donald Robinson and Kinsman Robinson Galleries because they have resolutely refused to be transparent with vital historical documents relating to provenance of key paintings it has owned and controlled – KRG’s notorious Wanker 31. In fact, KRG staff have diabolically and deliberately hidden pictures of them from the public for 15 years; so how can Kinsman Robinson Galleries possibly be trusted to be honest about the provenance of other paintings it controls, has sold, or has for sale, like “Child With Headdress 1997?” (Show me the Wanker 31)
2) Signing Blank Cheques at KRG 1990-2015 – “Blank backs” on their “new” Morrisseaus are all that KRG offers – not a single Morrisseau BDP signature in sight – as is claimed by Donald Robinson, to be the case with ALL Norval Morrisseau paintings sold at Kinsman Robinson Galleries, from 1990-2015. “Blank backs,” are, of course the art equivalent of a “blank cheque,” allowing KRG staff to write and allege anything they want about the provenance of ALL their Morrisseaus, including “Child With Headdress 1997.”
3) Norval’s Severe, Long-standing, & Telling Parkinson’s Twitch Videoed in 1997 – If you ignore the two “Goofy Dancers” in the “Goofy Bear Dance Video,” shot during the same time period that Norval was alleged to have painted “Child With Headdress 1997,” you can see Norval just as he was at time he painted “Child With Headdress 1997.” I am sure KRG would be only too glad to give – along with their other provenance paperwork – to whoever buys “Child With Headdress 1997,” a copy of this contemporaneous video, showing the artist as he was, either the day after, or the day before, he painted it. All KRG proof of provenance that the buyer can show to his/her friends.
Video #1 – Above Norval’s violent Parkinson’s Twitch stunningly made clear in a 1997 video featuring two white guys – Ritchie Sinclair and Gabe Vadas – in Davy Crockett costumes, in a “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997,” which proves incontrovertibly, that Norval couldn’t sign his name legibly, let alone paint a picture anyone would possibly want to see, let alone buy, in 1997, and a long time before… (There’s a second equally devastating video, below.)
4) KRG Publishing 5 (Five) Fakes in Travels in 1997 – Ritchie Sinclair aka “the Goofy Dancer” – has since early 2008 – many months before he became a KRG “enforcer” – accused KRG of publishing not one but 5 (five) full page fake Morrisseaus, in “Travels to the House of Invention 1997” in Norval’s own autobiographical picture book.
This is certainly a telling accusation from a member of the KRG inner circle, contending that in 1997, at the very time KRG claims Norval supposedly painted “Child With Headdress 1997,” he was suffering from bouts of Dementia that caused this unforgivable personal error in mindlessly choosing and publishing – in his own book – multiple fakes as genuine. It makes you wonder how Norval could remember where he put his brushes and paints, as he sat in his wheelchair at the easel supposedly painting “Child With Headdress 1997.” In the very same time frame he suffered this huge and telling bout of memory loss.
5) Sinclair’s # 1 Fake Proves Norval’s Manipulated Dementia 1999 – As the official KRG enforcer, Sinclair has repeatedly published that just a little over a year after Norval allegedly painted “Child With Headdress 1997,” and absent-mindedly put five fakes in his Travels book, a progressively more unaware Morrisseau was being crassly and coldly exploited into posing for phony photo ops in front of several Nimkee Gallery (Manitoulin Island) fakes, in 1999.
This is corroborative proof that Ritchie Sinclair believed Morrisseau must have been helpless and distracted and so Dementia-debilitated that he was easily maneuvered into playing along with this kind of purported absurd charade. It is, of course, nothing if not an astonishing reversal for Norval.
In his prime, when he was still healthy in the 1970s, Norval had such a strong and over-bearing personality he would never be anybody’s fool. He was himself, always, the Master Manipulator. Now in 1999, according to Sinclair, a hopelessly helpless Norval – the “disabled body with a pulse” – appeared to be “everybody’s fool” and need we add “everybody’s tool.”
Note: Sinclair’s #1 (Alleged) Fake, in front of which Norval posed, turned out to be genuine, when a forensic scientist analyzed it, proving Sinclair, not Norval, was the witless fool and tool.
In fact every single one, of the first 17 Morrisseaus that Sinclair lists and calls “fakes,” on his malicious and defamatory website, have been authenticated as 100% genuine Morrisseaus by various Canadian forensic scientists.
So it is completely irrelevant if Norval was “mentally out of it,” at the Nimkee Gallery, as Sinclair and his KRG handlers suggest, or not; the paintings he is “propped up” in front of, are genuine original Morrisseaus. Whether Norval acknowledges ownership – even if he deliberately disowns them, because he is pressured to do so – is totally irrelevant with forensically authenticated BDPs. We note, again, that you can never, ever have this forensic assurance as proof of provenance to Norval, with even a single “blank-backed” Kinsman Robinson Galleries painting it got from the Morrisseau “studio.”
6) KRG’s Manipulative Use of the “Disabled Body with the Pulse” in 1999 – KRG’s accusation of Nimkee Gallery as crassly exploiting and using the Dementia-debilitated Norval (the Disabled Body with the Pulse) for a lowdown propaganda promotion of fakes, is rich, beyond belief, as the week after leaving Nimkee Gallery in September 1999, the “Disabled Body with the Pulse” was shipped off and propped up inside the Kinsman Robinson Galleries, as its own business prop to promote its own brand of blank-backed Morrisseaus, or Burrowsseaus…
7) Three of Canada’s Top Justices Pass Judgment on Robinson’s Expertise and Credibility 1996-1999 – Only a few months before KRG claims Norval painted “Child With Headdress 1997” the Hon Justice Murray Alexander Mogan of the Tax Court of Canada, damningly citing Donald Robinson’s “hopeless conflict of interest,” found that the Kinsman Robinson Galleries boss could not be trusted to comment on the quality or value (read authenticity) of Morrisseau paintings. And he ruthlessly cut his Morrisseau valuations in half… Now, would you fly with a pilot, whose expertise promises you a safe landing 50% of the time?
No Respect at the Top – Lawyer Ken Whent, angry that Robinson, was so dismissively treated as a Morrisseau expert by Justice Mogan, launched an Appeal to Canada’s highest court. In 1999, a little over a year after “Child With Headdress 1997” was, we are assured by Robinson and KRG to have been painted, two of Canada’s top justices reviewed Justice Mogan’s judgment and reviewed the Robinson “expert report” he had done for the court on 216 Morrisseaus. And exactly as Mogan before, the two justices dismissed Robinson, his expert report, his valuations, all as tainted by “hopeless conflict of interest.”
To what degree can you count on the accuracy of a 1997 KRG gallery sticker price, and the so-called provenance of a painting “Child With Headdress 1997” – which Robinson claims was painted by Norval – at the very time Justice Mogan was making his damning assessment of Robinson’s judgment and believability as totally clouded by overwhelming self-interest? Especially when two other of Canada’s top justices reviewed the Appeal and confirmed that Mogan was right to conclude as he did in all respects, including his scathing dismissal of the believability of the “Morrisseau expert” and the execution of his duty as a supposed “friend of the court.”
– The Hon Justice Murray Alexander Mogan 1996
– The Hon Justice J Edgar Sexton 1999
– The Hon Justice Julius Alexander Isaac 1999
8) Try the “Morrisseau Twitch Test” aka “The Jonathan Jerome Sommer Replication Test” – I believe this is a foolproof way to ascertain the authenticity and provenance of “Child With Headdress 1997” that anyone can do, without counting on a motivated seller from a gallery who is contaminated by “hopeless conflicts of (self) interest,” while, at the same time, doing something that can be socially beneficial.
Simply give a brush or pencil and paper to one of your friends or relatives who is, like Norval was, disabled by Alcohol Dementia, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Parkinson’s Dementia, and get them to make a copy for you of “Child With Headdress 1997,” to see how well they can match Norval’s flawless placement of lines and dots. Please give them all the time in the world, and then you draw your own conclusions about the provenance of “Child With Headdress 1997.”
My Conclusion – I conclude that “Child With Headdress 1997,” could not possibly have been painted by Norval Morrisseau – the “disabled body with a pulse” – in 1997, due to his disastrously debilitated mental, physical and neurological degeneration at the time, and his frenetic “Parkinson’s Twitch,” so clearly demonstrated in the second document, the embarrassing “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997.”
However dumb the two dancing goofballs are in this absurd pseudo-Indian ceremony, look past them; it does clearly show Norval’s disastrously debilitated mental and physical condition at the very time he was supposed to have painted “Child With Headdress 1997.”
Contemporary related events hugely corroborate my conclusion as inevitable and unchallengeable.
It all raises the serious question: why would Donald Robinson, Paul Robinson, John MacGregor Newman and the Kinsman Robinson Galleries of Toronto, claim Norval Morrisseau painted this extremely complex work at a time, when by common sense alone, he was totally incapable of doing so?
Without even considering the mountain of other compromising evidence that it was even remotely possible – like the obvious and extremely physically debilitating neurological damage his disabled body was wracked with at the time.
Titling and Dating – Remember it’s KRG staff who added the name and the year (1997) to “Child With Headdress 1997” – NOT THE ARTIST. And KRG is noted as having repeatedly made provable, documentable, and catastrophically compromising mistakes with the provenance of Morrisseau paintings under their control.
NOTE: KRG staff have a fetish claiming all their Morrisseaus are “direct-from-the-artist,” when they really mean “direct from Gabe Vadas.” What they forget to tell their clients is that Norval’s total business management – including procuring and shipping whatever paintings he chose, from wherever he got them – was carried out by Gabe Vadas, Norval’s longtime white business manager and the wielder of his Power of Attorney since Apr 24, 1990. Vadas, not Norval – who was long past being able to – made the business, financial, artistic, and shipping decisions, and did the drafting and sending of all the legal documents sent to terrorize business competitors. etc.
So KRG’s “direct-from-the-artist” is really shorthand for “from Gabe’s studio;” it doesn’t necessarily mean a painting from the shop was painted by Norval, whose physical, mental, and artistic abilities were in tragic free fall during the 1990s.
There is NO Norval DNA on the back of “Child’s” blank back. KRG staff from 1990 on, took over the “naming and dating” duty that Norval – when he was healthy and capable – proudly used to do, himself, with black drybrush paint on the back of thousands of his high-period 1970s and 1980s BDPs. Alas, the onset of his violent Parkinson’s Twitch, in the early 1990s, prevented him from doing the signing and titling anymore, without just making a total mess of it… So the long established practice was stopped. And the totally blank backed Morrisseaus were born.
The large and expansive BDP signatures, including name, title, and copyright date, require a firm and steady hand because the paint for each section must be applied with a single, strong, unhesitating and smooth flourish. IN SHORT, IT IS A FORGER’S NIGHTMARE TO TRY TO DUPLICATE. AND SO EASY FOR FORENSIC EXPERTS TO DISCOVER IF FAKED.
Leaving the obvious query that forensic expert Dr. Atul K Singla, raised before Judge Martial: if Morrisseau himself never, ever did this – as claimed by Donald Robinson – then why would a forger possibly do it, and with such a huge and complex signature that would be sure to trip them up and flag to everyone that the painting was fake? (And that is only by disregarding the scientific fact that without exception, when every signature that Norval supposedly never did, was analyzed by professional handwriting experts, it tested positive that Norval, and no one else, was the author of this huge and expansive BDP in every case ever tested.)
The blank backs of the KRG Morrisseaus, leaves the obvious question: if Norval could no longer be trusted not to make a mess of his signature on the back, how could he possibly be trusted NOT TO MAKE A MESS OF THE FRONT OF THE PAINTING AS WELL?
Shouldn’t common sense tell you, if the back of the painting had to be blank by necessity, because of the disastrous mental and physical infirmity of the artist, shouldn’t also the front have been left equally blank?
It’s all extremely compromising of Kinsman Robinson Galleries because its owners adamantly assure you that ALL their Morrisseaus were obtained – with an absolute certainty of 100% – directly from the artist himself. And that includes “Child With Headdress 1997.”
They claim their word is foolproof provenance for the authenticity and time frame of the painting.
So let’s review the evidence…
The Hunt for KRG’s Provenance Begins:
We can actually imagine how an eager Kinsman Robinson Galleries salesperson might describe “Child With Headdress 1997” to a prospective buyer:
“Well, just look at the numerous exquisitely executed lines, drawn with masterful exactness – dozens of them. Surely an unprecedented number in any painting.
“And not a one is out of place, or smudged, or muffed. Could you do that?
“And remember there is no eraser you can use on an acrylic – it was a one shot deal… line after line after line, carefully criss-crossing, or in perfect parallel, and exquisite spacing, without a single slip-up, and doing it, dozens of times.
“It’s a marvelous example of Norval’s masterful brush control, and shows amazing proof of Norval’s truly amazing hand-eye coordination.
“It’s also clear proof that he’s an artist in total command of enviable and complete arm, wrist, hand, finger muscle control. An artist truly possessed of exquisite manual dexterity.
“To carry off such an artistic tour-de-force successfully – as he obviously did – it took all Norval’s obvious powers of intense mental concentration, which few of us are fortunate enough to possess, at the best of times. But it was not a problem for Norval in the slightest, as you can see from “Child With Headdress.”
“This is iconic imagery at its best! And there’s more; much, much more.
“Look at all those lines and dots – scores of them – more closely.
“Every single time Norval removed his brush from the canvas – and he did it dozens and dozens of times – he had to return with complete and total command, to hit an exact spot, with the same controlled light touch, for every new line or dot, without accidentally hitting or smudging one in the wrong place and spoiling one already there. Or he would end up ruining the sequence, the pattern, the spatial proximity of one to another…
“And only Norval dared to do it dozens, scores of times. Without a single failure…
“You’ve got to agree! Wow! What utter total artistic and muscular control he shows off!
“Look at the carefully drawn edges, and masterfully executed curves of the figures.
“Note too that “Child With Headdress 1997,” has more straight lines, more dots, more interacting grids of lines than any other artist you know would ever dare put into a painting, not AY Jackson, not Emily Carr, not JD Kelly, or Jackson Pollock or Vermeer or Van Gogh or any other artist, like Frank Stella, you ever heard of.
“Marked by its deft fluidity, this Norval Morrisseau painting is a masterful portrayal of its genre.
“Clearly, Norval was second to none with his exquisite brush control, and is supremely at the top of his game, in “Child With Headdress 1997.”
In fact Donald Robinson is on the record as claiming in court that Norval did much of the best work of his entire career during “Norval’s Wheelchair Invalid” period when he represented him in the 1990s…
Fact Check – I am one of the overwhelming majority of Morrisseau experts and collectors who will never buy Morrisseaus dated after about 1988, when Norval’s mental, physical, and artistic decline started to hugely undermine the power of his art which is acknowledged as peaking in the 1970s and early 1980s before noticeably beginning to fail in the late 80s.
Said an old companion of Norval’s, Lloyd Comber c 1987, “I noticed that his art wasn’t as good as it used to be.” (James R Stevens, A Picasso in the North Country, p193)
A typical cautionary for prospective Morrisseau art buyers is the comment by Gail Fikis, long with the Thunder Bay Art Gallery during its Morrisseau acquisition period:
“I have always told people, if you have work from the 60s, you’re laughing to the bank, the 70s, OK, but into the late 80s, questions, 90s and on, anything goes…”
(Gail Fikis, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 1983-2007, latterly Lakehead University)
Note: The cut-off point for us all, is some 10 years BEFORE Norval supposedly painted “Child With Headdress 1997.”
And we note that the group of white businessmen who clustered around Norval’s debilitated body in 1988-1989, is of the same belief.
So much so that its members were forced to hire the “apprentice” Karl Burrows to increasingly do the artwork for Norval in 1989, so starting the notorious “blank backed”*** paintings of the Burrowsseau period (1989-2007) for which Donald Robinson and KINSMAN ROBINSON GALLERIES always claimed they were the exclusive distributors.
(***There are no Morrisseau BDP (Black Drybrush Paint) signatures – which Norval famously signed with on the back of thousands of his 1970s style paintings – on the back of a single one of these Burrowsseaus, according to Donald Robinson)
Whoa Hoss! Examining BDPs –
Forensics: SOMA & the Wankers
Need I add that I believe that there is not a chance, in this world, or the next, that Norval Morrisseau painted “Child With Headdress 1997,” not in 1997, or in any year anywhere close to that?
I don’t need to look on the back of the painting for Norval’s DNA confirmation. It’ll be conspiratorially blank back there.
There will be no BDP signature on the back. And no other typical Norval Morrisseau title, icons, copyright signs, or year, that he customarily added on thousands of his 1970s era BDP paintings, which you can use – and have been used, dozens of times, by forensic scientists, to corroborate an authentic Morrisseau from the period.
Sworn Court Testimony: Norval’s brother Wolf, his longtime business and personal manager, testified before Judge Martial (in Hatfield v Artworld) that, in fact, it was he who told Norval to begin the BDP signing on the back convention as a sales promotion gimmick in the early 70s to appeal to and attract art buyers outside Canada.
(Martial called Wolf a believable witness, while he totally “rejected” the testimony and credibility of the only two opposing Plaintiff’s witnesses, Donald Robinson and Ritchie Sinclair, which lawyer Jonathan Jerome Sommers had been able to find to support his losing case.)
Wolf’s reasoning being that while many in Canada might recognize Norval’s Cree syllabic signature on the front, foreigners would not. He reasoned correctly, that the splashy English promotional and identifying signature, dates, and titles would be appreciated by collectors and generate sales.
It proved to be a boon, not only overseas, but for collectors across Canada who care about genuine, honest-to-goodness provenance that is part of the actual painting, and that can be scientifically traced as DNA from the original artist.
FAKE – As opposed to the phony manufactured provenance (paper stickers, gallery invoices, gallery labels, Certificates of Authenticity, and worst of all, gallery salesman’s assurances, etc.) fabricated by motivated sellers who think their art clients are easily duped and gullible fools.) (VIDEO of Wolf)
Wolf’s BDP signing convention proved to be an especially enormous blessing to Morrisseau art owners when a handful of malicious and diabolical art terrorists stated to attack thousands of genuine Morriseau BDPs as fakes, in order to devalue the art being sold by their business competitors.
The very class of paintings, the 1970s BDPs, targeted as fakes, and instantly identified by the huge black paint Morrisseau signature on the back, found their very salvation as authentic Morrisseaus, in that very signature when handed over to forensic scientists.
No such luck for anyone who buys “Child With Headdress 1997” because there is nothing on the back – no “DNA” – that you can take to an independent forensic scientist, professional handwriting analyst, and expert document examiner and ask him:
“Look, are these gallery owners lying to me? Can you just scientifically analyze if that is really Norval’s signature on the back? Or is that signature faked by someone to try to con me into buying?”
A BDP signature on the back is every bit as wonderful and powerful for art owners as a fingerprint, or DNA left at a crime scene. They can pronounce with scientific certitude that you were either there or you were not there. In the US DNA evidence like this has freed hundreds of criminals that have been wrongfully imprisoned for decades – including over 140 from death row – because of false and malicious allegations backed up by trumped up and phony arguments and conspiratorially contrived evidence.
It happens all the time in the art world, which is polluted with conniving art terrorists.
Complete Disclosure: of SOMA – 100% Authenticated
When one of my own magnificent 1970s Morrisseau BDP paintings, “Shaman Envelopes SOMA 1976,” aka “SOMA 1976,” was called a fake by the same clique of malicious art terrorists who have hugely devalued Morrisseau’s art heritage with their false accusations, it was sent to TWO different forensic scientists, in different years, to analyze the signature.
In fact, “SOMA 1976” is the only Morrisseau painting ever sent to TWO professional forensic scientists because it costs multi-thousands to do, each time.
BOTH independent scientists, each working from a different set of known Morrisseau signatures, reported back, in different years, that the huge black BDP signature on the back was authentically signed by Norval Morrisseau, and further, that no one else could have done so. A forensic double Whammy!
In fact – you won’t believe this – “Principal Morrisseau Dealer” Donald Robinson himself was the under bidder on “SOMA 1976,” when I bought it at Randy Potter Auctions on Jan. 26, 2000. He ultimately bid on 90 similar BDP paintings from Norval’s 1970s “high period,” and bought 31 for $54,000 in late 1999 and early 2000.
Now if all that isn’t an encomium of authenticity for the existence and authenticity of a Morrisseau BDP painting – with a huge black dry brush signature on the back (a BDP) to boot – what is?
It was Donald Robinson himself, after the auction, who showed me how to roll “SOMA 1976” up properly, invited me to his gallery, where I went, and where he provided me with the name of the Kinsman Robinson Galleries’ own framer to mount the acrylic.
He praised “SOMA 1976”, telling me he was the under bidder, and that it was absolutely genuine, saying “Oh it’s real alright. Trust me! I’m the guy who wrote the book on Morrisseau.” At the time he bragged to anyone who would listen in the auction hall, that he was an expert authenticator and seller of Morrisseaus for 15 years.
A year later, Donald Robinson launched the biggest art HOAX in Canadian history by announcing through a lazy, gullible, ignorant, and compliant media, that ALL BDP paintings like “SOMA 1976” were fakes. But, curiously, not once did he bring even one of his own 31 so-called fake BDP’s back to the auctioneer demanding a refund. He supposedly took a bath on $54,000. Get the picture? If you don’t may I interest you in buying a bridge?
In fact he later told Judge Martial – I saw and heard him – he had quickly resold many “for a small profit,” which he explained as “perhaps 10%.” He did not divulge that at Kinsman Robinson Galleries a small price increase customarily means one from 550 to 600%. One of the many fibs Donald Robinson tried to slide by the judge.
Alas, Dear Reader, don’t worry… It didn’t work. In his judgment Judge Paul J Martial scorched Robinson as not a believable or credible witness. And all his claims bogus.
In this one single “SOMA 1976” case, TWO independent forensic scientists have made separate findings each of which alone, hugely compromises Donald Robinson, as either being deliberately, hugely untruthful or just suffering from his own brand of Dementia/Alzheimer’s memory loss.
“SOMA 1976” is also the only Morrisseau painting – ever – to receive a “Beyond DNA” authentication rating of 100.0% from a handwriting-analysis expert. Which, in the world of DNA and forensic examiners, is virtually unheard-of.
And NO, I’m not compromised in this, in any way. I did NOT ask for, or pay, to have the forensics done by either scientist. A public-spirited individual paid out the thousands it cost because he deemed the authentication – of paintings so personally tied to Donald Robinson’s personal credibility – to be in the public interest.
This disclosure is necessary because Donald Robinson has besmirched forensic scientists as being just paid lackeys whom owners with fake paintings pay to have them certified as authentic when they very well know they’re fakes. Tarring Canada’s forensic scientists as just some lowlife toadies willing to do anything for a buck.
This – I submit – is nothing if not a Freudian slip that gives us a peek into the manipulative mindset of Donald Robinson and what goes on behind the closed doors of the Kinsman Robinson Galleries.
I was no more interested in having a DNA test done of “SOMA 1976,” than I was to do a DNA test to see if I am really my mother and my father’s offspring. I would only consent to such a test if someone asked me to do so in the greater public interest, like if they wanted to establish a DNA chain to see if I was a possible missing link in the British royal family, and a descendant of the long lost bastard son of Richard the Lionhearted.
“SOMA 1976” is in fact, one of only two publicly disclosed Morrisseau BDP paintings – the other one, “FISH 1976,”*** is also mine, and forensically authenticated – that show exactly the kind of Morrisseau paintings Donald Robinson bid on and bought, and the 31 he proudly took home from Potter auctions in 1999-2000, and later did an about-face on and inexplicably called them fakes.
I have named these the Wanker 31 (an acronym from Wang and Kinsman Robinson Galleries.
(*** Medicine Being from Sacred Fish Stomck 1976″ aka “FISH 1976.”)
Donald Robinson: Hiding his Wankers
Unlike me, who has been completely open, to a fault, in publishing high resolution images of both the front and back of both “SOMA 1976” and “FISH 1976,” in the best traditions of academic disclosure and transparency, Donald Robinson has absolutely and totally refused to follow suit with any of his Wanker 31. Instead, like a thief in the night, he has resolutely ordered to be hidden from public view ALL images of the front and backs of all the Wanker 31 paintings he first called “absolutely authentic” and then suddenly, inexplicably called lousy fakes…
For 15 years Donald Robinson and Kinsman Robinson Galleries have totally refused to allow academics, investigative journalists, and forensic scientists to get a look at the DNA on the back of the Wanker 31, which the Robinsons eagerly bought at Potters, and photographed, first called wonderfully authentic, then called poor fakes…
So effectively – but inexplicably – preventing an independent expert from examining if a forger signed the backs, or Norval?
To see what Donald Robinson saw there that made him do a total reversal about the authenticity of 31 paintings, which in the annals of world art history is an unprecedented failure for any art authenticator anywhere.
And to establish finally, if Donald Robinson is telling the truth or not about what he claims about the Wanker 31?
I believe Robinson furtively hiding the Wanker 31 research data is probably the most dishonest and heinous example of academic malfeasance in Canadian history.
Maliciously “Burning” the Wankers
It is now also my opinion that Donald Robinson and his son Paul have now, with the collaboration of the malicious and misguided members of the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society, either, ordered the destruction of the Wanker 31, or will in time announce that all 31 paintings have been “misplaced,” have “inexplicably disappeared,” “gone missing,” were “accidentally placed in the trash by the cleaning lady,” or “since they are fakes and worthless,” and their “educational” use has ended, they have been humanely disposed of “in the interests of all concerned,” and “to protect the art heritage of Norval Morrisseau.”
I believe they will never be seen again… And that Donald Robinson and his son Paul have seen to it, and are the active authors of the disappearance as they have been the authors of the HOAX in the first place.
To prevent the truth from ever coming out about the Wanker 31, which the Robinsons first called authentic, and then lousy fakes…
All done to protect the reputation of Kinsman Robinson Galleries from the inevitable fall-out, and lawsuits, that would follow when the very proof KRG alleges as the foundation proof for their “fakes” allegations – the Wanker 31 and the Norval BDP DNA on the back – are proven to be 100% genuine. And KRG’s claims will be openly proven to be just malicious fabrication made up by KRG to hamstring its business competitors.
Now do you see why the Wankers must be burned…?
Below the rogues gallery of outreach workers of Toronto’s Kinsman Robinson Galleries, all complicit in aiding and abetting the worst act of academic malfeasance in Canadian history, and actively promoting a far worse act of Canadian cultural genocide than the racist Potlatch assaults carried out by the Canadian government in 1921. At least some of those memorabilia items were recovered in recent years. Compared to 100% of the Wanker 31 Norval Morrisseau paintings which the NMHS has helped to “burn,” to prevent any possible recovery of any of them, by anyone, at any future time…
Clearly I view this as a “Hate Crime” that has its roots in anti-Aboriginal racism.
Why the Wankers Must Burn…
– the Damning Corroborative Proof
“SOMA 1976” – and its companion “FISH 1976,” on which Donald Robinson was also the under bidder, and whose huge BDP signature has also been forensically authenticated – give damning proof of exactly why Donald Robinson and KINSMAN ROBINSON GALLERIES have refused to publish photos of the back of their 31 BDPs which are from the same era, of the same style, and bought at the same time and place as I bought these two authenticated Morrisseaus.
The forensic evidence is utterly foolproof: Norval painted and signed “SOMA 1976” and “FISH 1976.”
These two paintings – by themselves – hugely indict the Robinsons refusal to publish the backs of their Wanker 31, because they want to hide from forensic scientists, that indeed Norval, in the same way signed the backs of all Wanker 31 paintings.
And the Robinsons have been wrong from the beginning in willfully and falsely perpetuating a huge HOAX for 15 years, by claiming the Wanker 31 are all Morrisseau forgeries.
SAVED FROM THE TRASH HEAP OF HISTORY
In fact I will take full credit for saving from destruction “SOMA 1976” and “FISH 1976,” by over-bidding Donald Robinson on these two paintings, on Jan. 26, 2000. Had I not done so Donald Robinson would have taken them home. They would have become Wanker 32 and Wanker 33.
They would have been thrown on the trash heap of history by Donald Robinson, his son Paul, and burned by Kinsman Robinson Galleries, and the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society as fakes.
That “SOMA 1976” and “FISH 1976,” are alive and well, and accusingly point the finger at KRG and the NMHS, is a truly damning indictment of the idiotic academic fools and tools, that sit on the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society where they gleefully oversee cultural genocide and the destruction of Norval’s art heritage, in collusion and under the clear direction of the Robinsons at the Kinsman Robinson Galleries.
So, in fact, it is one painting – “SOMA 1976” – that single-handedly – and more than any other Morrisseau on the planet – shows that Donald Robinson, Paul Robinson, and John MacGregor Newman, and the Kinsman Robinson Galleries enforcer, Ritchie Sinclair, are the most malicious and incompetent Morrisseau authenticators in the world and the worst art terrorists in Canadian history.
In some 70 cases, Morrisseau owners of the same 1970s era BDP paintings, who’ve had them attacked as fakes, by Donald Robinson, Paul Robinson, the Kinsman Robinson Galleries, and their notorious enforcer and multiply judicially-discredited Ritchie Sinclair,*** have sought out forensic scientists in the same way.
*** Sinclair, who, in a rage because no one wanted to buy his own paintings at his failed Scollard Gallery show, had only joined the Kinsman Robinson Galleries group, in October 2008, a year after Norval died, hoping to make a more profitable living as an “enforcer” for KRG, a role he would perform with gusto in the coming years.
And in every single case, without exception, the nefarious Kinsman Robinson Galleries team has been proven, in every single case, to have been utterly wrong, by three different, independent scientists.
Leaving the Kinsman Robinson Galleries team with a failure rate of false authentication of an astounding 100%.
How can anyone, in their right mind, be proven to be so utterly wrong, so many times without a single exception, and just go on maintaining their diabolical and malicious fiction?
NOW DO YOU KNOW WHY THEY HAVE HIDDEN THE WANKER 31 FROM THE PUBLIC FOR 15 YEARS?
And then it gets worse…
Neat-Oh! The Case of the Blank Check
“Child With Headdress 1997” is completely blank on the back. No signature; no DNA.
Which means you can, not only NOT go to a scientist and ask him to certify the signature being done by Norval, but you also CANNOT have a forensic scientist come back to establish authenticity or fraud before you throw good money after bad art, like in:
“Look, that signature is fake. Sorry ‘bout that but the signature is clearly forged. So don’t ask me about who painted the other side. It could be just about anyone on the planet. You’re on your own when you buy a painting with no testable DNA or signature on the back. And you’re even worse off if all your painting has is a lousy gallery label that could be pasted there by the KRG cleaning lady.”
Handwriting analysis experts use known signatures to line up and compare letters, strokes, lines, dots, tails, etc. of letters and the joins between them to check for believable and smooth variations, so they can spot the errors that a forger would make.
Such a damning forensic finding would clearly steer you away from buying such a painting.
With no signature, with no DNA you cannot get a forensic scientist to tell you either with: YES it’s authentic or NO it’s a fake. You are totally on your own with only the word of eager gallery salesmen to assure you.
And you should know by now that the word of many an art gallery salesman is as good as used car salesmen, your stock broker financial advisor, or the assurances of your Russian mail-order bride that she’s a virgin.
Why Passionate Art Gallery Asssurances of Provenance…
Are a Bust
Remember that Toronto multi-millionaire David Mirvish was talked into buying three fake Jackson Pollock paintings for a cool $12 million by New York’s most prestigious and oldest art gallery, Knoedler and Co., with passionate assurances that the provenance was impeccable and that they were real. The gallery took his millions and when the s#$%* hit the fan, just went bankrupt. His paintings and money were toast. Along with a lot of others who had trusted the passionate gallery assurances of provenance.
It’s the forensics that turned the table on the useless verbal promises of provenance Mirvish got from the art gallery owners, which used gallery lies on gullible clients to cover up one of the biggest art scams in world history. The gallery – after 165 years – went bankrupt leaving everybody holding a ton of worthless fakes they had been passionately assured were real, that the provenance was fool-proof – you know, “direct from the artist…”
Other clients who had been assured their provenance was fool-proof, ended up with a fake Pollock for 17 million; a fake Rothko for 8.3 million; a fake de Kooning for 4 million; another fake Pollock for 2 million…
All by people who have been sucker-punched by art gallery owners, because they are gullible, and have more money than brains and just do not know their own art… Like countless other buyers of Russian mail-order brides…
That the provenance was just made up by motivated sellers at Knoedler’s, and that the paintings were all forgeries was discovered and exposed because of forensic testing.
You know, the same kind of dispassionate forensic testing by scientists that has proved dozens of Morrisseau BDPs as being totally authentic, ended up proving that these Knoedler paintings were not real but all cheap forgeries.
So with no DNA on the back of your Morrisseaus, you are triply damned: 1 you cannot prove your painting is real; 2 you cannot disprove its authenticity and so discover if it is, in fact, a fake. So you have NO independently verifiable proof or DNA. And 3 you are forced to rely solely and entirely on the passionate assurances of a motivated seller in the art gallery that the painting’s provenance is genuine and reliable.
Isn’t this where the gullible, witless, and trusting David Mirvish came in…?
As world-renowned and longtime New York’s Museum of Modern Art expert and international art fraud sleuth, Thomas Hoving snorted pointedly “Fuck off with your provenance… that can all be faked.”
Since Donald Robinson claimed in court, that every single solitary genuine Morrisseau painting sold by Kinsman Robinson Galleries from 1990 to 2015 is blank on the back, then so is “Child With Headdress 1997.” No signature; no DNA, to verify its paternity either way… leaving you entirely on your own… to mull over how much you want to count on Donald Robinson’s verbal assurances of provenance…
Before you answer, ponder this: every single judge who has had to assess Robinson’s trustworthiness on his Morrisseau expertise – and we can count six so far – has dismissed both his testimony and his so-called “expert reports” – we can count four that have been rejected – as just NOT credible or believable, and entirely and “hopelessly” compromised by self-interest.
The blank back in 1997 is, of course, completely understandable.
Norval’s Non-stop Violent “Parkinson’s Twitch”
In Overdrive in 1997
We have already pointed out that finding video documentation of Norval Morrisseau’s physical activities and painting life are impossible to find for the 1990s because of his clearly apparent advanced and growing, mental, physical, and artistic deterioration.
The only two galleries claiming exclusive rights to be selling Norval’s new works, during this period, like Toronto’s Kinsman Robinson Galleries, and Aldergrove, BC’s Coghlan Art Studio, have hidden such videos – if any even exist – from public view, for obvious reasons. They don’t want their clients who buy new Morrisseau paintings from them to see what a “disabled body with a pulse” Norval Morrisseau was rapidly becoming after the early 1990s. (Robinson has testified he’s probably sold close to 1,000 of these “new” works – which he calls Morrisseaus and I call Burrowsseaus – over the years.)
So Canadian Morrisseau collectors are forever indebted to Ritchie Sinclair for finding and putting up the incontrovertible video proof that, in September 1997, Norval Morrisseau could not hold his violently shaking hands and head still, even if he wanted to. His Parkinson’s had robbed him of every control he ever had over his violently shaking painting hand. And had, obviously, been disabling his painting ability for some years previous.
Sinclair has found and put up two “Goofy Bear Dance Videos,” shot at Kleinburg, featuring two white “Indian imposter/impersonators” playing dress up at the Kleinburg Museum, in September 1997. The videos show Gabe Vadas and Sinclair, doing a goofy – but comical enough – pseudo-Indian bear dance around Norval as the despondent artist sits, violently shaking away, on his scooter.
Video #2 – Above, Norval’s violent Parkinson’s Twitch stunningly made clear in a 1997 video featuring two white guys in Davy Crockett costumes, Ritchie Sinclair and Gabe Vadas, in a “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997,” which proves incontrovertibly, that Norval couldn’t sign his name legibly, let alone paint a picture anyone would possibly want to see, let alone buy, in 1997, and a long time before…
With this video Sinclair offers incontrovertible, independent “live action” proof, if any were still needed, that Norval could not have painted “Child With Headdress 1997,” or any other similar canvas in 1997, or in the years before or after.
At the very time Norval was, according to KRG, supposedly painting “Child With Headdress 1997,” in 1997, the “Goofy Bear Dance” video makes clear that Norval was no longer physically – and had not been for years – capable of writing a stable, decipherable signature, than he could draw a straight line, make a controlled dot, a smooth outline of any kind, or fill in the colours without disastrously and wildly smudging and bleeding paint over all the borders and outlines.
Let alone paint a large complex and detailed painting like “Child With Headdress 1997.”
REWIND: By the early 1990s, Norval had signs of Parkinson’s, as well as mentally-disabling Alcohol Dementia, and Dementia/Alzheimer’s (The ALZ Society maintains that over 70% of Dementia patients have Alzheimer’s.) Photos from the mid-90s on show how he couldn’t even hold his tongue in his mouth anymore even for the countless photo ops he was featured in by celebrity junkies.
He drooled incessantly and the rare and short video clips from 2000 on, show his stare is fixed, not engaging in any way with his environment or the people around him, and ultimately show his head rigidly fixed in place (like in the outrageously staged BC Museum of Anthropology video in 2000) or flopped to the side and unmoving (like in the LeBlanc video of April 2002.)
By 2001, Norval’s brother Wolf testified in court, Norval had only brief periods of lucidity left, and confessed to him he couldn’t remember his past paintings anymore. And so was incapable of any longer being able to tell which ones were real and which were fake.
And those targeted as fakes by Robinson and Kinsman Robinson Galleries dated from some 20 to 30 years ago…! So it is easy to see how Norval could be colloassaly and repeatedly wrong.
There is no such excuse for the colossally false, and repeatedly wrong calls as fakes, by the staff of the Kinsman Robinson Galleries, on dozens of paintings forensically proven to be genuine Morrisseaus.
Fortuitous Development: Norval’s precipitous decline into Alcohol Dementia, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s was of great benefit to his white business managers Gabe Vadas, and Donald Robinson, because they could do the “fake” selections for him. Like when they did the preparatory internet sleuthing to find the many hundreds of images of paintings their business competitors were selling before appending them to those notoriously phony Affidavits of Forgery (2003-2005) and sending them to threaten their main business competitors with legal action for selling “fakes” in order to terrorize them.
NOTE 1: Vadas had craftily taken over Norval’s Power of Attorney on Apr. 24, 1990*** so, in Norval’s “absence” – both mental and physical – both Vadas and KRG had long experience using Norval’s lawyers and legal clout against their business competitors and Norval’s Aboriginal family. (***Source: Vadas Defence, Otavnik v Vadas (Morrisseau) May 8, 2007)
NOTE 2: After Apr. 24, 1990, which is the same year Kinsman Robinson Galleries started to first represent Norval Morrisseau’s art, IT DID NOT NEED, OR NEED TO CONSULT, NORVAL MORRISSEAU – THE “DISABLED BODY WITH A PULSE” IN ANY WAY FOR ANYTHING. With his Power of Attorney in hand, Gabe Vadas totally controlled ALL Norval’s legal, financial, artistic, and business operations. The Robinsons worked for Vadas, and at his – only his – pleasure. It was with Vadas’ collusion that the Robinsons spirited away the 384 paintings – the KR 384 – from British Columbia into KRG’s Toronto basement, to keep them away from Norval and his Aboriginal family and their lawyers in 2002, when Norval’s real family kidnapped him out of Vadas’ clutches and returned him to Thunder Bay, ON.
The Robinsons facetiously have just kept saying, “Norval said this; Norval ordered us to do this” because it sounded good in publicity handouts. And distracted gullible journalists. Norval “the disabled body with a pulse,” was, they very well knew, completely “out of it” legally, and actually. When together with Vadas, KRG looted his home, behind his back, Norval wasn’t there either. He was away in Thunder Bay, with his Aboriginal family. He did NOT know his two white business managers had removed his stored art into KRG’s basement where it would stay till two years after Norval died, when KRG claims it returned the 384 paintings to – guess who? – Gabe Vadas. KRG worked hard to ensure that the $20 million in art did NOT fall into the hands of Norval’s Aboriginal family and its lawyers, but stayed with its longtime white business partner Gabe Vadas, from whom KRG could get an endless source of “blank backed” Burrowsseaus for sale at its gallery.
So how successful do you think Norval could have been – the way he appears in the 1997 Goofy Bear Dance video – at doing the required internet research and website sleuthing for fakes on his laptop, which is A FULL SIX, SEVEN AND EIGHT YEARS BEFORE THE NOTORIOUS AFFIDAVITS OF FORGERY WERE RESEARCHED AND ISSUED?
Video #1 – Above, Norval’s violent Parkinson’s Twitch stunningly made clear in a 1997 video featuring two white guys in Davy Crockett costumes, Ritchie Sinclair and Gabe Vadas, in a “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997,” which proves incontrovertibly, that Norval couldn’t sign his name legibly, let alone paint a picture anyone would possibly want to see, let alone buy, in 1997, and a long time before…
Can you picture the scene, while the two Goofy white guys were prancing about, how impossible it would have been for Norval, in the condition you see him in, to just madly type away on his laptop, searching among the thousands of his paintings on the internet, to sleuth out the fakes supposedly for sale at Canada’s top Morrisseau art dealers, Artworld, Maslak McLeod Canadian Art, Jim White, Gallery Sunami, Woodland Art Gallery and Bear Claw Galleries.
Why just as impossible for him to have been able to paint “Child With Headdress 1997,” either just before the “dance” or immediately after it.
Then ask yourself, how much would Norval’s typing skills, laptop agility, and manual dexterity, AND MENTAL ACUITY, have IMPROVED over the next six years, before they were called on, big-time, to prepare those notorious Affidavits of Forgery, the first of which were not sent to Maslak McLeod till March and April 2003? The very time the CBC producer trying to film Norval was exasperated to find that Norval couldn’t utter a single intelligible word…
Regardless of the preposterousness of Donald Robinson’s and Kinsman Robinson Galleries’ claims, about Morrisseau’s painting abilities in 1997, the “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997” makes it totally clear, that by 1997, Norval was severely and hugely disabled by a complete collapse in all his muscular motor skills.
Norval can barely talk intelligibly; over half the time his mouth muscles will barely permit him to form decipherable words and sentences that anyone can understand. More often than you can somewhat decipher what he says, he will just utter unintelligible gibberish.
Now Norval’s hands shake with an uncontrollable frenzy that he just cannot control, even when he grips the solidly metal handlebars of his scooter. Can you imagine how much simply putting a frail brush in his hands would steady the tool, and make it ready to paint unwavering lines and dots? Or more tellingly, would this disastrously shaking hand possibly be steadied in any way by placing a small brush in it?
I have friends with Parkinson’s but have never seen them shake with the velocity that Norval displays in this video. A non-stop, violent Parkinson’s Twitch that totally disables his bodily motor and muscular skills.
By 1996, his muscle failure disabled his ability to walk; it is clear the Parkinson’s Twitch has now almost disabled most of his mouth muscles as well, and ferociously attacked and completely undermined his arm, hand, and finger coordination.
REWIND REMINDER: Remember the “Goofy Bear Dance” video was NOT shot to show what a human derelict Norval’s dissolute lifestyle had led him to become, but was actually used to promote white “European” Ritchie Sinclair’s mania at cross-dressing, a hopelessly deluded white guy in his 40s, playing Indian to try to promote his moribund career as some kind of artist.
NOTE: As late as 2004, after a lifetime of artistic effort, his original acrylic panels were selling to anyone who wanted them, at rock bottom “starving artist” prices, for only $40 and $50 apiece at Potter’s Auction in Port Hope, Ontario.
It is to Sinclair’s credit that, four years later, he recognized his own failings, and decided to segue from a “starving artist” into making his living as a “con-artist,” acting as enforcer and art terrorist for Kinsman Robinson Galleries.
It is not known how much the Robinsons pay him for his admittedly fanatic work on the gallery’s behalf promoting the biggest HOAX in Canadian art history but I have personally watched him, resplendent in his Davy Crockett buckskin jacket, beads and bones, enforcing compliance on a gallery already threatened by the Robinsons and Kinsman Robinson Galleries, to remove Morrisseau BDP paintings they objected to.
What the “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997” does do, rather than establish Sinclair’s pedigree as some kind of credible or licensed Indian imposter/impersonator, is prove conclusively that NORVAL MORRISSEAU WAS TOTALLY INCAPABLE OF PAINTING “CHILD WITH HEADDRESS” IN 1997, OR IN THE YEARS BEFORE OR AFTER.
The uncontrollably blubbering wheelchair-bound human derelict that is displayed in that video, for all the world to see, had clearly not been a capable functioning artist in any sense of that word for years.
All the artistic tour de forces on full display in “Child With Headdress 1997” including:
– amazing manual dexterity
– superb hand-eye-coordination
– enviable arm, wrist, hand, and finger coordination
– exquisite brush control
– total mental concentration
– absolute and complete muscular control
– outstanding artistic design control
are ALL exactly the very physical and mental abilities that are ruthlessly attacked and undermined in all Dementia, Alcohol Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients.
And Norval was the poster child of how those debilitating ailments attack the elderly, being ferociously victimized and disabled by them, physically, mentally, and artistically, all with increasing intensity since the late 1980s and early 1990s, aided and exacerbated by a 50 year over-the-top lifetime of total and completely reckless and dissolute living.
It is a fact, that by 1997 Norval had the most abused, dysfunctional, and disabled body of any celebrity in Canadian history.
Thanks to a lifetime of excessive consumption of alcohol, and case lots of perfume, antifreeze, Lysol, Listerine, after-shave, and drugs of all kinds. The “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997” is nothing if not an alarming warning ad of what will happen to a totally unrestrained and selfish over-the-top drug, alcohol, substance abuser, and frenetic sex addict when your past catches up with you.
A fact that Kinsman Robinson Galleries took great pains to hide from the public. From 1990 to 2007 it never produced or published a single video showing Norval painting a canvas. Which is a truly astonishing – but telling – accomplishment. Why not?
Because Norval’s Parkinson’s Twitch was getting more violent with every passing year; he was soon in a wheelchair, with his limbs useless. His mind was wandering off and his memory gone. His tongue hung out and his stare became fixed and disconnected from anyone and anything, as he was crassly and coldly shunted about by KRG to promote selling of its paintings.
Don’t feel sorry for Norval. He said he’d do it all again, except do worse, do more, and do it earlier.
“I’ve experienced it all, bestiality, animals, homosexuality, men, heterosexuality, women. The only thing I’ve never fucked is a turtle.” Then we both broke out laughing at the outrageousness of his comment.”
(James Stevens, “Picasso of the North, 2011, p158)
So Sinclair’s “Goofy Bear Dance Video” fills in wonderfully for KRG’s own lack of providing a video record of their artist’s painting life in 1997, to support their version of “provenance” for a 1997 painting they claim is by him.
But alas, the “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997” is NOT provenance that Norval, either before he made the video, or after, had anything to do with painting “Child With Headdress 1997.”
But the video is TOTAL PROOF – in fact IT IS CORROBORATIVE PROVENANCE for anyone with an iota of common sense – that Norval in his condition couldn’t have had anything whatsoever to do with painting “Child With Headdress 1997” in 1997, either before, or after he completed officiating at the “Goofy Bear Dance” video event.
Now do you see why Kinsman Robinson Galleries has never, ever, produced a single video of Norval painting, from 1990 to 2007, during the period it claims Norval painted exclusively for the gallery? Not one.
And now do you see why Kinsman Robinson Galleries, no doubt, wishes the narcissistic Sinclair had never published the “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997” on Youtube?
The single short Kinsman Robinson Galleries video of Norval in the gallery which it shows on its website is ancient and features Norval signing autographs and even then speaking in a garbled voice. It is inexplicably – actually tellingly – undated, I believe because Kinsman Robinson Galleries wants people to believe it’s probably Norval in his final days at KRG, when it was actually done some 15 years before he died.
In 2003, the CBC crew, when shooting for Norval’s “Life and Times” couldn’t find any recent video of him painting or talking – they couldn’t get him to utter a word in 2003 – and had to use NFB footage of him painting from the 1970s and faking the rest with actors.
In 2006, when hosting the Morrisseau Retrospective, the McMichael Gallery had to use film footage that showed a clearly drunken Norval talking and painting from those years. There was nothing from later on or CBC or the McMichael would have used it.
I found it extremely disconcerting that during the first national retrospective of a Canadian Aboriginal painter – for Norval Morrisseau in 2006 – that the only video footage the McMichael could produce to honour Norval, when it hosted the show, was of a clearly drunken Morrisseau from the 1970s.
But it offers telling proof that Norval was well on the way to destroying his mind and body that by the 1990s, made it impossible for him to paint, either large canvases, or anything else with any power or finesse anymore, as he once could when he was healthier in the 1970s and early 1980s.
So there is no video – I’m positive – showing Norval painting “Child With Headdress 1997” in 1997.
Though, of course, I’m not saying there’s no video of Karl Burrows painting it. You would have to check with him…
So what’s the KRG excuse for not producing any Morrisseau painting videos in the 1990s? Is Kinsman Robinson Galleries not proud of its artists? At least enough to record Norval for posterity as he paints works for their gallery from 1990 till he died in 2007…
Why didn’t they? Can you guess?
Why would Kinsman Robinson Galleries possibly be so secretive, so furtive, so non-disclosing, so utterly non-transparent in the age of the personal video, the internet, Facebook etc.?
The short answer is: Sinclair’s “Goofy Bear Dance 1997” video.
And well, because increasingly after 1990, Norval’s Alcohol Dementia, Dementia/Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s-debilitated mind and disabled body just couldn’t do tasks anymore that demanded of an artist the utmost mental concentration and hand-eye coordination.
Like in signing, titling, and dating the backs – or even doing the fronts – of his paintings.
And no one – certainly not Donald Robinson and Kinsman Robinson Galleries – wanted Norval’s decline publicized by flagging it with a terribly disintegrating and creaky signature on the back of paintings, or by publishing a “Goofy Bear Dance” video.
I can certainly imagine Norval’s legal, business, and financial manager, Gabe Vadas, or his art dealer, Donald Robinson, sternly instructing Norval,
“Look, quit that signature stuff on the back. We don’t want people starting to ask, ‘Now if Norval wrote that hugely jerky signature scrawl on the back, then who drew all those smooth lines, shapes, and dots, and filled in all the colours with such utter dexterity, on the front, without smudging or bleeding disastrously over the borders? And who did that Morrisseau syllabic signature?’ We don’t want people asking embarrassing questions we have no answer for.”
Donald Robinson: the Master of the House of Invention
Honestly? – Remember Donald Robinson, Gabe Vadas, and their supporting lawyer Aaron Milrad have ALWAYS contended, THAT NORVAL DID ALL THIS ARTWORK; THAT HE ALONE SLEUTHED OUT THE HUNDREDS OF FAKES; THAT NORVAL “SAID IT;” THAT NORVAL “MADE THEM, ORDERED THEM TO DO IT, FOR HIM…”
AND THAT NORVAL DID IT TO THE VERY END, LITERALLY FROM HIS DEATHBED…
The Preposterous Mr. Robinson – In what is easily the most wildly impossible and blustering claim I have ever witnessed in court from Donald Robinson, was when he swore on the stand, that in 2007, only months before Norval died – then of course, only a “totally disabled body with a pulse” – Norval was hugely mentally alert, active and busily discussing fakes with him and directing him to numerous new examples of forgeries in the galleries of his business competitors.
Robinson did not say whether Norval was using his nimble fingers on his laptop to help instruct him on which offending websites the fakes were, or was using his mouse with his desktop computer.
Don’t Laugh – Robinson also did not disclose if either, or both of those, were subsequently interred with Norval to use in the afterlife.
In fact a year after Norval had died, Ritchie Sinclair, who, as an Indian imposter/impersonator is much given to intoning pseudo-Indian incantations referencing communication with the “spirit world,” firmly assured skeptics that “Norval personally approved” Sinclair using his coattails to ride to glory as a poor-man’s Morrisseau clone make-over.
Now go back to the “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997” and listen to how unintelligibly Norval was able to talk, a full TEN YEARS before he and Donald Robinson allegedly discussed fakes in detail. And ask yourself how intelligent Robinson’s conversation would have sounded with ten more years of mental and physical decline in Norval due to his precipitous deterioration from Alcohol Dementia, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s?
In 2001, old friends of Norval, like Dolly McGuire, reported they couldn’t understand Norval at all. By 2003 CBC producer Paul Carvalho shooting a one-hour documentary on Norval, said Norval “couldn’t say a word” for him and his film. All this is clearly apparent in the few ultra-brief video clips from this period which feature only a “disabled body with a pulse” who never talks with anyone, never engages with his environment, and always, just stares blankly into space.
But a Norval with whom – four years after Carvalho couldn’t get a word out of him – Robinson claims (in court no less) to have had an intellectual discussion about fakes with him in 2007, only months before the “disabled body with a pulse” finally died.
To gild the preposterous with the absurd, consider this:
But none of Norval’s growing list of serious mental and physical disabilities claimed Donald Robinson and his business associate, Gabe Vadas, had any affect, anyway, on the artist, or slowed down or interfered in any way with Morrisseau’s magical painting arm in the slightest.
WOW! That when Norval’s brush touched the canvas ALL HIS SHAKING AUTOMATICALLY STOPPED – THE PARKINSON’S TWITCH MAGICALLY DISAPPEARED, ALLOWING NORVAL TO DRAW STRAIGHT LINES AND PRECISE DOTS, as if he never had even a smidgeon of Parkinson’s in his grossly abused 70 year-old debilitated and disabled body.
Like Lazarus from the grave, the “disabled body with a pulse” came back to full-blown physical, mental, and artistic creativity… Without betraying even a smidgeon of his former disabilities on the “new” canvases he produced during “magic hour.”
This preposterous claim, by the “Master of the House of Invention,” has to be one of the greatest hoots of the 20th, or any other century…
Robinson would have you believe that somehow, through some scientific miracle hatched in the basement of Kinsman Robinson Galleries, the moment Norval’s brush hit the canvas his disabled limbs, and motor skills reverted back to when he was at the peak of his power in his twenties and thirties.
Why doesn’t Donald Robinson bottle this and sell it? He’d make a fortune.
So according to Robinson, in 1997, Norval’s brush went to canvas and Presto! “Child With Headdress 1997.”
Fact Check: Only Kinsman Robinson Galleries operatives ever claimed this magic act of derring-do, not Norval. In fact he told Stevens that in his forties (1970s), he was already suffering from major sexual dysfunction. If just touching a brush to canvas restored him to full physical vigour, full hand-eye coordination, and complete motor and muscular skills – as Robinson and KRG claim – KRG failed to mention this to Norval, or he would have carried a brush and canvas with him at all times, especially just before going on a date.
Donald Robinson Repeatedly Makes a Very Bad Impression on Judges
Every court appearance Donald Robinson has made – both with his expert reports or personal testimony and purporting to be a Morrisseau expert – have ended with him and his allegations of fakes being totally discredited, without a single exception. FOUR of his so-called “expert reports” that were involved in lawsuits have ALL been trashed by judges and lawyers as not credible and not believable and/or totally self-serving.
And yet Robinson insisted before Judge Martial that not once in all his over twenty years as a Morrisseau dealer had he ever seen a genuine Morrisseau painting with a BDP signature on the back. NOT ONCE.
In his no-holds-barred judgment of Mar 25, 2013, Judge Paul J Martial slapped down Robinson and his sworn testimony on this point – and many others – saying there was “overwhelming evidence” from multiple credible experts that Norval, in truth, DID actually sign his name on the back with a huge florid BDP signature, thousands of times during the 1970s.
And no, Judge Martial was NOT aware of the damning forensics of “SOMA 1976” and “FISH 1976” which proved to two forensic scientists that Donald Robinson was no Morrisseau expert and didn’t know what he was talking about. And that Norval had signed both BDPs. They were both part of the “overwhelming evidence” quoted by Judge Martial that he wasn’t even aware of.
And no, Judge Martial was NOT aware that some 70 other damning forensics of the same kind have authenticated BDPs denounced by the Robinsons and Kinsman Robinson Galleries as fakes, as on the contrary, totally genuine Morrisseaus.
But they are powerful affirmative evidence of Martial’s correctness in his stunningly explicit affirmation of the authenticity of “Wheel of Life 1979,” and that other similar authentic 1970s BDPs exist in the thousands.
And that Donald Robinson and his acolyte and business associate Ritchie Sinclair are not to be believed for saying they are all fakes.
The Martial Judgment is another way of saying that Robinson is, by the same standard of evidence he referenced so damningly, a gross and egregious perjurer. (On this and on numerous other points.)
Six months later, on Dec 17, 2013, in her short Appeal judgment, where she peremptorily dismissed the forgery allegations by Robinson, Sinclair and lawyer Jonathan J Sommer, the Hon. Madam Justice Mary Anne Sanderson, made a pointed comment.
After having perused her way through some 750 pages of court transcripts, she made scorching reference to Donald Robinson and his sworn statement by appending the only quote in her finding from him, in reference to BDP signatures on the back of genuine Morrisseaus. “Not once have I ever seen it” she clearly and deliberately mocks Robinson and his claim, which runs counter to a mountain of evidence she has seen, weighed, and found convincing to a certainty of 100%.
She especially noted drily – I sat in the very small courtroom and heard her – to make a pointed comment about the 31 BDPs, Robinson bought for $54,000 at Potters, which all had those signatures on the back. Which Robinson claimed he had never seen before buying. Oh and never brought a single one back for a refund… And all of which have totally been “disappeared” from public view by Robinson and Kinsman Robinson Galleries.
The Hon Madam Justice Mary Anne Sanderson is only the latest of six eminent judges and justices who have dismissed Donald Robinson as a credible and believable witness regarding the authenticity and valuation of Morrisseau art, after analyzing his so-called “expert reports,” or what he says when he speaks under oath on the stand in a Canadian courtroom.
That Damning “Missing” Signature “appears” and puts the last nail in the coffin of the “Child”
Still Norval’s signature – though missing on the painting – remains an obvious source for a “Danger Alert” about the paternity of this and any other painting from Kinsman Robinson Galleries’ notorious Burrowsseau period.
I submit a “genuine” Morrisseau signature collected four years after Norval supposedly painted “Child With Headdress 1997.” This was Norval’s supposed signature that Donald Robinson provided Jim White in May 2001. It shows an alarmingly huge loss of motor skills and muscle control.
In fact it is so degraded – or faked – that no forensic scientist would touch it for authentication. It’s just too far gone from any known standard signature. So we rely entirely on Donald Robinson’s word alone, that it is a genuine Norval Morrisseau signature.
You can do this test yourself. Go and check the comparative decline of your signature over the past four years… No decipherable decline, that you can make out, you say?
OK, well then ask yourself, “If this disintegrating shambles of a scrawl was Norval’s signature in March 2001, what would it have been a scant four years earlier?”
And the obvious answer is; “Well the same disintegrating shambles of a signature.”
I would say, in fact, that in 1997 Norval’s signature would have been worse by far, judged by the violent non-stop shaking of his hand as shown in the Bear Dance videos we post here.
Well, you may now ask, “Since Norval was obviously incapable of doing it, who the hell painted all those precise and perfect alignments of dots and lines on the front?”
Yes indeed. Who painted “Child With Headdress 1997?”
And why would Donald Robinson and Kinsman Robinson Galleries claim, on the KRG gallery label, in their show catalogue, and on their corporate website, that Norval did, when by all the evidence it is clear that Norval COULD NOT HAVE.
And Kinsman Robinson Galleries VERY WELL HAD TO HAVE KNOWN IT.
Hell, everyone else familiar with Norval and his art knew it… And anyone who sees the “Goofy Bear Dance 1997” video.
Now do you know why there are NO BDP signatures on the back of any Kinsman Robinson Galleries-sourced Morrisseaus aka Burrowsseaus from 1990 to 2015. Donald Robinson swore to this fact in court.
And then it gets worse.
If that is really Norval’s disastrously disintegrating signature from March 2001 – and Donald Robinson said in court that it is – and that it obviously can’t change, in any decipherable way, in four years, then WHO THE HELL PAINTED “CHILD WITH HEADDRESS” IN 1997?
REPEAT: Who the hell painted it, when it is incontrovertibly, and conclusively obvious that NORVAL MORRISSEAU COULD NOT HAVE – AND I MAINTAIN IN FACT DID NOT – PAINT “CHILD WITH HEADDRESS” IN 1997?
And then it gets worse.
That Completely “Unknown Goofy Dancer”
at the KRG Book Launch
The very same year that Norval supposedly painted “Child With Headdress 1997” Norval and Donald Robinson (and Kinsman Robinson Galleries) published Norval’s own book, “Travels to the House of Invention 1997,” the first book the artist had produced since collaborating with Lister Sinclair and Jack Pollock on the last one, in 1979.
Norval – now 66, Alcohol Dementia, Dementia/Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s-debilitated and permanently wheelchair bound – in as much as he was still able, obviously designed “Travels” to be a landmark publication and statement on his life as an artist.
Norval and Robinson both published lengthy personal articles inside which comprised the text for what is mainly a picture book of Norval’s paintings, past and present.
Norval picked the paintings he wanted included; Donald Robinson approved them, before his gallery published the volume.
The Kinsman Robinson Galleries publishing hoopla is vitally important to “Child With Headdress 1997” because Donald Robinson and Norval used the occasion of the 1997 book launch, of “Travels to the House of Invention 1997” to make a side-trip to the McMichael Gallery at Kleinburg where an ultra-rare video of Norval was made, showing him as he was exactly at the time he painted “Child With Headdress 1997.”
In tow were those two white guys – both early drop-outs from the public and high-school system – both playing dress-up in Davy Crockett costumes, sporting Indian bangles and beads, and bedecked with a wild assortment of chicken bones, turkey feathers, and other pseudo-Indian claptrap. As they cavorted around, muttering unintelligible guttural mumbo-jumbo they had picked up from Tonto in Lone Ranger reruns.
They were Gabe Vadas, Norval’s longtime companion, and one total unknown, Ritchie Sinclair, who would emerge as Canada’s greatest modern Indian imposter/impersonator.*** He had waited a decent interval after Norval died before inventing a totally new fantasy persona for himself, designating himself as Norval’s anointed successor.
***Hokey Pseudo-Indian Rituals – These hokey Indian ceremonies had been part of Norval’s show-business mentality since the earliest days, as Jack Pollock observed.
“… he abandoned his wife and children… and began an incredible journey into total sexual indulgence. I have often fantasized about his coterie of beautiful young men (all hustlers, all very well paid with thousands of dollars in cash which I provided from paintings sold), lots of drugs, and ritual pseudo-Indian ceremonies.” (Jack Pollock Dear M, 1989, p38)
Video #2 – Above, Norval’s violent Parkinson’s Twitch stunningly made clear in a 1997 video featuring two white guys in Davy Crockett costumes, Ritchie Sinclair and Gabe Vadas, in a “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997,” which proves incontrovertibly, that Norval couldn’t sign his name legibly, let alone paint a picture anyone would possibly want to see, let alone buy, in 1997, and a long time before…
If you really want to see two white guys (Ritchie Sinclair and Gabe Vadas) in Davy Crockett costumes – egad, these guys are in their 40s, if you can believe – doing a hokey pseudo-Indian Dance you can click on a video link (below) where they do a “Goofy Bear Dance” in 1997. In spite of Sinclair’s claims, he has never, ever, produced a video – hell, not even a single still picture – of himself supposedly painting with Norval, in an “artistic” relationship he claimed went on – we kid you not – for 28 years… That’s right folks, the “Goofy Dance” video is all there is…
Except for This – In this Sinclair is not unique. The man Sinclair calls “My Mentor,” Donald Robinson, has a similar inexplicable failing. While there are lots of photos of Jack Pollock – Norval’s most successful and longest serving art dealer – showing him, many times, in a clear, “in harness,” and intimate working relationship, with Norval, Donald Robinson has produced not even one single photo – or video for that matter – of himself similarly involved with Norval, in a relationship he pretended to have had with him for 18 years… Incredible, is it not?
Like with so much else about Donald Robinson’s numerous claims, there is no credible or independently verifiable documentation of any kind, forthcoming for any of it. There are only some terribly sad and crass business prop photos, featuring the strained smile of Donald Robinson posed behind “a disabled body with a pulse,” a wheelchair invalid whose blank, unresponsive, and fixed stare makes it clear he doesn’t have a clue if he’s in this world, or the next. So much for Robinson’s self-professed “close” relationship with Norval Morrisseau.
A white guy in a suit from downtown Toronto, catering to an upper class white clientele, could never possibly have a “close” relationship with any “bush Indian” Aboriginal Canadian, which Norval was proud to be. This is clearly evident in the very first photo Robinson ever published of himself with Norval from 1989. It’s of course, a classic for pictorializing and documenting an “unbridgeable gulf” been a Toronto “suit,” and a dyed in the wool Canadian Aboriginal original. It’s a brilliant photo of racial gulf between two totally dissimilar men and two cultures that could never possibly be bridged. They are warily eyeing each other; neither likes the other, but they each know they can make a buck off the other.
Robinson made this enduring gulf clear in his court testimony, some 22 years later, when he loudly blurted out – I heard him – calling all the Morrisseau family members – including Norval – “all liars,” “absolutely.” He also admitted in court that he – the Principal Morrisseau Dealer, with a supposed special relationship with Norval – did NOT attend Norval’s landmark National Gallery show in 2006, an unforgivable and colossal snub to an artist who for 17 years had provided the Robinson family gallery millions in income.
And when Norval died in Toronto, a year later, though he knew almost immediately when it happened, Robinson did NOT notify any of Norval’s numerous Aboriginal family members of his death. They learned from someone else – Toronto art dealer and a simpatico human being, Jim White – two days later. Robinson also did NOT pay to bring Norval’s cash-poor children from remote Red Lake for their father’s funeral service in Toronto. Again someone else – Jim White – did.
This kind of cold-hearted and dismissive white racism is, of course, the common Aboriginal experience in Canada. White men will pursue any advantage, and make a buck off any Indian whenever, and however they can.
Having lived, as a school principal, and worked for many years, in remote sub-arctic Canadian Indian settlements, I became well aware of the Canadian sociological phenomenon of undereducated white boys, who, being lost souls and social misfits and feeling culturally alienated, as societally unsuccessful refugees from white society, seek refuge and meaning in life as a pseudo-Indian make-over. Having no visible means of being gainfully employed, they just shack up with a roommate who is, and hide out on the fringes of Indian settlements sporting unkempt greasy long hair, wearing buckskin jackets, beaded moccasins, and adorning themselves with chicken bones, bird feathers, and necklaces of teeth from dead things. And hoping the disguise works…
Believe me it doesn’t; Indians unanimously smirk about the “goofy long-haired white guys” who appear in their midst and become Indian imposter/impersonators, obviously hoping to fill a deep hollow in their psyche.
Donald Robinson watched, on that Kleinburg occasion, in September 1997, when Sinclair and Vadas “performed,” and recorded, their totally hokey, home-made “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997,” featuring Norval’s mostly unintelligible blubbering and drawing especial attention to his totally debilitating Parkinson’s Twitch. Proving conclusively and with utter finality, that Norval, as captured in the video could not possibly have painted “Child With Headdress 1997” in that year or anything remotely even close.
It will forever remain a mystery to me, how Robinson could go home after watching the fiasco his Alcohol Dementia, Dementia/Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s-debilitated artist was making a fool of himself in, and, in good conscience, fill in the gallery tag for “Child With Headdress 1997,” as just finished being painted by Norval Morrisseau.”
And then it gets worse.
Donald Robinson has testified in court that it was on that occasion that he first met, or ever heard of, Ritchie Sinclair, who had somehow attached himself to the Morrisseau/Vadas group during the book launch party in the Kinsman Robinson Galleries on opening day.
Robinson was somehow inveigled into inviting Ritchie Sinclair – who was parading in his Davy Crockett costume, and a total stranger to him – to attend a private dinner for Norval at his own (Robinson’s) home.
So here was Donald Robinson, the man who called himself “the World’s top Morrisseau expert,” and “the Principal (Morrisseau) Art Dealer” and “the man who wrote the book on Morrisseau,” and who had just completed all the research he and Norval had done for the book “Travels to the House of Invention 1997,” but who had NOT, after 12 (twelve) years of selling Morrisseaus, ever even heard of the aforesaid Ritchie Sinclair even though he took great pains to dress and learn goofy dances for the role he invented for himself.
You know the guy who years later – only after Norval was safely dead – started to call himself “Norval Morrisseau Protégé, Stardreamer, Ritchie Sinclair.”
Sinclair, who, like some 150 other anonymous assistants Norval wrote about in the book, briefly attached himself to Norval for a spell around 1980. (Everything about Sinclair is completely undocumented or undocumentable since he just reinvents himself and claims his accomplishments and experiences anew from day to day.)
Sinclair likes to claim in court that he had a deep, ongoing painting relationship with Norval for over 20 years. Which Morrisseau family testimony hotly disputed, claiming Sinclair was only one of the many short-term boyfriends Norval liked to surround himself with.
Just like there are no videos of Norval and Donald Robinson working together, or Norval painting, there are no videos, no pictures even, of Sinclair painting or associating with Norval as his apprentice. Sinclair has seen fit not to share his private videos with Norval. So his claims for the relationship are not supportable whatsoever.
To a judge, and to a historian like myself, who demand to see convincing, credible and independently verifiable evidence for claims people make, that undocumented relationship does not exist in the history books. No matter how much these days Sinclair struts about in his Davy Crockett costume and waves his chicken feather around like on the CBCs Four Rooms where he was roundly scorched as a failing artist and an amateur Morrisseau wannabe.
The CBC art experts are on public record: if Sinclair really did spend all the time with Morrisseau that he claims, then two facts remain firmly established: Morrisseau was the world’s worst teacher, and Sinclair was the world’s worst student. A truly unbeatable combination.
In the personality department Sinclair’s no winner either: he so offended the single woman expert on the CBC show, she harshly blurted out to the over-the-top narcissistic turkey feather waving Sinclair, “I don’t like you.” It’s probably the first time a host on CBC has ever unequivocally insulted a guest on air.
Nothing new here since Sinclair has been declared an unreliable witness by numerous judges. He was accused of perjury in the court of the Hon Madam Justice Mary Anne Sanderson. I have seen and heard him commit perjury many times in multiple courts where he appeared and I was the investigative journalist.
Tellingly, in 1997, some 18 years after Sinclair claimed to have first met Norval and formed an important bond and painting relationship with him:
– Robinson had never heard of Sinclair at all
– Norval did not mention or bother to write a word about Sinclair in the “Travels 1997” book
– Robinson did not write a word about Sinclair in the “Travels 1997” book
– Robinson did not even mention Sinclair in the “thanks to” or “acknowledgments” of the “Travels 1997” book
And then it gets worse:
– Robinson, in the 2005 updated of “Travels” and re-issue as an amended “Return to the House of Invention” did NOT mention Sinclair in any way with even a single notation of his name: not in Norval’s text, not in Robinson’s text, not in the Preface, not in the Thanks, not in the Acknowledgments, THOUGH IT HAD NOW BEEN SOME 26 YEARS THAT ROBINSON HAD NOW A CHANCE TO EXAMINE AND INFORM HIMSELF ABOUT THE SO-CALLED “MORRISSEAU EXPERTISE” CLAIMED BY SINCLAIR.
WHAT COULD BE GREATER PROOF THAN THAT, AS LATE AS 2010, ROBINSON HIMSELF – BY HIS OWN DOCUMENTED RECORD – TOTALLY DISMISSES SINCLAIR AS A COMPLETE AND ABSOLUTE MORRISSEAU IMPOSTER/IMPERSONATOR.
A Nobody from Nowhere – Before Judge Godfrey, (I heard the Q&A) when Sinclair asked Robinson to explain to the judge his (Sinclair’s) importance and a biographical description, the best that Robinson could come up with was a tepid one-liner. Which I could see crushed Sinclair, who after asking the question retired to his chair as if expecting Robinson to launch into a lengthy praising biography.
“SINCLAIR: Q. Um, could you tell the court a little bit about who I am, Mr. Robinson, and what you know of who I am and my relationship with Norval Morrisseau?
ROBINSON: A. Well, I understand that you were, you were once, but you knew Norval Morrisseau a number of years, and that you were painting with him. I am not sure what else I can say.”
(Otavnik v Sinclair, Mar 18, 2010)
When Robinson stopped short and abrupt, Sinclair was visibly taken aback and scrambled back to fill the silence in the courtroom that followed. It was a bio that would easily apply to hundreds if not thousands of people.
That’s right folks: as late as 2010, you could squeeze more positive comments out of a hostile mother-in-law than Sinclair managed to get out of Robinson about Sinclair’s self-professed expertise on Morrisseau or on art. (Robinson, and KRG, you have to remember absolutely refused to ever host a show for Sinclair’s art in all the 18 years he has known him. That he was just not a good enoug artist, which is also the reason given by other galleries that refused to show his work: Liss Gallery, Artworld, Maslak McLeod, Bear Claw, Gallery on the Lake, etc.)
When Brian Shiller a couple of years later asked Donald Robinson about Ritchie Sinclair, his memory had, gotten worse. This from the man who said that it was “preposterous” to claim that Norval’s memory wasn’t 100% accurate (at a time the artist was debilitated by Alcohol Dementia, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s). But Robinson who was not disabled by such ailments just couldn’t match his mentally addled artist in his recollections.
Acidly queried by Brian Shiller, Robinson’s – is it Dementia or Deception? – is on full display, in a script Jon Stewart couldn’t have improved on:
Q. Okay. Now, you wrote two books on Mr. Morrisseau; correct?
Q. Is Ritchie Sinclair mentioned in either of those books?
A. I’m sorry; did he….
Q. Is Ritchie Sinclair mentioned in either of those books?
A. I don’t remember. I don’t; I mean, certainly not in a major way; perhaps not at all; I, I don’t remember; perhaps in the acknowledgements; probably not at all.
Q. Probably not at all?
A. I don’t remember it. They were written several years ago.
Q. One is in ’89 (sic); one is in ’05; correct?
A. Probably, yes. (Court Trans/Hatfield v Child: Sep 11, 2011 p21)
Cyber Terrorist – Well he could have said that Ritchie Sinclair is the cyber terrorist who has totally destroyed the Wikipedia page of Norval Morrisseau, offering a sterling example of how the internet -for all its positives – has also allowed the publication of much viciously false information in Wikipedia entries posted by malicious sociopathic creeps huddling in their basements madly typing away.
Anonymous Emails – Sinclair is also famous, and documented in the courts, for sending countless vile emails threatening people, many of which I and others have received. A forensic analysis of them all, betrays a single source origin for them. One “death threat” – reported to the police – was also forensically traced to the “C drive on the Ritchie Sinclair “Stardreamer” computer.
NO MENTION in the literature: It is merely an echo of the fact that nowhere, in the academic, or media history of Norval Morrisseau, does the name Ritchie Sinclair appear anywhere, in books, articles, or catalogues in the entire painting career of Norval Morrisseau, from 1950 to 2007.
NO VIDEO of work related activity: And while there is a home-made, amateur-looking video of Sinclair – at the time a grown man of 40, for goodness’ sake – prancing about like a clown, playing Indian in his Davy Crockett costume, at Kleinburg, there is NOT and has never been, any video – hell not even a single photo – showing Sinclair painting with Norval or associating with him artistically in any way. And that’s after a supposed 20+ year working relationship claimed by Sinclair.
Though by Sinclair’s own claim he had been an active painting companion of Morrisseau’s for twenty years. Now how believable is any of that?
Especially, since in 1981, Norval left Toronto permanently, and lived far away from Sinclair, in northern Ontario, Winnipeg MB, Jasper AB, and White Rock and Nanaimo, BC, and returning to Toronto only for whistle stop visits for the odd art show.
Full Disclosure: God-awful KRG Videos:
I honestly believe Ritchie Sinclair’s Kinsman Robinson Galleries videos are easily, the worst educational videos I’ve ever seen, second only to his truly awful and wildly manic court performances.
Though I have to confess I’ve only been a professional video and film evaluator and educationally credentialed specialist since 1966. So my video reviews are only based on 49 years of direct, hands-on experience, as both an educational consumer and professional creator. (It’s probably meaningless, but I’ll mention it for what it’s worth: I have over 130 international film and television awards for my work in creating, directing, shooting, and editing educational and prime time TV shows.)
I have watched both him and Donald Robinson for more hours, in more court cases, than anyone else, living or dead, and much more than is good for my health. I would rather be water-boarded by ISIS terrorists than have to endure another session at having to watch either of them with their wildly narcissistic and totally self-serving and utterly disjointed and diabolical ramblings in court.
And then it gets worse.
In 2005, eight years after publishing “Travels,” Robinson and Norval re-issued the same book again, with very minor textual updates, NOT we note, making textual corrections or adding oversights, like forgetting to mention “Norval Morrisseau Protégé Ritchie ‘Stardreamer’ Sinclair.”
So once again – even after having listened to Sinclair brag of his supposed accomplishment at the Robinson dinner table, and hearing Norval’s response etc. – Robinson and Norval again DID NOT choose to mention the name of Sinclair even once in the updated 2005 book, slightly renamed as “Return to the House of Invention 2005.”
Making it a home run… Ritchie Sinclair is never once mentioned in any Morrisseau academic literature (book, article, interview etc.) or gallery catalogues from 1950 to 2015, which is astounding proof of a life lived truly wasted, in well deserved anonymity, in the nether fringes of the Canadian art scene.
Norval finally died in 2007, never having named or mentioned Ritchie Sinclair even once in any of his published writings, books, or interviews.
The utter anonymity was all too much for Ritchie Sinclair, who, a year after Norval was safely dead, suddenly decided to launch himself, with a vengeance, into the public eye as “Norval Morrisseau Protégé Ritchie Stardreamer Sinclair.”
In a private correspondence that Sinclair had with longtime Calgary Morrisseau blogger, Ugo Matulic, in 2008, Sinclair confesses that the ploy to do so is a deliberate attempt by him to try to restart his floundering art career as an unsuccessful artist, at age 51, by deliberately riding on Norval’s coattail. A man who had never acknowledged having any kind of relationship with the fawning celebrity-chasing Sinclair.
Why, you ask yourself, would Norval not mention the importance of Ritchie Sinclair in his painting career in his book “Travels” in 1997 and “Return” in 2005?
Sinclair might tell you: KRG did it out of spite for a person they regarded as a nobody that no one had ever heard of. Sinclair testified, in court, in a wildly narcissistic flight of fancy, that Kinsman Robinson Galleries had never given him a show because they regarded him as “competition to Morrisseau.”
Oh, and Norval only “forgot” to mention him because of advancing Alcohol Dementia and Dementia/Alzheimer’s.
The Infamous Fakes Norval and Robinson put in “Travels to the House of Invention” 1997
After his brief appearance in the “Goofy Bear Dance 1997” video, at Kleinburg, and at the 1997 KRG book launch, Sinclair disappears back to the black hole of anonymity from whence he had suddenly sprung to surprise the perplexed Donald Robinson. For ten years… waiting for Norval to die. Because he had a plan to do a make-over he couldn’t pull off, as long as Norval lived.
A rebirth as an Indian imposter/impersonator and protégé of Norval Morrisseau.
In fact one of the very first things Sinclair did when he embarked – resplendent in his Davy Crockett costume – on his make-over into becoming a “Norval Morrisseau protégé” in 2008, was to attack as FAKES AND INFERIOR FORGERIES, five different paintings that Norval and Robinson had featured as full pages in “Travels to the House of Invention 1997” in 1997.
“Travels to the House of Invention 1997” was Norval’s own book. The pretence is that Norval personally selected all the images that were in the book, or Donald Robinson picked the images, and Norval approved them for inclusion.
Ten years later, in 2008, Sinclair announced that five of those images are total forgeries, and has had them posted on his website as lousy fakes for the past 7 years.
The conclusion from Sinclair’s allegation is inescapable; it is an indictment of Norval Morrisseau’s mental state in 1997. When Norval supposedly painted “Child With Headdress 1997” he was incapable of remembering which pictures he had painted and which ones he had not. He couldn’t tell a real Morrisseau from a fake, on five different paintings. And that includes one in the collection of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
Which is, of course, completely understandable, either because, he had painted from 10,000 to 15,000 paintings over the past 50 years, and/or because, from a life-time of over-the-top alcohol and substance abuse, over the same time period, Norval had simply fried his brain and hopelessly damaged and disabled his body.
Another Possibility – A real possibility may be that Robinson put the book together himself, without bothering to involve Norval – because of his mentally-debilitated state and had shown Norval only the finished book. Norval may have blown up and said “Where the hell did you get those pictures from. I never painted this one, or this one, or that one, and not that one, or that one.” Alas, it was too late to change in “Travels” in 1997, but not in “Return” in 2005…
In 1997, did Norval just not recall his earlier paintings, a foreshadowing of 2001, when Norval actually confessed to his brother Wolf that he was incapable of remembering any more, which paintings he had painted and which he had not?
There had been a very similar, even earlier incident in the KRG gallery during a Morrisseau show on May 7, 1994, only three years before, when a buyer, asked Norval to sign a painting he had recently bought there. According to an onlooker, Karl Comete, Norval blew up and startled everyone in the gallery by shouting loudly that “I didn’t paint that.” Robinson, in a panic, apparently rushed in to quiet the turmoil.
But it raises the question, was Norval just mentally “out of it,” anymore, or did he just catch Robinson at his well-known habit of sneaking into his gallery a secondary-market painting (real or fake) which he had acquired, for KRG resale, at an auction, and thereby upset Norval with a competing sale for which the artist received nothing and in fact, took away income from one of his direct-from-the-artist works that Robinson was supposed to be promoting?
So, was Norval lying or was Robinson lying, in trying to sell a fake?
In fact Robinson did exactly the same thing in 1999-2000 when, on the sly, he bought 31 secondary market Morrisseaus – the Wanker 31 – without telling Norval, but – you won’t believe this – then actually stock-piled them in the KRG basement, while Norval was propped up – as the “disabled body with a pulse” – upstairs promoting a KRG gallery show of his art. (Robinson confessed to his unethical behaviour in court.)
So, while the mentally-debilitated Norval was promoting sales for KRG, Robinson was sneaking out at night, behind his back, buying up secondary market Morrisseaus for sales that undermined Robinson’s own gallery artist, Norval, for whom he and Kinsman Robinson Galleries were supposed to be working, in good faith.
Or in 1994, was this just an earlier example of how seriously memory-challenged and mentally-disoriented Norval was already, four years before he allegedly painted “Child With Headdress 1997?”
Which is the only explanation for why Norval would include five fakes in his own book, as alleged by Sinclair in 2008, all five of which are still maintained to this day in 2015, on Sinclair’s malicious and defamatory website, labeled as fakes and inferior counterfeits.
It can be the only explanation for the egregious inclusions of fakes in “Travels to the House of Invention 1997.” Paintings chosen by Norval for his own book as genuine original Norval Morrisseau works of art.
And Robinson, the self-styled “world’s top Morrisseau expert” was no better at telling real Morrisseaus from fakes. It was he, after all who had overseen putting no fewer than FIVE of the Sinclair targeted fakes in the book. Norval’s transgression is easily explained because of his advancing Dementia/Alzheimer’s and Alcohol Dementia affliction which robbed him of his memory, as well as his physical and artistic dexterity.
And Robinson? One must conclude his error was just dumb, for failing to catch and correct Norval’s mistake – actually 5 (five) mistakes. So Sinclair would probably argue.
We can do better than that, and quote Robinson himself who testified in court, that in this period, in 1999, when he was telling everyone within earshot that he was the “world’s top Morrisseau expert” he was, in actual fact, just a 10% expert on Norval Morrisseau.
Smirked a clearly disdainful lawyer, Brian Shiller in cross-examining Donald Robinson aka “Mr. 10%” before Judge Martial:
“Donald Robinson – “… if you rate the knowledge I have now at 100 and what I would’ve had back then it’d be probably 10-20 or something like that…
Brian Shiller – So it is your evidence that, basically, in 1999 you weren’t an expert on Morrisseau at all?
Donald Robinson – I wouldn’t say – yes, I think that’s a pretty fair statement as to this point in time.” (Court Trans/Hatfield v Child: Feb 23, 2012 p 23)
So, two or three years earlier, when he ended up putting fife fakes into “Travels” Robinson’s excuse would carry weight that he was only Mr. 5% at the time…
In a private email Sinclair sent at the time, he sternly reminds Ugo Matulic he’s totally serious about his allegations of fakes in Travels by Norval and Robinson, suggesting that he, as an artist, was on Norval’s side, during the “money wars,” in which the debilitated artist had been manipulated by Robinson for self-interest.
“Shouldn’t the fact that in my opinion these paintings are fakes and yet I’ve taken them out of KRG’s book tell you something Ugo? I’m on Norval’s side… (sic) unlike others money has not clouded my judgment.” (Ritchie Sinclair to Ugo Matulic, Apr 1, 2009)
Of course, the only other conclusion is that Sinclair doesn’t have a clue of what he is talking about and his dangerously overblown narcissism simply refused to allow him to back down and remove the embarrassing errors from the pages of history. Now it’s too late for them all.
NOTE: Because now thousands of people will look up the subject fakes on Sinclair’s website and marvel at the idiocy of all concerned: Donald Robinson, Paul Robinson, John MacGregor Newman, Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Norval Morrisseau, and KRG Staff Enforcer Ritchie Sinclair.
Presumably Sinclair must have, sometime, pointed the fakes out to Robinson – the “man who wrote the book on Morrisseau” – whose publishing negligence must have nagged him over the following years, because in his 2005 re-edit of “Travels to the House of Invention 1997” now re-issued as “Return to the House of Invention 2005,” Robinson unceremoniously deleted all five pictures that Sinclair, later (in 2008) declared he found so offensive and posted as Fakes and Inferior Forgeries on his website.
His action was a Robinson acknowledgment that in 1997, when Norval supposedly painted “Child With Headdress 1997,” the artist was severely impaired, not only by a ruthlessly advanced Parkinson’s Twitch, but also by mentally-debilitating Dementia/Alzheimer’s and Alcohol Dementia. And goofed big time in putting five fakes in his signature book.
In a further embarrassing acknowledgment, Robinson has never, in the past seven years demanded that Sinclair remove the offensive images from his malicious and defamatory website or sued him to get them removed.
All five 1997 published book images remain on Sinclair’s website in 2015 as mute testimony to an artist who was mentally deficient in 1997, and to his dealer’s incompetence as a Morrisseau authenticator.
A Private Deal: But it’s quite obvious that Robinson and Sinclair reached a private deal about the five fakes in Robinson’s book. As a courtesy to a man he refers to as “My Mentor,”*** Sinclair has removed any and all links to Donald Robinson, the Kinsman Robinson Galleries, the name of the book “Travels to the House of Invention,” or to Norval’s part in the fiasco. He also published no picture of the book cover. Lack of transparency and academic non-disclosure are repeated sins Robinson and Sinclair both cling to with a passion. (*** In Queen v Otavnik)
To the casual surfer of the malicious and defamatory Sinclair website the five fakes have their totally compromising and notorious history completely expunged and hidden by Sinclair. But they remain flagged, for the past seven long years as fakes and inferior counterfeits, though leaving no tracking evidence of any kind, either the “Travels” book or to the Kinsman Robinson Galleries.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrel – It is not a publishing courtesy Sinclair extended to the Elmwood Spa Gallery when he similarly viciously attacked the paintings in Sherry Brydson’s Morrisseau book, as being lousy forgeries. (Terror at the Elmwood Spa)
Sinclair publicly outed the name of the Brydson book, lampooned it as full of fakes, published a picture of the book cover, and loudly and brashly mentioned its ties to the Elmwood Spa, etc. listing after the gallery dozens of vile words all associating and demeaning the gallery and the owner as purveyors of lowlife forgeries.
The way Sinclair has totally differently handled identical claims he makes about fakes in books, shows how malicious, devious, and how totally unreliable he is as a believable and credible reporter on any level.
Exactly like what multiple judges have ruled.
Ritchie Sinclair aka “The Goofy Dancer”
and His #1 Fake
Only two years after the 1997 “Travels to the House of Invention 1997,” book launch Kinsman Robinson Galleries held another show for Norval in Toronto, in September 1999. The gallery arranged to have Norval, who was perpetually humped over in his wheelchair, with his tongue now constantly drooling out of his mouth, to be carted in as a business prop to attract buyers.
Norval’s physical demise, as filmed in 1997, in Sinclair’s “Goofy Bear Dance Video 1997,” and his mental decline, as reflected by his gross misstep – according to Ritchie Sinclair – at having put five fakes in his 1997 book, “Travels to the House of Invention 1997,” had not at all improved in the two years. In fact things had gotten worse.
On the way to Kinsman Robinson Galleries Norval first made a stop of several days at the Nimkee Gallery on Manitoulin Island, run by Aboriginal artist and art dealer, Blair Debassige who arranged to have the locals honour Norval with the presentation of an eagle feather.
Norval then proudly posed – or was propped up, take your pick – alongside the buyers, in front of his paintings which the gallery had for sale.
One such photo features Norval posing beside a beaming Josie Schywiola, a professional businesswoman, and the proud new owner of the painting on the wall behind them, “Arrangement of Underworld Spirits 1980.”
In 2015, Schywiola’s “Arrangement of Underworld Spirits 1980” has been featured, for years, on Ritchie Sinclair’s malicious and defamatory website as his “#1 Fake and Inferior Counterfeit” of many hundreds he lists after that as forgeries.
Sinclair claimed – and he has been supported by Kinsman Robinson Galleries whenever he attacks similar 1970s era BDPs – on numerous postings, that Blair Debassige had taken advantage of a gullible and unaware (read Dementia/Alzheimer’s, and Alcohol Dementia-debilitated, and mentally vacant Norval Morrisseau) to prop him up in front of fake paintings as a lowlife sales gimmick. And that Norval subsequently confessed at being angry at what he was being forced to do. That the paintings were all fakes.
But there are seven huge compromising problems for Sinclair’s and Kinsman Robinson Galleries’ allegations about fakes at the Nimkee Gallery.
First – Nimkee Gallery owner Kathleen Debassige wrote an angry note saying that at no time did Norval, or his business manager Gabe Vadas, who accompanied Norval, claim any of the Nimkee Gallery paintings were fake, and at no time did either of them claim Norval was being manipulated. That the Debassiges, Norval, and Vadas, all parted on the best of terms, as they left to go to the Toronto show at Kinsman Robinson Galleries.
Second – And you won’t believe this – after the Toronto show, Norval and Vadas returned to the Nimkee Gallery, where according to Sinclair and Kinsman Robinson Galleries’ charges, Norval had supposedly been grossly exploited, abused, and victimized, to spend even more days of private time being guests in the Debassige house and gallery…
Would any ripped-off artist – any human being victimized this way – do such a ridiculous thing? Would Vadas – of sound mind at the time – have allowed his artist to be re-victimized? Would you, if it happened to you?
Which raises the obvious question: did Norval really tell Robinson he was ripped off and posed in front of fakes, or did someone in the basement at Kinsman Robinson Galleries just make this up, in later years to embellish the HOAX they were inventing and spreading?
And then it gets worse, much worse… for Sinclair and Kinsman Robinson Galleries.
Third – Forensic tests on Josie Schywiola’s “Arrangement of Underworld Spirits 1980” – remember this is Sinclair’s alleged #1 Fake – and under which she posed with Norval, was confirmed as absolutely signed by Norval Morrisseau, with DNA certainty by a top Canadian hand-writing expert.
Fourth – Forensic tests on another huge Nimkee Gallery mural Norval was photographed in front of, was also authenticated with DNA certainty.
Fifth – In a DNA forensic Doubly Whammy, BOTH Nimkee Gallery paintings were confirmed not only as absolutely signed by Norval Morrisseau, but further, that no one else could have made those huge black BDP signatures.
Sixth – These two paintings were NOT picked because, out of the alleged dozen or so alleged fakes Sinclair and KRG said were in the gallery, they had the highest probability of being forensically certified. Leaving the KRG come-back, well, the rest are fakes anyway.
In fact both paintings were picked completely at random for forensic examination from the many for only one simple reason. Years later they were the only two still traceable to their new owners, who agreed to have the forensics done.
Seventh – And again, the thousands of dollars for the forensics for the two paintings in the Nimkee Gallery, alleged to be fakes by Sinclair and Kinsman Robinson Galleries, WERE NOT sought or paid for by the owners of the paintings, but were funded and carried out by an independent publicly-spirited individual who realized the paintings had a unique position in the history of the HOAX.
In fact all of the first 17 Morrisseaus that Sinclair (and KRG) calls fakes on his malicious and defamatory website, have been authenticated in the same way by various Canadian forensic scientists. To date some 70 in all…
So, whether Norval was manipulated, as either a semi-comatose, cold-hearted photo prop, or as an aware and proud and willing parent of the paintings, is immaterial.
Whether Norval agreed to or not, and regardless what the art terrorists Sinclair and the Robinsons say, Norval was photographed in front of TWO genuine Morrisseaus.
Both conclusively authenticated by a top Canadian forensic scientist and handwriting analysis expert.
Which is exactly why BDPs are so important. The signatures are your best insurance of authenticity because Norval – and the businessmen around him – lied a lot, just to make a buck or ruin things for others.
And no malicious nay-sayer, not Robinson, not Sinclair, not even Norval Morrisseau with his Alcohol Dementia and Dementia/Alzheimer’s-debilitated mind, can claim anything other than the paintings are real. The paintings are 100% genuine Morrisseaus, with DNA certainty, thanks to those BDP signatures.
It is NOT something you can do with “Child With Headdress 1997.” All you have is Donald Robinson’s word. And really now, how good is that?
End of story.
So much for Ritchie Sinclair’s malicious and defamatory #1 Fake on his malicious and defamatory website, where in 2015, in spite of the forensics he still viciously flags both paintings prominently as his first line of fakes.
Among the many hundreds of similarly fraudulently posted images, some 70 others of which have also been authenticated by three of Canada’s top handwriting analysis experts.
And not to mention the many other Morrisseau BDPs he has attacked that are in major museums and public galleries across Canada and the US, like in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Sinclair, with his few years of high school, sneers at the batteries of highly credentialed curators and art specialists that major institutions use to vet their art collection.
And so much for Kinsman Robinson Galleries’ claims and constant support for the worst art terrorist in Canadian art history.
But let’s just continue with Sinclair’s characterization of Norval as little more than a crassly manipulated “disabled body with a pulse,” because Norval was then shunted off for his next appointment as a photo prop, at Kinsman Robinson Galleries in Toronto.
Disclosure: I consider this repeated use of Norval, the Alcohol Dementia, Dementia/Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s-debilitated “disabled body with the pulse,” as a crass sales prop, as the worst case of elder abuse of a celebrity in Canadian history.
But then white men coldly and crassly exploiting an Indian for private advantage is as old as the history of Canada itself.
The “Body With a Pulse” Upstairs;
the “Body” in the Basement
In fact – I kid you not – at the exact, very moment that Donald Robinson was displaying “the disabled body with a pulse” upstairs in his Kinsman Robinson Galleries (September 1999), he was in the basement stocking up, and deliberately hiding from Norval, Morrisseau BDP paintings he was buying at auctions.
And so beginning to launch his public career as the world’s lousiest art authenticator of all time, in the process becoming the laughing stock of the art world by completely reversing himself and claiming paintings he called authentic one minute he suddenly turned into fakes the next.
Always targeting the same 1970s style BDP paintings. The paintings from the high period of Norval’s best and most prolific decade of painting.
And targeting hundreds of paintings. And his son Paul, was doing the same thing, all the while feverishly issuing Appraisals of Authenticity – for big bucks – for the exact type and style of BDP paintings, from the same source, and at the very same time his father was calling them all utter, and total fakes in the national media.
While Norval was sleeping or in his wheelchair parked in his hotel, Robinson went on completely secret nighttime excursions. Keeping it a complete secret from Norval, Robinson went on an auction buying spree to pick up dozens of Morrisseau paintings, and secretly stored them in the Kinsman Robinson Galleries basement. He testified to this in court. All bore the 1970s era BDP signature on the back.
Why the secrecy? Because he knew Norval would have been pissed off to find that the “Principal Morrisseau Dealer” was in fact the “Principal Double Dealer” and competing with his secretly acquired secondary market paintings bought at auction, against the new direct-from-the-artist paintings he was supposed to be selling in good faith for Norval.
Robinson bid on 90 lots over five auctions from September 1999 till March 2000, ending up with 31 BDPs for $54,000. Inexplicably, a year later “the world’s top Morrisseau expert,” would do a sudden about-face, and call them all fakes, not just his 31 BDPs but many hundreds of others that some 200 top Morrisseau dealers and collectors turned up to bid for and buy at Potter Auctions.
The flood of genuine Morrisseaus – almost all being 1970s era BDPs – in the late 1990s came from several huge Thunder Bay area collections, built up over many decades when Norval was peddling his art by the thousands for $20 or $30 each to people who often didn’t want them but were trying to help out a down-and-out Indian. Hundreds, they just shoved under beds, in attics, or rolled up in the garage, or in storage lockers.
Robinson asked Judge Martial to believe that he was not a scam artist, as lawyer Brian Shiller characterized him in court, but that he was just a really lousy art authenticator back in the 1990s, when “Child With Headdress 1997” was ostensibly painted by Norval Morrisseau, saying he was probably only a 10% accurate Morrisseau expert at the time.
Which means, exactly what I’ve been saying all along that there’s a 10% chance that “Child With Headdress 1997” was painted by Norval Morrisseau, anywhere anytime. And we have Donald Robinson’s own court testimony to prove it.
Would you buy anything from a man or a gallery that can promise a track record of an authenticity rating of 10% back in the 1990s?
Put another way, would you fly with a pilot who can promise you a safe landing, perhaps 10% of the time?
Even though, at that time, he had been selling Morrisseaus for some 15 years, went around bragging that he was the “man who wrote the book on Morrisseau,” and claimed to be the world authority on the artist.
And then it gets worse.
Suspicions about Mr. 10% confirmed…
The Hon Justice Murray Alexander Mogan Speaks
Only a few months before Donald Robinson had published “Travels to the House of Invention 1997,” and Norval was supposedly busy painting “Child With Headdress 1997,” the Hon, Justice Murray Alexander Mogan had taken the measure of the man in the Tax Court of Canada. (Court File Nos. 92-423(IT)G, 92-424(IT)G)
Robinson had been asked to provide an expert report for the Tax Court of Canada on the quality and value of 216 Morrisseau paintings donated by two Thunder Bay lawyers to various galleries for a tax credit. The paintings had all been bought, in the mid 1980s, directly from Norval Morrisseau and his agent Gary Lamont over several years in Thunder Bay.
Note: Lawyer Ken Whent said Norval Morrisseau verified that each painting was by him and genuine. This was a “lawyer thing,” not a fakes thing, because in the early 1980s there was no talk anywhere – there wouldn’t be for 17 years – any mention or accusation let alone “discoveries” of Morrisseau fakes of any kind by anybody. It’s, of course, a ludicrous topic; only an idiot would forge art when originals were dirt cheap and easily had. The forgery claims, ultimately fed to a compliant and gullible press, didn’t start till Donald Robinson invented the HOAX in 2001.
Robinson said that, in his expert opinion, the 216 Thunder Bay Morrisseau paintings were worth $1.2 million dollars.
Justice Mogan howled in protest and set out to investigate the basis for Robinson’s valuations.
And howled again.
He found that Robinson had invented – out of thin air – his claims based on totally non-existent sales records for the years 1984, 1985 and 1986, for which the court had asked him to report.
That Robinson had also deliberately ignored the fact that prices in those years had actually drastically plummeted when Norval had no dealer and was selling his paintings cheap in the streets of Thunder Bay. Mogan began to suspect that Robinson was being less than honest with his valuations.
Furthermore Mogan was incensed that Robinson had enormously inflated the supposed prices for the period, when based on an honest factoring in of the evidence, he had all the proof he needed to have substantially decreased them instead. He accused Robinson:
“Any fully informed owner of a retail art gallery would know or should have known in 1984, 1985 and 1986 that the artist’s new works were being sold by his friends and relatives on the streets of Thunder Bay at bargain prices. That knowledge would affect the prices which the owner of a retail art gallery could charge for new works in those years.” (Judgment July 12, 1996, Ken A. Whent v the Queen)
What Mogan was incensed at, is that having expected Robinson, as an honest broker would be expected to do, to lower price estimates in his “expert report” for the court, instead, found that the “Principal Morrisseau Dealer” had unforgivably jumped the prices on his valuation report skyward…
And instead based his valuations on Robinson’s own “wish list” for prices, for later years, by sneakily slipping in price valuations he and his gallery wanted to establish for the Morrisseau market.
After investigating Robinson’s documentation and claims, a clearly incensed Justice Mogan scorched him in judicial language, and then CUT ALL HIS VALUATIONS IN HALF, from $1.2 million to $660,000. As well as denouncing him for fabricating, he repeatedly centered him out for special opprobrium issuing the ultimate condemnation for an art dealer:
“Mr. Robinson’s close association with Morrisseau is both an asset and a liability… It is a liability in the sense that he has a hopeless conflict of interest in trying to be objective about the quality or value of Morrisseau’s work when he is currently the exclusive distributor for Morrisseau’s new works in Ontario.”
Justice Mogan said, point blank, that Donald Robinson could not be trusted with regard to the quality (authentication) and valuation (authentication) of any Morrisseau art. That he was self-interested and self-serving to a fault.
Mogan accused Robinson of being single-mindedly “hypnotized by his 1990 price list.”
Mogan clearly smelled something but didn’t know the list was the one Robinson made up after signing a deal the same year (1990) at the Aldergrove Summit, where he promised Morrisseau and Vadas he would raise (fix) prices, if they hired him as Principal Canada Morrisseau Dealer, because he told them, Norval’s valuations were too damn low.
That’s how he came up with valuations of $1.2 million that Justice Mogan howled about.
As if he had just caught a fox in the hen house Justice Mogan sternly admonished the Robinson research and assessment for the Ages: “I will place very little reliance upon Mr. Robinson’s appraised value…” (Justice Murray Alexander Mogan, Tax Court of Canada, Whent v Regina, p 24, July 12, 1996.)
He pointedly noted too, that of all the Morrisseau experts he consulted, Robinson was, tellingly, the only one who could never find anything negative to say about any Morrisseau painting.
And this mindset of which Justice Mogan complained, in 1996, was the same one that animated Robinson, only a few months later when he set out to gauge the “quality” and “value” – indeed the “provenance” – of the alleged Morrisseau painting, “Child With Headdress 1979.”
And then it gets worse…
The Hon Justice J Edgar Sexton Speaks
At the very same time, September 1999, that Norval – the “disabled body with a pulse” was crassly and unceremoniously displayed as a sales prop at the Nimkee Gallery on Manitoulin, and then later at the Kinsman Robinson Galleries in Toronto, two other justices of the Federal Court of Canada were pondering the fate of Donald Robinson’s expert report and his credibility and expertise.
The lawyers, including Ken Whent, who had hired Donald Robinson because he told them he was an art expert and the “Principal Morrisseau Dealer,” only to see him slapped down as anything but, by Justice Mogan in the Tax Court of Canada, appealed to the highest court in the land, the Federal Court of Appeal.
Whent had taking exception to the fact that Robinson, who had probably told him he was, with 100% certainty, the world’s top Morrisseau expert, only to see him slapped down as – at best – a 50% expert. And his claims, and valuations only right half the time… at best.
That he was really no reliable “expert” at all. Anybody can be right half the time, just in saying “yes” or “no.”
The Hon. Justice J Edgar Sexton went over Justice Mogan’s scorching judgment, looking for faults. He reviewed the documents submitted by Robinson and reviewed Mogan’s assessment of them, and agreed totally that Robinson’s evaluations could not be trusted since he, as Justice Mogan found:
“has a hopeless conflict of interest in trying to be objective about the quality or value of Morrisseau’s work…”
In December 1999, only two months after Robinson sent Norval – “the disabled body with a pulse” – packing back to the Nimkee Gallery, Justice Sexton, in Ottawa, also dismissed the Robinson valuation for $1.2 million and agreed with Justice Mogan’s slashing of it in half.
Ken Whent must have wondered what kind of Morrisseau expert Robinson really was?
The lawyers lost, in the highest court in the land, the Appeal that questioned the dismissal of their Morrisseau expert, and his credibility and believability.
Justice Mogan’s trenchant analysis and scorching assessment of Robinson as unreliable as an evaluator of quality and value of Morrisseau paintings, and totally compromised by self-interest was totally vindicated, after a review by another one of Canada’s top justices.
And then it gets worse…
The Hon Justice Julius A Isaac Speaks
Top Appeal decisions by the Federal Court of Canada are always reviewed by another justice to make doubly certain that no errors were committed.
Reviewing the Sexton Judgment fell to one of Canada’s most eminent justices, the Hon Justice Julius A Isaac, the first black person to ever sit on the Federal Court of Canada, and who was appointed Chief Justice of the Federal Court by Brian Mulroney in 1991. He examined the Sexton judgment of the Mogan finding on the Robinson “expert report” and valuation.
And concurred wholeheartedly with the Sexton – Mogan judgments.
Can you name another member of the Canadian art community whose judgment as a credible Morrisseau art evaluator has been so triply scorched by three of Canada’s top justices?
Mr. Preposterous – You won’t believe this but Donald Robinson, far from hiding his face in shame, actually promotes himself, every place he can, as a Morrisseau and art expert who has been “repeatedly relied on by the courts as an expert witness.”
Which is, of course, as far from the truth as it’s possible to get, in this world, or the next.
The fact is: every time he has made a court appearance he has been ignored, dismissed, rejected, shamed, or discredited, big time. Without a single solitary exception.
Three eminent Canadian justices, in the 1990s, have ruled that Donald Robinson cannot be trusted to be an honest broker about the quality or value of Morrisseau paintings.
How likely is he then to being able to be reliable about the quality, and the value – in fact the very authenticity – of a painting like “Child With Headdress 1997?”
In fact, by 2015, no fewer than six judges, justices, in a startling variety of courts in the land, from lowest to highest have been unanimous in expressing their views that Donald Robinson is not believable, does not have the requisite credentials, or relevant expertise, to pomposit the way he does on Morrisseau art, its authenticity, or value, and is wholly unqualified to spout on about anyone’s handwriting, syllabics, or document examination.
They have heard him, as I have heard him, as he often seems to have numerous strategic memory losses at the most inopportune time, flips about his facts in midstream, or just makes stuff up out of thin air, if it will advance his personal, family, business, or financial interests to do so.
Which is essentially what the Hon Justice Murray Alexander Mogan said, when Robinson first stepped on the world stage, professing to be an “honest broker” and expert about Morrisseau paintings.
Justice Mogan was less than impressed…
His warning has proved prescient for what was to come in later years.
Judge Martial in 2013 – upheld by Justice Sanderson in the Appeal – would go on to cite Donald Robinson’s overwhelming self interest as influencing his supposedly impartial testimony in that trial.
(Though I’m certain that Martial never saw the infamous “buddy” picture for which the so-called “expert witness” in his court, posed for outside his courtroom, featuring the Plaintiff, and her only two witnesses in the case (Robinson and Sinclair), with their arms around each other.)
Donald Robinson has subsequently submitted at least four of his expert reports, some of which, he claims, took six months to research and write – all free of charge, out of altruism he says – to courts or in aid of lawsuits.
In fact ALL Robinson’s “expert reports,” without exception were, either totally ignored as not believable (Mogan, Sexton, Isaac, Godfrey), dismissed or rejected outright (Martial, Sanderson) or trashed (by CTVglobemedia’s top Canadian lawyer Peter Jacobsen who took one look at Robinson’s expert report alleging Michael Moniz’s “Father and Son” was a fake, and immediately advised his client the Toronto Globe conglomerate to pay off Moniz with $25,000 for falsely libeling him and defaming – regardless of what Robinson maintains in his report – Moniz’s genuine Morrisseau paintings).
Moniz’s paintings, defamed by the Globe and its chief Arts journalist Val Ross, upon the clearly false and malicious recommendation of lawyer Aaron Milrad, and Gabe Vadas, had all been authenticated by a top Canadian forensic scientist and handwriting analysis expert. And Jacobsen and the Globe chose to believe Moniz and his scientist, and turn their backs on shamefully “outed” Milrad and Vadas.
In the Morrisseau art “expert report” business Robinson – and his cohorts – are batting 100% – in total failures.
He’s clearly not setting a very good example for his son.
I have seen Robinson testify in multiple court cases; in every case his testimony fared no better, in the eyes of the judges, than his phony self-serving expert reports.
So how good is Robinson’s word on Provenance & Authenticity of “Child With Headdress 1997?”
Add that to the incontrovertible certainty that the completely and utterly Alcohol Dementia, Dementia/Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s-debilitated Norval Morrisseau was very obviously utterly incapable of signing or painting “Child With Headdress 1997” in 1997, or in the years before and after.
“Child With Headdress 1997” was offered for sale, in the Kinsman Robinson Galleries 2012 Morrisseau Retrospective, as a “Direct from the Artist” Morrisseau, with a price tag of $30,000.
It did not sell, then or in the years that followed but is still posted in 2015, as for sale.
Whereas at one time Kinsman Robinson Galleries salesmen bragged of supposedly having “sold-out” shows on opening day, with their increasing notorious public behaviour and statements to the media and on their blogs, they are succeeding only in keeping thinking clients away.
Which is why they have unsuccessfully offered many of these “new” Morrisseau paintings aka Burrowsseaus, like “Child With Headdress 1997” for sale for many years.
The Court of Credibility Speaks
You might be interested – and no doubt surprised – to know that neither Donald Robinson or Kinsman Robinson Galleries have ever, in 15 years, taken a single forgery to court, not a single forger, and not even a single seller of forgeries. Ever. Not once.
Wouldn’t that have been the principled thing to do? To prove in an independent and trustworthy forum their claims about numerous forgeries “out there?”
Not if you don’t have a single shred of believable proof – which they don’t of course – that anyone, even with borderline brain power, would buy into. Hence 15 years of malicious and irresponsible slanging, instead of principled litigation where you have to convince a judge.
So they have accused many decent people, in the media and in court – clearly without proof – for being involved in making and selling forgeries. Thousands of them…
Now how credible are they? What kind of integrity and ethics are involved here?
What could be a clearer confirmation that what the Robinsons and Kinsman Robinson Galleries want is not an honest publication and settlement of the evidence on the issue, but a reign of art terror to rule and disable the Morrisseau art world of their business competitors?
What could be more damning proof that they have no credible evidence that they would ever dare to put in front of a judge. If they did, they know they would face huge and total condemnation and expensive public and publicized penalties for the wild claims they’ve made.
BUT THEY HAVE attacked investigative journalists – the informed people who publicize behaviour and evidence – with cyber attacks, legal threats, and launched SLAPP suits against anyone who wants to inform the public about the HOAX.
Again, not a single one of which has ended up in court before the KRG operatives, because they realize they can’t scare people who know their stuff and can meticulously document it all. Instead, they just fold like a cheap suit and return to the Kinsman Robinson Galleries basement to plan the next cyber attack or SLAPP offensive.
In 2013, Donald Robinson, Paul Robinson, and Kinsman Robinson Galleries, who had launched a million dollar SLAPP suit against Ugo Matulic a blogger for libel and defamation, totally folded without a single gain after their own lawyer ominously warned them, after the first day of Discovery, they had better not go further, after she saw the evidence amassed against Donald Robinson and Kinsman Robinson Galleries and their manipulation of the Morrisseau art market.
Then ask yourself – better yet, ask Donald Robinson, ask Paul Robinson, ask John MacGregor Newman, ask the Kinsman Robinson Galleries cleaning lady – “Why are all you guys publishing such totally misleading and unbelievable provenance about “Child With Headdress 1997?” Are you just manufacturing provenance to get a sale?”
And how many other paintings – of the many hundreds you’ve sold – have you misled people on, about their origins and just manufactured the provenance for, so you could entrap gullible and trusting customers into buying one of your questionable, latter-day “Morrisseaus,” or “Burrowsseaus?***”
***Burrowsseaus are paintings after 1990 when master artist Karl Burrows claims he was recruited, by Gabe Vadas and Morrisseau, with increasing frequency “to fill in for Norval” when his Parkinson’s Twitch increasingly interfered with his ability to draw curves, straight lines, dots, or sign his name. Karl, a great and healthy artist in his own right, could do it all well. In the end he says he painted complete canvasses, often added Norval’s syllabic name on the front, and shipped them off to BC’s Coghlan Art Studio and Toronto’s Kinsman Robinson Galleries, both of whom he declared, gladly sold countless numbers of his Burrowsseaus, uncontaminated by Norval’s signature, the touch of his brush, or afflicted with the frenetic jiggle of his Parkinson’s Twitch.
I, anonymously, toured Bryant Ross’ Coghlan Art Studio in 2005, specifically to look at his brand new Morrisseaus which he had on several floors of his old hydro plant studio. I did not like the looks of any of them. They must have been some of the many Burrowsseaus which Karl Burrows said he had supplied to Ross. Ross did assure me, that whatever kind of Morrisseaus I had at home – he hadn’t seen them or seen images of any of them – that THEY WERE FAKES AND HIS WERE GENUINE…
I found his claims questionable, especially when Bryant Ross claimed Norval Morrisseau had painted some of these typically huge canvases, when it was obvious from the available pictures and videos I had seen that a mentally and physically debilitated and disabled artist in a wheelchair could not have been capable of painting them.
Having watched Bryant Ross’ Morrisseau-related antics over the last decade, the last place on earth I would ever consider buying a painting hoping to get honest-to-goodness provenance is the Coghlan Art Studio, in Aldergrove BC.
Well, actually, the second last place…
How well does all that speak of where “Child With Headdress 1997” comes from?
Remember, it’s got no Norval DNA on the back.
Collectors are in big trouble when the only proof of a painting’s authenticity that Kinsman Robinson Galleries, or Coghlan Art Studio has, are their own gallery label possibly stuck on by the cleaning lady or a relative…
And its word as a reputable, professional, dependable art gallery, and Morrisseau experts…
And the entire Canadian art community knows what that’s worth in 2015.
Your Final Test:
The Morrisseau Twitch Test
aka “The Jonathan J Sommer Replication Test”
On Feb 3, 2014, lawyer Jonathan Jerome Sommer, told National Post writer Tristin Hopper, who quoted him several times, that Morrisseau’s work “was not terribly difficult to replicate.”
A Cautionary Tale: I question whether Hopper should really have quoted Sommer on something related to the art of Norval Morrisseau, and whether you Dear Reader should take Sommer seriously on the topic either. After all, Sommer was still reeling from three huge judicial/lawsuit defeats, in quick succession, in the Canadian court system, all dismissing utterly and discrediting entirely his claim that there are Morrisseau fakes, and his claim that he has the proof…NOT!
Within a period of only 9 (nine) months he had suffered three total and disastrous dismissals of his attempt to prove a couple of genuine Morrisseau paintings “fakes.” He had managed to dig up 2 (two) people for the court, who claimed they had proof there were Morrisseau forgeries “out there, ” thousands of them. Unfortunately they were the same two discredited sources so repeatedly dismissed by forensic experts, and court judges and justices, Donald Robinson and Ritchie Sinclair. And this hapless team hugely failed to prove either of two alleged “fakes” they defamed, in any court.
Far from it; one judge refused to rule the one a fake – so confirming its status as authentic (Godfrey on “Jesuit Preist 1974” in Otavnik v Sinclair.) Two other judges (Martial, Sanderson) ruled the other one “Wheel of Life 1979,” absolutely authentic. And in a third bogus allegation of a fake they were discredited not by a judge – it never got that far – but, not so astonishingly, by the owner (John McDermott) of the painting itself, who, having been originally pushed into a lawsuit, refused to “push forward,” preferring his expensive nightmare – he had to pay Sommer big legal bills – to die and just go away . In fact long after McDermott had effectively abandoned it, his lawsuit was still being promoted in the media as “active,” by clearly desperate sounding Sinclair and Sommer in various papers.
Eye-opener – I watched, in interminable agony, over many hours and hours, as two judges, were bending over backwards to accommodate lawyer Jonathan Sommer who was clearly struggling in trying to give it his best shot, in displaying his so-called proof and so-called witnesses to the court. With disastrous consequences to the case he presented, in both Small Claims Court and in Ontario Superior Court.
I watched him struggle in his agony from only ten feet away, during all the hours he presented, over six days, in two courts, before two judges, over a three year period.
Only one person exhibited more growing distress during the trial, than Sommer, and that was his client, the elderly Margaret Hatfield, whom I watched, over three years deteriorate into a constantly quivering mass of despondency, because she knew full well – like everyone else in the court before the judge even ruled – that her lawyer had disastrously failed to make his case and that she had lost the lawsuit and some $50,000 of her paltry pension to her lawyer’s inability to prove a single point of what he and his two witnesses were claiming about her genuine Morrisseau being a fake.
The lawyer and his two witnesses, disastrously, couldn’t even prove the existence of a single Morrisseau fake even when it was a painting of their own chosing.
I watched as they gleefully defamed a painting “Wheel of Life 1979,” which Hatfield had once loved, but thanks to her lawyer and his witnesses, she now, no doubt, loathed with a passion.
After all, one of them, Donald Robinson testified, that the painting, which she has spent $10,000 to buy, was a worthless fake, not worth a cent, and had “zero” value. He was assuring her that she had just “burned up” $10,000 of her paltry pension.
Add that to the $50,000 her legal fees were going to cost her (for those with poor math skills, she’s now at $60,000 and counting), and her fast disappearing retirement nest egg looked like a disaster that would blight her final years.
No wonder, that at the end (over the years I always sat only some seven feet behind her), that she was reduced to a quivering mess in constant distress. (All day, during the Sanderson Appeal I sat beside her.)
Well wherever she ended up, at least she still had her painting to look at…
The Jonathan J Sommer Morrisseau-related Reverses in 2013
1) The Stunning & Total Martial Reverse: March 25, 2013 – Judge Paul J Martial – after the longest fine art trial in Canadian history ruled that Jonathan Jerome Sommer’s client’s allegations claiming her subject painting was a fake, and the testimony, the credentials, and the truthfulness, of Sommer’s only two witnesses, Donald Robinson and Ritchie Sinclair, were ALL “rejected” as unbelievable.
And though Judge Martial WAS NOT required to do so – as noted by Justice Sanderson some months later – he gallantly threw down his gauntlet at the Plaintiff’s feet, by helpfully going out of his way to assure the clearly panicked, worried, and distraught retired school teacher that the painting Sinclair and Robinson had persuaded her was a fake was, to the contrary, 100% genuine and signed by the artist and by no one else.
2) The Stunning & Total McDermott v McLeod Abandonment
November 14, 2013 – A celebrity client, singer John McDermott, on whose behalf Jonathan Jerome Sommer had penned a vicious Plaintiff’s Claim against a respected Morrisseau art dealer, I believe, bailed out on his lawyer almost as soon as he had penned the unsubstantiated allegations.
So ended that lawsuit, within only a few weeks after it had been launched with lots of public hoopla in the media. There was no private deal of any kind involved, and no penalties or concessions demanded or granted. Sommer’s client just, holus bolus, dumped the lawsuit in the trash, and apparently accepted that his painting was genuine after all, not at all the fake Sommer’s Plaintiff Claim alleged.
The court – purely as a routine house-keeping measure – finally declared the McDermott Claim “abandoned” some eight or nine months after McDermott himself, I believe, dropped it.
And the only documents filed in that case – I’ve been to the court to review the official records – is the vile and false Plaintiff’s Claim that libeled and defamed Joe McLeod. And the court’s own notices to Sommer to do something to follow up or back up with action the inflammatory things he alleged in his Plaintiff’s Claim. Sommer did nothing, I believe, for a simple reason: he had nothing, no evidence, no substantiation, no proof, no believable witnesses. And no client willing to pay him a nickel more to carry on this travesty of a bogus court case.
It is a sickening reality of the Canadian judicial system that you really don’t need any proof in order to defame or vilify someone with vile accusations in a Plaintiff’s Claim.
Postscript: It is a further sickening reality, in the Canadian legal system, that a lawyer can immediately take a libelous and defamatory Plaintiff’s Claim to the media, with all its malicious allegations published – without any proof necessary – against a decent person or reputable business operator. This will tarnish the Defendant for months or years before he gets a chance to tell the truth in court. Tainting the jury pool is the obvious reason this is done.
“The real problem (in the Canadian judicial system) is that anybody with $180 and an axe to grind can go to the media with a statement of claim and assassinate anybody’s reputation.” Ron Fine, and “… by using the media to spread lies.” (Alex Shnaider, Court of Appeal for Ontario, Jun 17, 2013 p6.)
And that if the Plaintiff then decides, almost immediately, to drop the whole thing completely – as happened in the McDermott case – the lawyer does not need to publish a public retraction or apology for slanging someone and then refusing to “push the case forward,” in effect to either “put up or shut up.”
The lawyer does not even need to alert the media that his client has quit the lawsuit.
In the McDermott case, Jonathan Jerome Sommer, launched his Plaintiff’s Claim on Oct 17, 2013, and immediately arranged to contact James Adams of the Globe who published the libelous and defamatory allegations with gusto on October 25.
(It is a fact that the overwhelming number of Plaintiff’s Claims never see the light of day in any publication. They, like the Defences filed, remain unseen, unheard, private papers exchanged by two people. The only ones that get media publicity are those pushed into public view by a litigating lawyer, for reasons that are best known to him.
We can find no evidence that Sommer informed Adams that his client had, I believe, almost immediately, refused to go along with the lawsuit anymore and effectively killed the case “literally in the womb” as early as November 14, but certainly by December 2013.
After the Claim was filed on Oct 17, there is not even one single further document in the file indicating John McDermott’s willingness to “push the case forward,” after that date. Not one. And Jonathan Jerome Sommer very well had to have known it. Because his client would have told him.
We can find no evidence that Sommer informed Adams or any other journalist that the court had finally declared the McDermott case “abandoned” in June 2014.
It was not till October 2014, that Adams discovered – he had to discover it himself – that the McDermott case, which he had launched to the public with such malicious vitriol, a full year before, in October 2013, had been dropped long ago, had in fact, I believe, been sabotaged by John McDermott himself who refused any longer to dignify a malicious libel and defamation and allegations of fakes with his participation.
Heinous Beyond the Pale – What malicious and irresponsible journalists have always tried to do is make the Accused art dealer look as if they did something crooked and creepy, that they had better try and have a good excuse for.
“Look here Mabel! The Globe has another article on a crooked art dealer! Hope they nail his hide to the wall…”
NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH or more maliciously false.
Joe McLeod does NOT have to prove he’s honest, that he’s reputable, that his painting is real, which is the slanging slant malicious, and ignorant journalists like to give the story. Hinting, broadly, that until he clears his name, the Defendant is under a cloud, and that smart consumers had better beware of Morrisseau paintings.
IN A CANADIAN COURT, IT IS UP TO THE PLAINTIFF – THE MUSICIANS HEARN AND McDERMOTT AND THEIR LAWYER JONATHAN JEROME SOMMER – WHO HAVE TO PROVE THEIR ALLEGATIONS, IN COURT.
IF THEY SLANG SOMEONE, LIBEL SOMEONE, SLANDER SOMEONE, IN THE MEDIA, OR IN A PLAINTIFF’S CLAIM, THEY BETTER HAVE PROOF FOR THEIR MALICIOUS AND VILE ALLEGATIONS TO SHOW A JUDGE… OR THEIR OWN REPUTATIONS WILL BE DAMAGED IF THEY CAN’T PRODUCE PROOF FOR A COURT.
THEIR REPUTATIONS SHOULD VERY WELL SUFFER, IF, AFTER PUBLISHING VILE AND MALICIOUS ALLEGATIONS AGAINST AN INNOCENT PARTY, THEY JUST DROP A CASE BECAUSE THEY ARE ASHAMED OF LETTING A JUDGE SEE, AND RULE, ON THEIR SUPPOSED “PROOF” FOR THE PUBLIC SLANGING THEY ARE DOING.
“Trial by media” is not a legitimate judicial process recognized in Canada.
The Canadian sense of decency and fair play, and Canadian judges and courts, frown on public slanging, and demand. “Where’s the beef?”
SOMETHING LAWYER JONATHAN JEROME SOMMER HAS REPEATEDLY AND SPECTACULARLY FAILED TO DO, IN ALL HIS PREVIOUS APPEARANCES IN VARIOUS COURTS TRYING TO PROVE FAKES – HELL HE HASN’T EVEN BEEN ABLE TO PROVE A SINGLE FAKE!!!
Not in a single Canadian court, and not in a single lawsuit, ALL OF WHICH HAVE RESOUNDINGLY GONE AGAINST HIM AND HIS BOGUS ALLEGATIONS AND HAVE ENTIRELY DISCREDITED THE WITNESSES HE USED.
Though of course, he’s made a good living doing it…
It’s worse than that. Judge after Judge has told Sommer the painting he calls fake is 100% authentic beyond a shadow of a doubt. And furthermore that the signature he calls fake is also genuine beyond a shadow of a doubt.
And Brian Shiller the winning lawyer on all the lawsuits and court cases which Jonathan Sommer has lost, told the National Post in Feb 2014, that he had asked Sommer for his so-called proof of forgeries many times. And Sommer had failed to provide any of it…
Now why would that be?
Is it because Sommer is making a living flogging a dead horse? And getting away with it…?
Those truths are what James Adams has repeatedly and spectacularly avoided telling his readers. All part of the Globe’s lingering resentment at having had to pay Micheal Moniz $25,000 for the Globe and Adams’ predecessor wrongly libeling and defaming Moniz and his genuine Morrisseau paintings in 2007. At the urging of the same malicious and completely discredited Conspiracy Theorists as are behind Hatfield, Hearn, and McDermott.
Meanwhile over the past year, the vile Plaintiff’s Claim was damaging Joe McLeod’s reputation 24/7 in the Globe archives.
And of course, with its vile allegations of Morrisseau fakes, continuing to maliciously destroy the art heritage of Norval Morrisseau.
Both the lawyer and the journalist get equal credit for a tawdry chapter in the Morrisseau Hoax and for setting out to slang and defame Joe McLeod without a single iota of evidence.
3) The Stunning Total Sanderson Dismissal
December 17, 2013 – The Hon Madam Justice Mary Anne Sanderson in Ontario Superior Court brusquely dismissed all Sommer’s claims of some 35 alleged judicial mistakes by Judge Martial, and upheld in totality Martial’s scorching judgment dismissing all allegations of forgery, and dismissing the expertise, credentials, credibility, and believability of Sommer’s only two witnesses.
So in all of this three Morrisseau-related outings in the courts by Jonathan Sommer, he was batting 3 and 0 – that’s three failures and zero wins… Perhaps, in future, Sommer should choose better informed clients who’ve done some basic research before they file a spurious claim and waste tens of thousands of dollars on dead-end lawsuits.
So Sommer, who has said in the media and in the courts that there are thousands of Morrisseau fakes out there that the public should beware of, he has spectacularly failed – in all three of his attempts – to prove even 1 (one) genuine Morrisseau a fake – and that’s even one of his own choosing…
Not only in Small Claims Court but in Ontario Superior Court before one of Ontario’s top justices.
We now invite you to do the “Jonathan Jerome Sommer Replication Test.”
OK, Dear Reader, following a suggestion from lawyer Jonathan Jerome Sommer, who says this is easy and simple for anyone (Morrisseau’s art “was not very difficult to replicate,” Sommer to Hopper, National Post, Feb 3, 2014) now take a copy of this painting and take it to your relative or neighbour – you know the one who’s suffering from Alcohol Dementia, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s (according to the Alz website, 80% of Parkinson’s patients end up with it) – and have him/her attempt to make a faithful copy of the “Child With Headdress 1997” as an exercise.
I really don’t care what degree of Parkinson’s etc., they have. It will be, frankly, far too difficult anyway, to find someone who has as severe a Parkinson’s Twitch as Norval had in 1997, when he allegedly painted “Child With Headdress 1997.”
Remember, for this test, just about any old “twitch” will do.
The test will – trust me – work just as perfectly with a person with any degree of Parkinson’s.
Now, with “Child With Headdress 1997” on one side, see how well they can line up the dots and lines on a fresh piece of paper.
Can they do it as well as “Norval” who allegedly painted “Child With Headdress 1997?” I can guarantee – even though their Parkinson’s is far less severe than that which totally and violently disabled Norval’s painting arm in 1997, they cannot…
It’s the final indictment of the claims of the Robinsons and Kinsman Robinson Galleries…
And raises the legitimate question that many knowledgeable and dumbfounded experts have asked in private, for years:
If the Robinsons and Kinsman Robinson Galleries are just so totally wrong on “Child With Headdress 1997,” just how many of their other “Morrisseaus” aka “Burrowsseaus” are they just as wrong on?
You know the hundreds and hundreds of paintings they have sold with no testable signatures or DNA on the back…
Where did the hundreds of canvases come from, who painted them, and who painted Norval’s syllabic signature on the front?
When he was obviously long past being able to do any of it himself. And Kinsman Robinson Galleries continued to sell new Morrisseaus at a brisk rate?
More than one skeptical Canadian art expert wondered out loud, just where the hell are those huge new canvases coming from – some featured at the Retrospective at the National Gallery in 2006 – that are credited to a comatose artist who’s been a crippled wheelchair invalid for over a decade, and could hardly lift his hands for the last decade of his life?
And no… backdating them does not make them any more believable…
I leave you with a cautionary from Toronto lawyer, and international fake art sleuth Bonnie Czegledi who said:
“Over a period of a few years, I discovered that the business of art is one of the most corrupt, dirtiest industries on the planet. There are no regulations… It’s not pretty. The patina of loveliness that most people associate with art didn’t exist in the reality that I found. It was filled with criminals – and a lot of different kinds.”
(Bonnie Czegledi, quoted, Hot Art, Knelman, p25)