Last Major Update – Oct. 25
U of Regina Prof Intimates the Thunder Bay Art Gallery is Malfeasantly Promoting and Showcasing a Fake Morrisseau Painting
“A University of Regina Professor of Visual Arts & Member of the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society (NMHS), Carmen Robertson, damningly indicates that longtime Director of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery (TBAG), Sharon Godwin, is being an unwitting agent in malfeasantly promoting and showcasing a lowlife Morrisseau fake, “After Life Spirit of the Fourth, 1958.”
In an “expert report,” filed with a Toronto court, in which she lays out her “proof” for why a Morrisseau painting, owned by Kevin Hearn, is a fake, University of Regina Visual Arts Associate Professor Carmen Robertson, also makes, what can only be described as an explosive and totally damning case, that longtime Director of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Sharon Godwin, made a terrible mistake in promoting and publicizing “After Life Spirit of the Fourth, 1958” in a 2010 TBAG show “Copper Thunderbird – Thirty Years – organized by the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.”
Introducing the “Wascana Floater Test” of Authenticity – In her “expert report” filed in a Toronto court case, Professor Robertson lays out what she claims is her primary proof, of how to tell a fake Morrisseau.
And she documents the source for her own personal “expert” Morrisseau “fakes yardstick,” specifically, Norval Morrisseau’s use of the “Divided Circle” in his paintings.
She prominently notes, in at least two of her major publications, that, in a 1964 letter to fellow artist Susan Ross, Norval told Ross the Divided Circle was his favourite painting sign. And Norval apparently drew Ross a picture OF EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT. (Robertson “expert” report on “Spirit Energy…”, p 37, fn 24)
From this primary archival source*** Professor Robertson developed her claim that Norval used his favourite sign often – no one I know of, disputes that – BUT SHE CLAIMS, ALWAYS connected by “Lines of Communication” to other elements in a painting. Which is her totally unsubstantiated claim – and a demonstrably farcical one – that Norval, according to Robertson, never used “unconnected” or “unlinked” Divided Circles floating loosely and unfettered, about on ANY of his canvases.
***This is, in fact, one of the very few actual “primary” sources that Professor Robertson uses, to substantiate a claim she makes. Almost everything else she refers to are “secondary” sources – dupes from picture books, dupes of paintings she has not seen – or “observed” as she calls it – or dupes of opinions from friends and colleagues (95% her only listed sources), or those who have commissioned her to say things.
Primary sources, are the basic building blocks professional historians and serious researching academics use, being the actual certified documents actually used or issued by historical actors, as opposed to third party hearsay accounts of what commentators think might have been going on.
Secondary sources, or evidence, whether of picture, text, or conversations, are always a lesser, and notoriously unreliable standard of evidence, of the hearsay variety. Professor Robertson’s malfeasance as an academic, in this regard, is further hugely displayed in that she virtually never even researches or tests her secondary source claims or respondents.
And chronically, just ignores any inconvenient evidence, interview sources, primary documents (contrary judgments, forensics, experts, publications) which she dislikes, or undermine her fabricated thesis. She simply pretends that they don’t exist… As a historian, as an investigative reporter, and a Canadian heritage blogger, I find this an unacceptable lapse in academic scholarship.
However this may wash on Wascana Creek…
In fact, her entire book “Mythologizing Norval Morrisseau,” is nothing but a mindless collage of undigested and unresearched and unvetted, let alone tested newspaper articles, which she invariable quotes and accepts at face value. Including her fraudulent claim about those “Morrisseau fakes” out there.
The book is worthless as academic scholarship for this reason, and for mindlessly repeating and perpetuating tons of utterly false history, that does a huge disservice to serious Morrisseau scholarship.
In fact her central thesis in the book, claiming that Norval was somehow a victim of “colonialism” and a hapless and helpless victim of white media (the press and filmmakers), is so utterly ludicrous it is beneath contempt. If there was ever any person who was NOT colonialized or victimized by anyone, in any way, shape or form, that person was Norval Morrisseau. He summed up his view of the surrounding white society in which he grew up.
“White man’s paper’s no fucking good.” (Pollock, Dear M, p39)
In every way, and every day, Norval showed that if anyone ever was NOT colonialized or bound by a single social convention that might have restricted him, that was Norval Morrisseau. If any Canadian ever lived life totally outside the bounds of any moral or ethical, sexual, or societal constraint, that person was Norval Morrisseau.
“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.” (Stevens, Picasso p158)
Why does Robertson ignore Stevens or Pollock, which she notes, as references, but apparently forgot to read. Is it because they totally destroy her contrived pet thesis?
And a final sign off on the “poor Norval thesis,” by Pollock himself, who wrote, of the wild man in his life, whom no one could control, Norval Morrisseau.
”He’s caused me more problems than any other single human being on the face of the earth.” (Pollock, Dear M, p42)
This startling encomium to Norval’s ruthlessness, even to people who meant him well, Pollock claimed, amazingly enough, to rank as more troublesome than the behaviour of the man who gave him HIV Aids, and caused his premature death…
Because if there ever was a human being who did it “my way,” that was Norval Morrisseau, who never was anyone’s patsy, anyone’s stooge, and certainly never ever a victim of colonialism.
Or bound by anything else either, like even basic duties to his long-suffering wife, family, and his own seven Indigenous children, ALL OF WHOM, WITH HIS LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, HE TOTALLY DISOWNED, WITH HIS DYING BREATH…
Norval always made sure that people around him were the victims, never he…
The Worst Case of Elder Abuse in Canadian History
In fact the only time Norval was ever a victim of “colonial exploitation,” was when his white caretakers confined, what was left of him, to a terminal care facility in 2001, at the exact same time that they launched the HOAX alleging “Norval says” there are “thousands of fakes by umpteen forgers” out there, and that they all happen to be in the hands of Kinsman Robinson Galleries’ business competitors…
His legal guardians, using Norval’s Power of Attorney, were Gabe Vadas (since 1990) and KRG’s Donald Robinson (since 2004).
I have written and documented,*** that in 2001, at the moment Norval had the most debilitated Dementia and Parkinson’s ravaged mind and body of any leading Canadian personality in history, he also became a victim of the worst case of elder abuse in Canadian history.
And a helpless victim of a white Canadian art establishment (Kinsman Robinson Galleries, the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society, the National Gallery of Canada, etc.) determined to exploit what was little more than a TIBWAP (insentient body with a pulse), mercilessly for their own selfish purposes.
And the National Gallery of Canada’s Greg Hill was as bad as it gets in this regard, having Norval dragged from his death-bed, so he could prop him up in Ottawa – asleep; he was already dead to the world*** – in front of an assordid gala of “silks, satins, suits, and snoots,” to celebrate the Retrospective of a dying and Demented Indigenous artist, whom NGC bureaucrats and curators had racially barred from exhibiting any of his work – even refusing to buy any – during his entire painting lifetime of some fifty years.
***If you don’t believe me look at photos and videos of the event in Feb. 2006. Or review the CBC news footage of Norval making the acceptance speech, and of the post-gala interviews he gave. PS – Don’t waste your time, there are none. Norval hadn’t been able to remember things, or really communicate anything very intelligible, for years, since 2001-2002. (According to testimony of his brother Wolf.) Now do you know why his white handlers, in desperation, put him in terminal care in 2001? And only brought him out on “special occasions” as a prop, to promote their art sales… In fact at the gala, I am certain that Michele Vadas, who was responsible for Norval’s “meds,” heavily drugged and sedated him before they wheeled him out to the audience, you know, so Norval wouldn’t drool, loll his tongue about, make unseemly noises, or flop his heard around… and embarrass all the nice white folks watching…
And Norval had not a clue, or did he, that he was being used by the white Colonial Establishment and their collaborating operatives?
One noticeable “no show” at the gala, which was supposed to be the crowning peak of Norval’s career as a top Canadian artist, was Donald Robinson of Toronto’s Kinsman Robinson Galleries. The man whose family had made millions off Norval, representing him and manipulating him for 16 years, very well knew there was “nobody home” inside Norval’s head anymore. And he would never know if Robinson skipped out on him, or be aware of the highly inappropriate snub by his “exclusive” dealer.
One is tempted to think that even for Robinson the way that Norval was dragged off his death-bed, and drugged up so he could be displayed by NGC propagandists, was beneath contempt.
Perhaps even he didn’t want to be associated with this gross and vile act of elder abuse, just to advance a bureaucratic agenda at the NGC trying to erase its – very recent – racist past, in excluding Indigenous art and artists from its hallowed halls.
The final rebuff to the “poor Norval was colonialized” canard is that Norval – exactly because he was never bent, or bowed, or cowed by anyone, did something no other Canadian artist, white or non-white ever managed to do. With his renegade-fueled dismissal, of any yoke of colonial convention imposed by his white artistic colleagues, from the unfettered and unsubmissive depths of his own consciousness, he founded and bestowed to the world community of artists, an entirely new language of artistic expression. Ranking him among the ultra few artists in world history – and the only Canadian – to have done so, and so ranking as the equal of Picasso.
Norval even managed to transcend being a Canadian…
Despite his racist establishment detractors at home***, he soared far beyond and above that local and minimalist national restriction.
Norval Morrisseau was truly in a class by himself – a world class artist.
***”I wouldn’t hang that shit in my house.”
– matronly Eaton family heiress
A Victim of Colonialism? – If Professor Robertson wanted someone to try out her pet thesis on, about artists who had become hopeless victims of “colonialism,” she would have had MUCH more fertile ground by exploring the Indigenous artist who drew the following two works, exhibited recently in a feature Indigenous artists show in the McMaster University Art Gallery. To little interest. I spent an hour looking at 18 works. Nobody else came into the gallery.
The name of the artist – sometime Art Gallery of Ontario Curator Gerald McMaster who was the point man of the AGO’s desecration of Kevin Hearn’s genuine Morrisseau painting, “Spirit Energy of Mother Earth 1974” in 2010.
(“McMaster is a Plains Cree and Blackfoot curator, artist, and author. He is enrolled in the Siksika First Nation.” (Wik))
Now do you see why, with his background in US and Canadian pop art, it was easy for McMaster, as the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Curator of Canadian Art in 2010, to become embroiled – as both victim and perp – in the biggest act of cultural genocide in the AGO’s history.
He allowed the aggressive art terrorist Ritchie Sinclair to get Jennifer Bhogal, the AGO’s boss of the Art Rental Department, to dismount Norval Morrisseau’s “Spirit Energy of Mother Earth 1974,” belonging to celebrity ivory tickler Kevin Hearn, as a “fake.” And then proceeded, to do… nothing… to rectify matters, when the $h!t hit the fan.
McMaster and Director Matthew Teitelbaum were BOTH hugely guilty of allowing themselves to be sucker punched by Ritchie Sinclair, and hugely curatorially malfeasant, by going with the flow, and hiding from responsibility in what Sinclair had precipitated.
Both resolutely refused to answer Joe McLeod’s registered letters demanding to know what the AGO’s Top Duo, had done with his (Norval’s) art, and why?
Both were shameful NO SHOWS, when, as a basic matter of decency and principle alone, they should have replied professionally.
Conspiratorially, neither Teitelbaum nor McMaster left any written trail of their complicity in this utter curatorial fiasco at the AGO’s highest levels.
Teitelbaum’s woeful ignorance about Indigenous art is excusable, even if his curatorial behaviour is NOT.
The self-proclaimed Indigenous artist, McMaster, has no defence. His ignorance about Norval’s art – he clearly seems to be more knowledgeable and more interested in American gun-slinging cowboys in Montana, and Prime Ministers of Canada – was evident in hearsay emails written by Kevin Hearn and Ritchie Sinclair during the fiasco.
DISCLOSURE 1 – Note this account is based heavily on original documents filed with the Toronto court. And a long personal conversation I had with Joe McLeod sitting in his apartment, on Mar. 2, 2013. With considerable anguish that blighted his declining years, he told me the whole story regarding Hearn and the AGO fiasco and his inability to get any kind of decent professional response of any kind whatsoever, from AGO Director Matthew Teitelbaum or his Curator of Canadian Art, Gerald McMaster. They had gone to ground, for personal reasons. And were notoriously shirking their fiduciary duty to the Board of the Art Gallery and the people of Ontario.
DISCLOSURE 2 – This meeting also led by accident, directly to the ending of the parallel Sommer lawsuit of McDermott v McLeod. Joe, in considerable personal anguish told me he was being harassed constantly by celebrity singer John McDermott alleging Joe had sold him fakes. Joe was 82 and on the waiting list for heart surgery, and suffering great personal turmoil. I told him I would try something to stop the nasty phone calls. I sleuthed out a McDermott email, that apparently reached his wife, whom I told – anonymously – to read this Blog. She replied “very interesting, who are you? I said it did not matter, to read on, and educate yourself, to pay for a forensic examination of your art instead of spending untold thousands on dead end lawsuits.
I told Joe what I had done. He told me the nasty phone calls stopped.
When the McDermott lawsuit was announced in the Globe in Oct. 2013, I immediately reconnected to the McDermotts by anonymous email again, and sent them the Martial Judgement on Sommer’s disastrous Hatfield v Child lawsuit, that had recently come out. They were clearly not aware of it. Strange that Sommer would not have given them a copy.
Within days of receiving my emails, the McDermotts cancelled their lawsuit against Joe McLeod.
DISCLOSURE 3 – As Joe talked he was sitting in front of – you won’t believe this – a virtual total clone of the painting Kevin Hearn called “fake.” (In fact you can see it on a CBC tape, in the background, as Peter Mansbridge interviews Joseph Boyden.) And below.
It boggles the mind that an old man, and a lifelong booster of Canadian Indigenous art, now in the confined space of his living room, would hang another fake Morrisseau that he would walk by a thousand times a day. Yes, the Canadian fine art world is as surreally idiotic as this…
Guilty as Charged – The Hearn emails also make clear that Kevin Hearn was hugely guilty of NOT practicing even minimal DUE DILIGENCE after Sinclair told him he and Bhogal – the art rental boss – had dismounted, and discredited his painting at the AGO.
It is exactly what Deputy Judge Martial scorched Margaret Hatfield for – relying solely on her friends (Sinclair and Robinson) instead of seeking out better, more qualified, and more independent witnesses, before deciding to launch a lawsuit. Her negligence cost her some $60,000 and utterly discredited her name in the history of Canadian art, for the Great Irreparable Harm her wrong-headed lawsuit caused to the art and artists of Canada’s Indigenous people.
I believe Hearn is as guilty of exactly the same thing as Hatfield: relying on the say-so of a few friends and cronies; NOT educating himself properly, and NOT seeking professional input, before going public with totally unsubstantiated charges, about “fake Morrisseaus,” and publicly slanging a genuine painting and an honourable art dealer and decent human being.
There is, in fact, no formal letter of any kind, or affidavit, that I can find, from any top AGO official saying that, in their opinion, the Hearn painting is fake, and so validating his lawsuit on the basis of a claim by highly credentialed AGO experts.
The lawsuit is there ONLY because “Ritchie Sinclair” Canada’s most discredited “Faux-nishinaabe” Indian imposter/impersonator says it’s fake… NO ONE ELSE.
And Sinclair was fabricating, once more, a lucrative lawsuit for delivery into the lap of his longtime business collaborator, lawyer Jonathan Sommer, in the same way that he had also delivered the hapless and gullible Margaret Hatfield into Sommer’s lap in 2009. With disastrous consequences for her and her pocketbook.
These are the only two lawsuits (Hatfield & Hearn) alleging Morrisseau “fakes,” ever to reach a Canadian court. Both were filed by Jonathan Sommer – the only lawyer in Canada, out of 90,000 ever to have done so; both were initiated, fabricated, and delivered to him by Ritchie Sinclair, after he had “groomed” both art collecting neophytes, Hatfield and Hearn, into believing their paintings were fake, and the best thing to do was to sue, and to hire his associate in the Morrisseau “fakes” business, Jonathan Sommer, to file the claim. (All hugely documented on this Blog.)
And then it gets worse…
Hearn DID NOT even bother to tell McLeod that his painting had been dismounted, discredited, and devalued, FOR SEVEN LONG DAYS after it had been dumped. The decent thing to do – I would have done it – is call up Joe, immediately, after getting the Sinclair email, and say, “Hey, Joe, have you seen this? We got a problem! What should we do?”
Instead, all the while, Hearn and AGO staffers were childishly sneering about McLeod behind his back, as the emails in the court records confirm. When any responsible person would have called McLeod immediately after receiving the Sinclair email on June 22. Inexplicably, only on June 28, did Hearn finally call Joe with the bad news.
Hearn was sneaky in another way. He did NOT tell McLeod, that it was Ritchie Sinclair – NOT TEITELBAUM OR McMASTER aka the AGO – who had, in fact, dumped his painting… (See the email above: Sinclair appears to be a chum of Hearn’s.)
In other words, not dumped by those formally vetted by the AGO as having the requisite credentials to carry out such actions.
If Hearn had been forthright and honest in telling McLeod of Sinclair’s – and only Sinclair’s – direct involvement, McLeod would have understood. Sinclair had been viciously harassing McLeod for years. That this was NOT about the painting being “fake,” at all, but of Sinclair seeking revenge to discredit Joe McLeod in any way and wherever he could.
(Within weeks, Sinclair would be warned by Toronto Police to stop physically harassing the 82 year old McLeod, in the street, at his business, and at his residence. (McLeod was part of a multi-dealer lawsuit against Sinclair and his racist and defamatory website.) When Sinclair refused to stop, only a few months later, in Dec. 2010, he would be charged by Toronto Police with Criminal Harassment of Joe McLeod. Sinclair’s vendetta had accelerated after McLeod turned Sinclair down as a gallery artist. Joe did NOT like white men posing as “Indians,” like Sinclair, and creating pseudo-Indigenous aka “Faux-nishinaabe” art. Joe called it “ersatz.” More recently vocal Indigenous artists denounce it as “cultural appropriation.”)
McLeod, clearly thunderstruck, about BOTH the dismounting of his painting – Hearn misled him into believing it was by the AGO – and the utterly passive behaviour of Hearn in response, himself made the proper professional response, and immediately called Bhogal. She assured McLeod it was all a misunderstanding, that there were no issues with his painting, no investigation, and that a written apology would soon be issued by the AGO brass. McLeod emailed this to Hearn.
NOTE: This is the second time that Bhogal – just the AGO art rental boss, malfeasantly acted as if she were the Director of the AGO, or the Curator of Canadian Art, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and improperly usurped their roles, and landed the AGO and its principals in damning compromising dire straits: first by acting with Sinclair to dismount genuine art, and now by communicating with McLeod and admitting the AGO had erred and would be apologizing in writing to him. BOTH of which reflected very, very, badly on Teitelbaum and McMaster. Not a good move, Jennifer…
Bhogal “left” the employ of the Art Gallery of Ontario, shortly after this brouhaha boiled over the AGO in the summer and fall of 2010. Do you see a connection?
Days passed. The Bhogal promised apology never came. When McLeod realized this may not be happening expeditiously, he wrote McMaster demanding that if there was any investigation he, McLeod, wanted to be involved. The feckless McMaster did not reply.
Mr. Marshmallow to the Rescue – What is clear from reading the email documentation in the Court’s evidence box, is that while AGO staff were clearly scared of the strongly professional proactive stance that McLeod was taking – and with whom they were prepared to settle in writing – they soon realized that Hearn was the total opposite, as utterly pliable, and totally malleable. And of course utterly unknowledgeable about the business of handling fine art. Or how to relate professionally or responsibly with people dealing with it.
Teitelbaum and McMaster decided to count on the wishy-washy Hearn to save their asses… Hearn, who was asking for NOTHING in writing from them, about what they had done to his art. Hearn who asked for NO explanation; Hearn who had NO lawyer at the door making requests or legal threats. It was just “good old Kev!!!”
They decided to ignore McLeod, go into active cover-up mode of their previous negligence and curatorial malfeasance, and count on good old Kev to help them ride out the scandal WITHOUT ever having to go on the record, at any time, to anyone, about anything…
McLeod knew immediately what the diabolical formal AGO plot was.
So Joe McLeod asked Hearn to demand an accounting from AGO’s Teitelbaum and McMaster for what the AGO had done to his painting. Hearn, exhibiting all the character of a ripe marshmallow, refused, and hid from his responsibilities. He clearly looked on the AGO bosses as his buddies; they had given him a gig as a “Celebrity Curator.” So he was looking to place the blame for what they had done to his art – were responsible for doing – on someone else.
McLeod complained he couldn’t reach Hearn. Desperate – obviously – over Hearn’s fecklessness in responding to a major crisis regarding his art, begged permission to reach out himself, to the AGO bosses. Hearn passively agreed.
Joe McLeod, the only decent human being in this entire fiasco, and knowing the low level of professionalism among all the AGO parties involved, registered his letters to Teitelbaum and McMaster. He knew they got them. True to form, they refused to answer them.
Exactly like Richard Nixon in 1972, they were now in full cover-up mode, to attempt to hide the clearly malfeasant behaviour at the AGO in the handling of the Indigenous art of Norval Morrisseau.
McMaster’s feckless behaviour, after just participating in dismounting, discrediting, and devaluing genuine Morrisseau paintings, is damningly noted in Hearn emails. After passively accepting the dismounting of the genuine Morrisseau paintings, McMaster apparently asked Hearn for some more weeks/months to examine his painting, and also have more time to have a colleague look at it, before deciding about whether his painting is fake or real.
Eh Wot? Hey Dude… you’ve already shot the guy dead! Doing an autopsy won’t bring an innocent man back to life…
McMaster – again very much the Waylon Jennings cowboy gun-slinger – blew the smoke from the end of his pistol, and said he had a “gut feeling” he wanted to check out further, regarding the guy he had just shot. Then, sometime down the road get back to Hearn about his conclusions regarding the painting…
Malfeasantly leaving the genuine Morrisseau painting, and Joe McLeod, a decent and reputable guy, to twist in the wind and become enveloped in an establishment-authorized, incriminating cloud of forgery and fraud.
It’s all despicable on many levels.
This is very American, and very colonial – shoot the suspect first, and THEN spend weeks or months, to investigate whether you have killed the right guy or not… So McMaster, not only in his art, but in his establishment approach to dealing with Indigenous art, is nothing if not “colonialism” run amok.
If Teitelbaum and McMaster were the professionals they claim to be, they would have immediately demanded a forensic handwriting examination of the painting’s signature, BEFORE dismounting, discrediting, and devaluing it in such a totally unprofessional manner. And then compounding the infamy, by hiding from responsibility, when asked professionally, by Joe McLeod, for an explanation.
They would have done it, bet your bottom dollar, if questions had arisen involving a Krieghoff, a Harris, or a Carr. But hell, Norval’s only an “Indian.”
In fact all those involved in the dismounting, are guilty of woefully dismissive unprofessionalism, on many levels, but especially in refusing, repeatedly, to EVER sending the painting for a forensic examination to see if it was really the “fake” which Sinclair said it was, or Teitelbaum and McMaster – out of understandable ignorance – feared it might be.
Before taking precipitate and woefully damning action that would desecrate an Indigenous art treasure and discredit a decent man.
Neither Hearn or his lawyer ever had the forensics done either, during the entire six years their lawsuit has slanged a genuine work of Morrisseau art and a decent and reputable Canadian art dealer. For obvious reasons – they feared what a forensic examination would reveal. And Sommer would have had to abandon his very lucrative lawsuit. (In pre-trial documents (Dec. 2015) McLeod lawyer Brian Shiller expressed his incredulity that Hearn was spending some $200,000 to pursue such an ill-founded and meretricious lawsuit.)
I might add WITHOUT DOING THE STANDARD FINE ART FORENSICS ON THE BDP SIGNATURE. That’s like police investigators charging a guy with murder, without testing the fingerprints, the blood samples, and the DNA left on the murder weapon. And yes the Canadian fine art scene is as surreally idiotic as this.
Disclosure – In fact it was I, who finally had the forensics analysis done, by finding a public benefactor to pay for it. On Sep. 25, 2017, the Hearn painting’s signature received the highest rating of authenticity possible (90%) working from high resolution digital photos.
I consider that this finding, by an independent professional handwriting expert, renders the lawsuit as HAVING NO CAUSE OF ACTION.
As the Hon. Madam Justice Mary Anne Sanderson already told Sommer once before in Superior Court – I heard her; I saw her – that if a painting is ruled genuine, there is NO CLOUD OF TITLE over it. In other words his Hearn v McLeod Estate lawsuit, alleging it is “fake” CANNOT succeed. Now do you know why neither Sommer nor Hearn wanted the signature forensically tested over six long years…?
On Oct. 2, 2017, I asked Justice Edward M. Morgan, twice, to order the painting delivered to me – I presented the forensic report, orally, in court – so I could send it to the forensic scientist to see if he could – with the original in hand – raise the level of authenticity to the industry’s top rating of “above 90%.” No ruling was made.
It’s what Teitelbaum, and McMaster should have done in 2010, instead of aiding and abetting and fueling the HOAX that has decimated the Indigenous art industry and caused Great Irreparable Harm to the Art and Artists of Canada’s Indigenous people.
They are BOTH guilty of treating the Hearn painting as a lowlife “fake,” not even worthy of a forensic examination. And so allowing Hearn to BELIEVE he had a fake on his hands. Leading him – with some justification – to mount a totally specious lawsuit (2012-2018) resulting in him spending gazillions trying to prove a genuine Morrisseau is a “fake.” Which is always a predictable dead end.
And so compounding the Art Gallery of Ontario’s egregious act of Cultural Genocide and exponentially expanding the Great Irreparable Harm done to the art and artists of Canada’s Indigenous people by publicizing – with a celebrity – the fraudulent claims, year, after year, after year…
I believe that Kevin Hearn has a very strong case for launching a Million Dollar Lawsuit, against the Art Gallery of Ontario, and Matthew Teitelbaum and Gerald McMaster, for their reckless and negligent acts of curatorial malfeasance, that has totally destroyed the value of Hearn’s genuine Morrisseau painting by senior AGO officials treating it – entirely without cause or justification – as a lowlife “fake.” And prompting him to launch a dead end lawsuit.
In the end it was Gerald McMaster, who became the agent of establishment colonialism, in dismissing as worthless, and of minimal importance, a genuine fine art work by Canada’s leading Indigenous artist and its only world class one.
And no amount of apologizing will ever wipe out this stain from the curatorial bios of the AGO’s top agents of Colonial repression of Norval Morrisseau’s art.
Disclosure – Blog to the Rescue #1: I can disclose that after I found out that Sinclair had somehow wiggled web-space for his Faux-nishinaabe art blatherings on the Art Gallery of Ontario’s educational spaces, I contacted AGO Director Teitelbaum by email, and talked to his staff. Demanding: how can you people possibly post educational materials by this racist art terrorist on AGO web-space. Sure I was angry. These were public officials using tax payers’ money to do GREAT IRREPARABLE HARM to the art and artists of Canada’s Indigenous people.
I told them. Read the Blog, and educate yourself about who Ritchie Sinclair really is.
Literally within hours, all traces of Ritchie Sinclair disappeared from the AGO website.
Disclosure – Blog to the Rescue #2: It was the same educational tactic I had used when I intervened – anonymously – and brought to a similar total ignominious end the McDermott v McLeod lawsuit, alleging Joe McLeod had sold the celebrity singer fake Morrisseaus.
Without disclosing who I was I emailed Mrs. McDermott to get her husband to read the Blog, entitled “He can sing; but he can’t Read.” A day after obviously doing so, she replied “You are right.” They killed the lawsuit immediately after, only days after having launched it in late October, 2013. It did not endear me to Jonathan Sommer who lost a very lucrative client from his Morrisseau “fakes” business.
A new Sutton, Quebec Legal Tactic – On Oct. 3, 2017 lawyer Jonathan Sommer, in an astonishing Hiroshima and Nagasaki obliterating moment, made jaws drop in the public gallery, when he suddenly announced, in quick succession, that the only TWO witnesses who know anything about the AGO dismounting of the Hearn painting in 2010 – art terrorist Ritchie Sinclair, and his mentor and longtime business partner Donald Robinson, who wrote the “expert” report for Sommer, declaring the Hearn painting a fake – would NOT BE APPEARING AS WITNESSES AT TRIAL.
WOW! After they had been on the books as his principal witness and expert witness FOR SIX LONG YEARS, and as they BOTH had been during his previous Hatfield v Child trial (2011-2013) which ended so disastrously for them all, and so victoriously for collectors of genuine Norval Morrisseau BDP paintings.
In what can only be regarded as an amazing innovation in legal tactics, Sommer – clearly, with this seismic 11th hour change, in a panic mode – is replacing his two longtime lead witnesses from Toronto who know something – but don’t want to tell it – with a replacement “expert,” from far-off Wascana Creek, who knows nothing, but is more than eager to share it…
Like when she wrote, in her report:
“After Hearn was informed of the questionable authenticity of his painting by the Art Gallery of Ontario…” (Robertson report, p.13)
I do not know where Robertson got this, or who was feeding her this line. It is certainly NOT based on any documented research. Because it is untrue; it never happened. Neither the AGO, or Teitelbaum or McMaster, ever issued any official AGO letter of any kind, to ANYONE, supposedly making that Robertson claim. There is no such letter, or office memo, or internal “From the Director’s Desk” alert, in the 241 exhibits that Jonathan Sommer has in his evidence box.
The AGO, and Teitelbaum and McMaster were, in fact, so totally non-disclosing or forthcoming that, in desperation, Joe McLeod even wrote registered letters, to both AGO principals, demanding a response on this very topic. They totally refused to respond.
The evidence is clear, that far from what Robertson claims, both Teitelbaum and McMaster skated as far and as fast as they could, from any possible taint of complicity in what Bhogal and Sinclair had done, while they were otherwise occupied. And despite all the office gossip between AGO shop and rental clerks and Hearn, there is NO documentary evidence tying Teitelbaum or McMaster as active agents in anything of the kind Robertson claims.
Their biggest fault is not one of commission, but of deliberate negligence of their professional curatorial and fiduciary duties, to allow a fiasco like this to happen to Great Canadian heritage treasures while in their care, on their watch.
Hell, the new kid on the block, Professor Robertson, wasn’t even anywhere around when that foundational, landmark, and totally rash AGO act happened in 2010, so precipitating the lawsuit. So she’s obviously the perfect “expert” witness to play the plausible deniability card.
The cross-examination, presumably, will go like this. “So Professor Robertson, what do you know about the dismounting of the Hearn painting as a fake?”
Her reply: “Sorry, I was not there Your Honour. I had nothing to do with it. That is an unfair question. That question is more properly put to Mr. Sinclair and Mr. Robinson who were.”
Mr. Sommer’s rejoinder: “Your Honour, the questioning is highly improper. My friend is badgering the witness with questions on matters she clearly has no knowledge of.”
Those who do, of course, have that knowledge, have also been protected by Mr. Sommer. THEY WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE as witnesses for cross-examination, which he signaled with his Hiroshima and Nagasaki legal tactic.
In this way Mr. Sommer carefully prevents the Defence from exposing how a guy off the street, and an art rental gal at the AGO, ALONE, precipitated the worst act of cultural genocide in AGO history. NEITHER OF THEM BEING CREDIBLE, CREDENTIALED OR COMPETENT ART OR MORRISSEAU EXPERTS, ON ANY LEVEL.
Compare: When the Thunder Bay Art Gallery sponsored a donation of paintings by the Otavnik family in 2004, some 17 different art experts – not a couple of wild cards, like at the AGO – were involved in vetting the paintings as authentic, before accepting them for the TBAG permanent collection.
So the cross-examination will have to deal with something Professor Robertson does claim to be an expert on, like Wascana Floaters…
Presenting the “Wascana Floater Test” of Authenticity – One usage of Norval’s “favourite sign,” which Professor Robertson stridently disapproves of, I have called Wascana Floaters***. Which Professor Robertson claims are an incontrovertible indicator of a “fake” Morrisseau. Any painting, she says with unshakable conviction, that contains a single Wascana Floater, is NOT by Norval, but by a forger.
***Wascana Floater” is a term I coined for the “authenticity test” concocted by University of Regina Visual Arts Professor Carmen Robertson, who works on the remote banks of Wascana Creek, where she invented this concept. And “floaters” because this describes how, in her application, Norval’s favourite circular painting sign, is shown just “floating” about freely, anywhere on a canvas, and is totally unattached, and NOT connected, with dark “lines of communication” to any other elements in the painting. Something she says Norval never did. And only a forger would have.
If you will, “Wascana Floaters” are like loose life rings floating about on the water; a Robertson derivative, the “Connected Divided Circles” are more like buoys or channel markers held fast with anchor lines to some surrounding attachment place.
Hiding Primary Source Evidence – It is telling – very telling – and I consider a major academic malfeasance by Professor Robertson, that she cites this archival source for her claim, at least TWICE in different publications – it is that important to her – but INEXPLICABLY DOES NOT PUBLISH the picture of exactly what Norval meant, and drew specifically for Susan Ross” education.
Apparently Professor Robertson does NOT want the public to be educated about what exactly Norval drew. And SHE IS NOT THE ONLY ONE…
In her report Professor Robertson then goes on to “speak for Norval” and publishes her own illustration table, of exactly what she claims she “learned” from Norval’s drawing, and what it means in her report. Her table features a single Wascana floater she got from Kevin Hearn’s painting (top right below), which she says proves it’s fake, and adding FIVE other contrasting illustrations, showing connected Divided Circles, which she says are the only genuine usages done by Norval, as he illustrated in the Ross letter.
In her published table, below, a totally conspiratorial omission is the divided circle Norval drew for Ross. Can you figure out why the Professor has totally, and inexplicably NOT published it as her defining illustration from Norval?
The answer is obvious: because, by doing so, she would have been shown as deliberately distorting her primary research to fit in with her concocted “play for pay” thesis. She very well knew nobody in this world or the next, would ever bother to go into the TBAG archives to look at the Susan Ross letter.
Unfortunately on July 17, 2017 I tried to do exactly that. And then all hell broke loose…
I didn’t believe Professor Robertson, and I certainly did NOT at all, trust her research skills, her transparency, or her honesty as a credible or trustworthy reporter.
PLATINUM AWARD FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM*** – So, as an aggressive investigative journalist***, I obviously wanted to see Professor Robertson’s primary source for what she claimed about the Wascana floater, namely the illustration Norval put in the Susan Ross letter.
And I called the TBAG curator to get the ball rolling on accessing the records in the TBAG archives, in exactly the same way that Professor Robertson had obviously also accessed them before me. Now I was checking up on her, by testing her credibility and her research, BUT I was not letting anyone know what I was doing, or why.
***As a longtime professional historian, I am a ferocious researcher of primary sources, so I can weigh the actual evidence, the stuff of history, NOT second hand gossip, before I write. Which is why I am the ONLY journalist of any kind, who spent multiple days going through the court files box, and making hundreds of copies of the original materials submitted by Jonathan Sommer to support his allegations that Kevin Hearn’s painting “Spirit Energy” is a fake. Because this Hoax has done Great Irreparable Harm, to the art and artists of Canada’s Indigenous people, and devalued Norval’s art valuations by tens of millions of dollars.
It is also why I am the only person to have attended all the Morrisseau-related court hearings since 2010. And that involves a lot of days, time, money, and effort on my part to try and get at the Truth as displayed by ALL THE PARTIES. I have NEVER, EVER seen supposed Morrisseau researcher Professor Carmen Robertson, at a single one of them. What the hell is the Sage of Wascana Creek, basing her research on? Because she certainly DELIBERATELY IGNORES THEM ALL, AND DOES NOT refer to any of them in her supposed “expert” report.
The professor just sneers off all the judges, as she sneers off all the forensic experts, as she sneers off anyone who disagrees with her fraudulently concocted “expert” report.
I am also the only person to have read and researched and quoted the trial transcripts for the Morrisseau-related court cases. Another key and absolutely indispensable primary source, that Professor Robertson totally and mysteriously ignores in their totality.
CONCLUSION – The conclusion is inescapable: the Sage from Wascana Creek is NOT ACTUALLY DOING RESEARCH AT ALL but is just dutifully concocting, fabricating, and regurgitating, the utter bumf she is told to write by her handlers in Toronto. Her “expert” report is little more than a “play for pay” commission from a Quebec lawyer, on behalf of his profitable lawsuit, to slang a Morrisseau painting they both know is genuine, as a “fake.”
***NOTE: Under the “Defence of Responsible Communication,” set up by the Supreme Court of Canada by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, in 2009, one defence must be that you must have, and seek, evidence – like the Ross letter – for what you say, and show that you made an honest effort to reach out to, and get the response from the party involved. It’s part of being a “responsible” journalist (i.e. as of 2009, a “responsible communicator.”)
The new Act specifically dispensed with the word “journalist,” as a recognition of the huge decline in print media scribes, and the explosion of internet publishers and Bloggers like myself, and grant them equal legal status under the law, by setting up standard rules ALL writers of published material involved in “communication,” must follow to avail themselves of the Defence.
ACADEMIC ALERT – One other primary document that University of Regina Professor Carmen Robertson seems to be totally unaware of is the “Defence of Responsible Communication,” BECAUSE SHE IS IN TOTAL AND FLAGRANT VIOLATION OF VIRTUALLY EVERY ONE OF ITS MANDATORY PROTOCOLS.
Does that explain why she has taken so many steps to keep so much about her so-called “expert” report, a secret, unpublished, and destined only to fool a judge who may not have a clue about art, fakes, or Morrisseau, but respects “university professors” and would never believe they could just fabricate total BS to con a court?
NOTE: In all the five years my blog has been published I HAVE NEVER ONCE MENTIONED THE THUNDER BAY ART GALLERY, OR SHARON GODWIN, OR ANYONE ELSE THERE, IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM WHATSOEVER. I have never called before either.
I would be in for a shock…
The curator was not in. I was transferred to Sharon Godwin.
In this original phone contact with Godwin I cheerily asked about the operations of the TBAG and its general procedures on changing the status of any paintings in its holdings. I think it was only a one-line question – “Has the Thunder Bay Art Gallery ever delisted or downgraded any painting from authentic?” I did NOT mention ANY specific paintings, NOR ANY specific artists, or anything else.
NOTE: I am not telling you why I was, out the gate, asking such a weird question, or what I was about, so you are as perplexed and unguarded as TBAG Director Sharon Godwin was, when, out of the blue, I asked my question. (To keep you as mystified as I tried to keep her, I will explain in a later article.)
And I certainly did NOT mention Morrisseau, or BDPs, or Professor Robertson, or anything even remotely related.
So, I was totally taken aback when the Director of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery Sharon Godwin, instantly bristled and brusquely, and immediately, and firmly, said she would NOT answer ANY of my questions.
And harshly said the conversation was over. I managed to humour her, to keep her talking, without getting anywhere. I did prevent her from hanging up on me as she clearly intended to do.
Still, I was utterly blown away by her harsh, aggressive and defensive tone, and inexplicably hostile behaviour to me, stemming only from one simple question regarding an innocent gallery policy procedure from a top TBAG official.
I then asked her if the TBAG could please send me a copy of a specific dated Susan Ross*** letter it has in its archives, and for which I told her I would pay ALL required expenses. I did NOT say why, or what I was about, or why I was interested in it. (***Ross was a Thunder Bay artist, who, in 1962, introduced Norval to Jack Pollock, who made Norval famous.)
For obvious reasons, as any good investigative journalist or police investigator can tell you, I did NOT show my hand. I was just an archival customer wanting a copy of a single letter from 1964, donated to the TBAG by Susan Ross. That’s all…
I could tell from Godwin’s demeanor that she was suspicious and more than guarded.
She uneasily, first, said it would be “a couple of days;” I cheerily said, OK with me… And I thanked her and cheerily took polite leave of her.
A couple of days, turned into weeks, and another cheery phone enquiry from me.
Godwin, awkwardly I could tell, asked for more time. I cheerily said fine… again… That I could wait. No problem. But to please send me billing information for the TBAG archival service.
Personal Disclosure -Throughout ALL my phone contact with Godwin I was unerringly polite in response to her inexplicably harsh rudeness. I have always found that gritting one’s teeth and smiling through with disarming politeness, will work wonders. I was to find that that would NOT be the case with Godwin.
At NO TIME, in any conversation with Godwin did I mention the name Morrisseau, or Professor Robertson, or her report, or even anything related to a Hoax I was investigating, or even why I wanted the Ross letter. She had NOT a clue of what I was about; she only had her own suspicions, from wherever she got them. It was not from me.
I thought, like in dealing with Archives Canada, etc., as I have done over the past 40 years, numerous times, you send in your request, send your money, and NO QUESTIONS ASKED, some archivist digs up a copy of what you want and sends it to you.
I was astonished to learn that that was NOT how things are done, at all, at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, under the regime of Director Sharon Godwin.
19 days – not two as Godwin originally promised – after my original request for an archival copy, finally came a harsh letter from TBAG Director Sharon Godwin herself, saying that the delay was because she had to consult with other people before she could respond to my request for an archival copy of a letter… What…!!!
Her response was, now, another thunderclap, brusque and utterly rude and defamatory; that she and her collaborators would NOT send me a copy of the Ross letter, and ordering me NOT to contact her or the TBAG again.
In print, she now brought up a name neither of us had previously mentioned – at all – in phone calls or emails, but had apparently become the 900 pound gorilla in the room for her…
Writing that “we consider (Carmen Robertson) one of the best academic experts on Norval Morrisseau and an honest person and accomplished researcher…”
Note: The Supreme Court of Canada’s “Defence of Responsible Communication” only demands that a journalist make the attempt to get a response from a subject of an investigation. So that they could demonstrate that the investigator tried his/her best.
The Defence does NOT demand, or require, that contacted subjects answer any of your questions, respond professionally, or even be polite to you. In fact investigative journalists (like on CBC, NBC, ABC, or CNN) routinely encounter interview subjects – like in my case – who are non-disclosing, hostile, and utterly rude. From respondents exercising their free speech rights… And, of course, having to put up with people like that, is the stock in trade of every investigative journalist’s profession.
Now can you understand my total bewilderment at such a response to a request for one copy of a simple letter in the TBAG archives?
A simple request that I, and thousands of other Canadian television, book, and website publishers, have routinely made on a daily basis, to get copies of archival materials held in public libraries, public museums, and public galleries. I have purchased countless archival materials in this way, for decades, for use in my publications and programs.
Sharon Godwin is the very first, and the only one, ever, to have turned me down for an archival request in forty years…
Just what was TBAG Director Sharon Godwin, and her collaborators hiding? And why?
I very well know why that Ross letter is important. Godwin obviously had discovered why it was too. And why it had taken weeks to consult with someone… I wonder who?
Someone who also knew what I wanted it for. And the group consensus, apparently was: we’ve got to get into cover-up mode… and do not provide a copy of a historic document to the investigative journalist and historian, with a strong will to publish.
Why not? Can you guess? Wouldn’t you, also, now – for damn sure – also want to see that Ross letter which Sharon Godwin and her collaborators are so defensively and aggressively sitting on? Even as they refer to it as gospel…
Norval Drew a Wascana Floater NIAOBs – We all know now – without any of us even seeing the Ross letter – that what, in fact, Norval had probably drawn there, was a simple divided circle, WITHOUT ANY LINES STICKING OUT THE SIDES.
Norval had, in fact, drawn a “Wascana Floater…”
And so had himself, in the Ross letter drawing, totally discredited Professor Robertson’s claim that a Wascana Floater was NEVER drawn or painted by Norval.
And so totally discredited her foundational proof on why she claims the Kevin Hearn painting is fake.
Norval did NOT draw for Ross, the Robertson-fabricated version of his “favourite sign.” Norval, I am absolutely positive, drew an “unattached circle,” exactly like the Wascana floater that Robertson denounces as a fake and uses to discredit the Hearn painting.
In fact, I believe the Ross letter evidence will show that Norval drew the Wascana Floater as his favourite sign. And NOT what Professor Robertson alleges. And it would prove that ALL paintings that contain floaters, like Norval drew, are ALL genuine Morrisseaus – courtesy of the hidden Ross letter, that Godwin and company are so desperate to hide from public scrutiny.
It proves that my suspicions regarding Professor Robertson’s lamentable research skills and deceptive and devious reporting skills are more than justified.
I believe that disclosure would show that she had malevolently and malfeasantly twisted Norval’s own original drawn circle, into something with arms that she wanted to use so she could slang the Hearn painting and any others which had Wascana floaters.
And that would also explain why she DID NOT provide an illustration of Norval’s drawing of a divided circle in her “expert” report, though she mentions the Ross source in two of her “books.”
Why? Because even people with single digit IQs would have said, “Hey! What you say is NOT what Norval drew, AT ALL!”
So if I am wrong, prove it! Show me the Ross evidence that says I am wrong…
And I’ll apologize… But, believe me, I am confident that no apology will ever be needed…
In the meantime, far better evidence, than the Ross letter, has surfaced of exactly what Norval drew. That is far more damning of the supposed Morrisseau expertise of BOTH Professor Robertson and Director Godwin.
Why? Read on…
A Happy Day at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery
In 2010, the TBAG Newsletter, announced a Morrisseau show, from June 4 to Sep 5. The TBAG centered out for special attention, “After Life Spirit of the Fourth 1958” as “the jewel in the crown” of its Morrisseau collection.
“The earliest piece held by the Gallery is a small painting on birch bark from 1958 depicting a fish in an early attempt at the now familiar ‘x-ray style’ invented by Norval Morrisseau. This piece, as well as a number of acrylic paintings on kraft paper and millboard introduce viewers to the early works of Morrisseau.”
Then the Professor Robertson “expert report” hit town – and was published on the internet for the first time on this Blog (on Oct. 3, 2017) which announced her “expert” professorial “proof of fakes,” her claim, that the Wascana floater is a damning “proof” of a Morrisseau forgery.
Remember, one fingerprint, one spec of DNA, one drop of blood, on a murder weapon is enough to send you to the gallows.
And, in fact, “After Life” contains, not just one, but FOUR – count ‘em folks, four – damning Robertson so-called proofs of a “fake” Morrisseau – four Wascana floaters.
Her template for her “proof of fakes” are the Wascana Floaters in Kevin Hearn’s “Spirit Energy of Mother Earth.”
But, by previously applying the same Wascana floater standard, invented by Professor Robertson, I have shown – and documented – that she has previously totally discredited numerous other Morrisseau paintings as forgeries including, many that were vetted as authentic by her own close friends and collaborating colleagues including:
– Jean-Hubert Martin’s “Untitled Morrisseau” – with two floaters in one Morrisseau in his Magiciens de la Terre show, in Paris, France, 1989
– Kinsman Robinson Galleries – Damning Wascana floaters decorated no fewer than 20 paintings KRG has offered for sale. In its 2014 Morrisseau Retrospective, the painting it promoted for sale with a two page spread, featured no fewer than FIVE huge Wascana floaters.
So KRG suffered a quintuple whammy of Robertson rejection.
– McLuhan & Hill – 6 paintings featuring multiple Wascana Floaters shown & published in Imagemakers in 1984. (I will publish this soon.)
– Greg Hill & Ruth Phillips – 10 paintings featuring multiple Wascana Floaters shown & published in the Norval Morrisseau: Shaman Artist catalogue & retrospective 2006. (I will publish this soon.)
– Triple Whammy – Some paintings that hugely fail the Wascana Floater test, are in fact published as genuine Morrisseaus by several of Robertson’s own colleagues. “Shaman Rider” was published by: Pollock and Sinclair in 1979; by McLuhan & Hill in 1984; by Hill & Phillips in 2006.
This embarrassing Triple Whammy against her professorial expertise, features TWO Wascana Floaters, and was published in her favourite book, the Pollock and Sinclair bible from which she picked 28 dupes as genuine Morrisseaus, out of her database of 38 paintings.
There are 10 – that’s ten, folks – paintings in the Pollock Sinclair picture book, alone, that contain some 28 damning Wascana Floaters. Robertson should not have farmed out her reading and picture research to unemployed itinerant workers out on Wascana Creek. Better to pay more and hire picture researchers who are not visually impaired.
– There are, of course, hundreds of other Wascana floaters on hundreds of authenticated paintings (scores, also forensically authenticated) in the hands of other Morrisseau collectors around the world, which I don’t bother with, because they are just sneered off by Robertson and her collaborating colleagues as “fakes.”
I am only interested in what she and her friends “Show and Tell.” So no one can accuse me of “cooking the books,” and being ignorant or dismissive of their own academic publication records.
McLuhan & Hill “Wascana Floater” Preview from “the Image Makers, Art Gallery of Ontario, show and catalogue, 1984.
Which is why I picked as examples of her Morrisseau research incompetence, ENTIRELY and ONLY paintings her friends and colleagues have vetted as authentic in their books, exhibitions, or catalogues.
The birch bark Morrisseau “fake,” targeted by Robertson’s claim, clearly shows a devastating FOUR, if you can believe this, four totally disconnected Wascana floaters, that this Morrisseau scholar says is a certain “quadruple” proof of a Morrisseau fake.
The “After Life” telltale Wascana floaters are completely free of any connectivity with lines of communication to any adjoining pictorial elements – hence a Wascana Floater – something the professor assures us – without producing a smidgen of proof for her claim that Norval never painted them.
I ask you: why do we let Morrisseau faux “experts” like Godwin meddle in Canada’s art heritage?
If we had just let the University of Regina’s Visual Arts Department and Professor Robertson handle this, in the first place, none of this embarrassment would ever have happened to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery or to its Director, Sharon Godwin.
There is no word yet of a response from the TBAG or Sharon Godwin, to this damning development and accusation, courtesy of Professor Robertson’s “expert” report.
Godwin had been, of course, directly involved in acquiring and vetting “After Life” in 2002 and praising it to the skies, as a wonderful genuine Morrisseau acquisition, along with then Curator Glenn Allison.
Godwin must now be hugely embarrassed to have her judgment as an art expert, museum curator, and Morrisseau “expert” so publicly impugned and discredited by an expert she praises to the skies.
Sharon Godwin wrote me, personally (Aug. 4, 2017) that “we consider (Carmen Robertson) one of the best academic experts on Norval Morrisseau and an honest person and accomplished researcher…”
Will the TBAG now disown and dismount this Morrisseau that Professor Robertson has so loudly and totally discredited according to her “Wascana floater standard” she has outlined in her “expert report?”
Will Sharon Godwin now go down into her vaults, pick up “After Life,” box it and send it to Professor Robertson and her NMHS friends, so they can burn it?
Along with the other Wanker 16 paintings I have for years claimed they have already destroyed.
NOTE: The NMHS members, reportedly, have not been actively burning cultural property since 2012, so no one has smelled smoke in the vicinity of their kaffeeklatsches for a few years. They claim they could not contact Norval’s Indigenous family members – and his legal heirs – to carry on.
Good for Norval’s kids! For refusing to have anything to do with these white elitist cultural vandals, involved in discrediting and devaluing their father”s art. And for giving the brush off to these pompositing collection of academic “silks, satins, suits, and snoots” that they so richly deserve. And putting them in their proper place.
In total and perpetual disgrace for the Ages, among the lowest agents of Cultural Genocide in Canadian history, for doing Great Irreparable Harm to the art and artists of Canada’s Indigenous people.
Secrets of a Cabal of Fraudsters – As NMHS lawyer Aaron Milrad was quoted, as saying (by art book publisher Anthony Westbridge, in 2005) its members reserve the right to destroy Morrisseaus they call “fakes.” And Milrad said he would provide legal cover for them to prevent blowback from potentially angry collectors whose art they may have sent to the incinerator. (After collectors had been encouraged to send them in for NMHS “authentication.”
(NOTE – Professor Robertson became a member of the NMHS secret society, in 2009, hand-picked by her mentor, Donald Robinson. The NMHS operatives have always been a totally secret society, and hugely documented as doing Great Irreparable Harm to the art and artists of Canada’s Indigenous people, in private so they can’t be held to account.)
Demand for Academic Transparency and Disclosure, Dismissed – for Years – I have demanded for years, that the NMHS demonstrate academic honesty and transparency, regarding the Wanker 16, but its members have utterly refused to provide, either to me, or any other independent expert, any evidence that the paintings – the Wanker 16 – which I accuse them of “burning,” in order to hide their collaboration in an art fraud, and cultural genocide, still exist.
They DO NOT, I am firmly convinced; and have never been contradicted or proven wrong by any disclosure from either the NMHS or KRG, BECAUSE I BELIEVE THEY CANNOT DISCLOSE ANYTHING BUT ASHES…
The Wanker 16, are of course, the 16 paintings Kinsman Robinson Galleries gave to the NMHS as the templates they were to use to discredit other Morrisseau BDPs as “fakes.” KRG and the NMHS claim they are “fakes” but have always refused to disclose their proof, or to provide investigators with photos of the fronts and backs of the paintings.
And they have utterly refused to have any independent forensic examinations done on any of the BDP signatures or to publish ANY photos of the fronts and backs. (In fact, in her expert report Professor Robertson also hides – refuses to disclose – photos of the backs of all her database examples, only publishing the backs of the six paintings she wants to defames as fakes.)
Why all the non-disclosure by NMHS operatives? For three very good reasons:
– Warriors in Circle of Life 1974
– Shaman Envelopes SOMA 1976
– Medicine Being from Sacred Fish Stomach 1976
All three of these Morrisseau 1970s BDPs passed through Donald Robinson’s hands at exactly the same time, and in the same place as the Wanker 16, and but for fortunate accidents of history, that saved them for posterity, they would have been burned along with the other sixteen notorious Robinson “Wankers.”
These three genuine Morrisseaus give mute, but damning forensic proof, that the Robinsons and their NMHS operatives deliberately destroyed genuine Morrisseau paintings that were bought at the same time, at the same place, from the same source, were all BDP signed on the back, and all dating from the same Morrisseau time period, and are examples of exactly the type of Morrisseaus that were immolated.
I own two of those genuine Morrisseaus, which would have been burned as Wanker 17 and 18, but were only saved from the funeral pyre, by me outbidding Donald Robinson for them on Jan. 26, 2000. At a time he told me they were “wonderful Morrisseaus” and that he was the aggressive underbidder who made them win the highest bids of the night.
Both were forensically authenticated, years later, as genuine Morrisseaus, one – SOMA – with a certainty rating of 100%. It was also authenticated by TWO forensic experts as totally genuine, probably the only Morrisseau ever separately vetted by two forensic experts.
If I hadn’t bought them both would have gone home with Robinson, like the other Wanker 16, and would also be ashes today…
Burning even one Canadian heritage treasure is unforgivable.
And destroying THREE… let alone SIXTEEN… It’s cultural genocide on a massive scale.
It’s merely Canadian copycatting, and rivaling what the Nazi cultural vandals were doing to “inferior” books of opponents in the 1930s; what ISIL was ruthlessly bulldozing in Palmyra; and what the Taliban did in blowing up the Bamiyan Buddhas.
Except that these are “our” cultural vandals, and Canadians will have to figure out how to deal with their Culturally Genocidal depredations against Indigenous art and artists.
And if they want to claim that my accusations of destruction of genuine Morrisseau paintings is not true, let them produce the Wanker 16. And let an independent forensic expert, examine their BDP backs…
Three that escaped the NMHS bonfire immolating Canadian heritage artworks, my two forensically authenticated paintings, and one other, “Warriors in Circle of Life,” which is actually Wanker #1***, are damning evidence that KRG and the NMHS were collaborating to destroy genuine Morrisseau paintings.
And so were doing Great Irreparable Harm to the art and artists of Canada’s Indigenous people.
(***Bought by Donald Robinson at Khan Auctions, on Sep. 29, 1999, for $1,200 and sold six months later tagged at $8,500 to Jane Brown of Toronto.)
A Hate Crime – I regard this as a Hate Crime.
That it is aided and abetted by employees of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, will do nothing to rehabilitate Thunder Bay’s national reputation regarding its treatment of Indigenous people.
Hate Capital of Canada – The mainstream media has already called Thunder Bay, Ontario, the Hate Capital – against Indigenous people – of Canada.
In 2015, Statistics Canada, published that 29% of all Canadian Hate Crimes happen in Thunder Bay, the worst urban offender in all of Canada, against Indigenous people.
And Norval Morrisseau is a special victim not only because of the establishment elite’s attack on his art. But of racist attacks on his children and grandchildren.
In 2009, Norval’s grandson, Kyle Morrisseau, a blossoming artist himself, while attending school in Thunder Bay, was found bruised and dead, floating in the McIntyre River. One of seven Indigenous students who had recently died under suspicious circumstances in that city, giving rise to one of the biggest inquests in Ontario history.
Then Kyle’s father, Christian Morrisseau, as well as losing a son there, became a racist target again, along with other members of his family, when the Painted Turtle art supply shop, in Thunder Bay, turned over 151 private invoices, complete with private credit card info, to a Quebec lawyer Jonathan Sommer, to use in his discredited court case targeting a single authenticated Morrisseau as a supposed “fake.”
I found the private materials destined for supporting “proof” for defamatory allegations about Norval’s Indigenous children, in Sommer’s evidence box for use in his Hearn v McLeod Estate trial.
Sommer, whose business office is in remote rural Sutton, Quebec, some 743 kms from Toronto, is the only lawyer – out of 90,000 in Canada – flogging a case claiming he has a Morrisseau “fake.”
It is only the second such case ever heard in a Canadian court. The first – the only other one on record in Canadian history – was also launched by Jonathan Sommer, and disastrously lost and discredited on all levels by two eminent Ontario judges.
Noted a biting comment by McLeod’s, then lawyer, Brian Shiller, in 2014.
“Mr. Sommer “has been making the allegation of a fraud ring for a long time now” and that “we have asked him for any evidence to support the claim but no evidence has been forthcoming.” (National Post, Hopper, Feb. 3, 2014)
Mr. Sommer suggests these private invoices showing that Indigenous artists in Thunder Bay buy paint supplies – I suppose rather than steal them – are the elusive “proof” that he has been looking for…
I have no idea what Mr. Shiller would say to this Sommer standard of proof…
KEY UPDATE: In fact, on Sep. 25, 2017 a forensic scientist authenticates as genuine, with DNA certainty, the very painting Sommer and his paid contract expert, Professor Robertson, claims is “fake.”
Tellingly Hearn the Plaintiff, Sommer, his lawyer, and Robertson, their “expert,” have utterly refused, in the past seven years, they claim the painting is fake, to take its BDP signature for a forensic examination. I managed to get it done, thanks to a public benefactor who paid.
And now you know what this trio of plotters, very well knew, and were hiding, all along…
Now these maliciously provided, pile of private invoices, were apparently to be Sommer’s “proof,” showing that from 2004 to 2011, these well-known, and prolific Morrisseau artists – Christian, Benjamin, and Eugene, had bought painting supplies from Lorraine Cull, and were therefore – follow me on this please – members of a forgery syndicate, making thousands of Morrisseau fakes in Thunder Bay!!!!
Cull, told me she had provided the pile of invoices in a “play for pay” deal for money paid by a lawyer, whom she refused to identify. His name was merely a suspicion, until I miraculously found a DVD with pictures of her pile of private papers in the court’s evidence box where Jonathan Sommer’s “proof” is stored in the Toronto court house.
And follow me on this please: since Christian, well known in Toronto circles as an Indigenous artist, apparently bought art supplies in Thunder Bay, the inference is intentional, he was probably the guy involved in forging the Hearn/Sommer painting…
Oh – and did I mention? – the subject painting was just forensically authenticated by a professional handwriting expert, as genuine art painted and signed by Christian’s own father…
This is the kind of stuff Canadian courts are clogged up with…
Better hope that your local car dealer, is more reputable than the owners of the Painted Turtle shop, and doesn’t hand out for publication, your private documents, complete with your name, transaction data, and your credit card number, for the car you purchased there…
Because it could very well end up in some lawyer’s hands, and be used as proof to denounce you as guilty of using the car to run a cross the border immigrant smuggling ring, or for ferrying prostitutes to high paying clients.
It’s all part of the daily life of being an Indigenous person living in Thunder Bay and being victimized, without cause, by racist people intent on doing:
Great Irreparable Harm to the Art and Artists of Canada’s Indigenous People.
And then it gets worse… Read “After Life Spirit of the Fourth, 1958” – Part 2