Triple Whammy Takes Out a Fake Delusion

Supplementary Update – Jan. 18, 2018

Below I publish some research data that could have hugely helped Carmen Robertson come to a believable, more credible – less personally embarrassing – conclusion, about “Spirit Energy of Mother Earth 1974,” and Joe McLeod***, than she did, had she only refrained from setting out to do a targeted assassination of a genuine painting, and a real decent and honourable art dealer, and instead, done some basic Due Diligence, and followed some normal academic research protocols beforehand…

***Joe McLeod was a former academic, a College Dean of English, whose Maslak McLeod Gallery, in the last forty years, did more to encourage and promote the art and artists of Canada’s Indigenous people than any other public gallery or museum that I know of.

Then she also wouldn’t have had to demand total secrecy for her “expert report,” trying to make sure her university colleagues wouldn’t see what she was writing and claiming. And end up hugely publicly embarrassing herself.

And causing her to go on to further compound the malfeasance by aggressively attacking both the journalist – and his “wife-of” – and desperately trying to put a judicial Gag Order on him/her, in a vain attempt to try to keep the public from learning what she was up to with her ultra-secret report she had fabricated “for the judge’s eyes only.”

Being from far-off Saskatchewan, Robertson may not have known that in Ontario, the public has a right to know what is going on in the courts, and any member of the public is allowed to publish related documents that are “in the public interest.” That right to publish it all, is even guaranteed by the “Ontario Protection of Public Participation Act of 2015.”

“Spirit Energy of Mother Earth 1974” – A typical 1970s Morrisseau BDP, clearly by a master artist, and a BDP signature for which Judge Martial found that there was “overwhelming evidence” that Norval signed thousands of these in this way. A forensic authentication of Sep. 25, 2017 found this to be an authentic BDP signature by Norval Morrisseau. But visual art historian Carmen Robertson claims it’s all fake, front and back; that Norval did neither in 1974. They aren’t his colours, his style, his signature, his visual vocabulary, and certainly NOT his Thunderbird…, Blah, Blah, Blah… So, in her unsubstantiated opinion, a SLAM DUNK FORGERY, based on… I dunno, you’ll have to ask her.

That Damning Thunderbird Anomaly – Regarding that Thunderbird that Robertson says is a dead giveaway that a forger did it, because she has not been able to find another example in her small database of source paintings – go figure! – anywhere else… That only a forger would put in something so idiotic and atypical. Hell, that alone, she says, is a dead giveaway the painting’s a fake.

“NOT SO,” thunders back, Dr. Atul K Singla PhD (Forensics) and a man who is a professional handwriting expert, a subject which Robertson only dabbles in – hey it’s a free country – and for which she has NO credentials or expertise for doing even that. Singla, who has testified in court some 500 times, has some words of instruction for the would-be handwriting sleuth from Wascana Creek.

Namely, that no forger would ever do something so idiotic, that would instantly give him away, and send him to jail. If an artist doesn’t do it, not even a stupid forger would.

Dr. Atul K Singla, a full-time, professional forensic expert, who was relied on, believed, and “preferred,” by Judge Martial in Hatfield v Child, said at the time, that NO forger would do what an artist would NOT do. And that includes doing the huge BDP signatures on the back, and embellish it, occasionally with Thunderbirds, or doodles, etc. if the artist had customarily not done it.

“That doesn’t make sense to me your Honour. Because if Norval Morrisseau was not signing the back of the paintings then the forger would not do that. It’s not the psychology of a forger to do something which is not the normal. If Norval Morrisseau was not signing the back of the paintings a forger would not sign the back of paintings because that would be too obvious to be detected.

“The second thing your Honour. There are some extra writings on the back of paintings. From my experience of 29 years, the forger would try to do the minimum. They would not add extra things in the forgery… I would not add extra writings in the forgery to make it more detectable.” (Transcript, p 111, Hatfield v Child, Dr. Atul K Singla, Jun 4, 2012)

To sum up, Dr. Singla, powerfully states: No forger would add anomalies – for example like a Thunderbird – to a painting that an artist would NOT do. Because that would flag his art instantly as a fake and send him to jail.

That, in fact, only an artist himself would dare add anomalies to his own paintings.

By 2018, they have forensically authenticated over 150 Morrisseau BDPs…

This much we know: “Spirit Energy” was purchased personally, by Joe McLeod at Randy Potter Auctions, with his own money, because to him it must have looked “special.” Gallery owners like Joe usually can’t afford to buy their paintings – it’s way too expensive to stock a gallery that way – so they mostly display, and sell, paintings on consignment from other owners. But clearly Joe thought “Spirit Energy” was special enough that he shelled out personal bucks for it on Feb. 14, 2004.

A year later he sold it to Kevin Hearn telling him it was his daughter’s favourite.

On Dec. 4, 2017 I was disappointed to watch and hear Hearn openly sneer in court that Joe had told him that, as an insincere, likely story, just to get him to buy the painting.

Sorry, but I believe Joe, NOT Hearn, because it was one of the few times Joe put up his own money to buy a painting for his gallery, because it was also special to him personally. And probably his daughter.

DNA works like that, you know…

Like Mom; Like Son – I recall taking my Mom to an art show when she was in her late eighties. There were some sixty paintings in the gallery. She looked at them all and I asked her to pick the one she liked the best. You won’t believe this but, completely uncoached, she picked the one I had bought, and red-tagged earlier in the day. (below) 

I am the only one of her children who inherited the family artistic streak. I have always loved the colours and fabrics she chose to decorate our homes. So, like in my family, I believe it was the same for Joe and his daughter. (Goldi Artists)

Art Cunanan – A Winter Evening 1988 (Art Cunanan)

So, Kevin, sneer all you like, but DNA works like that….

Like Father; Like Daughter – I photographed the huge painting BELOW in Joe’s small living room. It’s to my mind a virtual clone, but a lot bigger than “Spirit Energy.” Clearly, whoever liked that would also love this one. Like Joe; like his daughter.

Go ahead Carmen, tell me that a forger, any forger, even with single digit IQ, would paint such a monster size painting, and invest, as a gamble, in time, money, effort, canvas, and paint, and expect to sell it, from a no-name artist to anyone for anything?

That the huge painting exists, and hung in the private home of the man who, for decades, was considered the senior and most respected Morrisseau expert, must stand for something… I believe it speaks for Joe, and his daughter, against the sneering disdain of art collecting neophyte and ivory tickler Kevin Hearn.

But, alas, I had no name and no date, to tie it to “Spirit Energy.” But I suspected, based on its similar palette, and visual vocabulary, it too was probably dated to around 1974.

Research found the name, “Unity of Inorganics,” a wildly idiosyncratic name, for Joe’s painting, below. But no date…

“My daughter’s favourite” a virtual clone, but considerably expanded, of Hearn’s “Spirit Energy of Mother Earth, 1974” and Joe, the target of an ungenerous sneer on the stand, by Kevin Hearn. I believe this painting is a slap at Hearn instead. I believe this huge painting that dominated Joe’s tiny room – and was seen almost every day by Joe’s daughter, was the last painting Joe probably saw before he died. And it is no accident that more than any other painting I have ever seen, it resembles “Spirit Energy” that Joe, probably to the regret of his daughter, sold to Kevin Hearn. Oh well, this one called “Unity of Inorganics,” was as good a replacement for it as you can get… Where is it today? I don’t have a clue, but I would bet – as we speak – that it’s in Joe’s daughter’s living room… In memory of Joe, and Kevin Hearn’s “Spirit Energy of Mother Earth 1974.” (FYI – No I am NOT a friend of the family, do not know any of them and have NEVER had contact with any of them, besides Joe.) Finally, note the Wascana Floaters that Robertson claims – as in “Spirit Energy,” – are a sure sign that a forger, not Norval, painted this work. In fact they prove for the Ages, that Carmen Robertson has no business involving herself in authenticating Morrisseau art, especially from such a tiny unrepresentative sample group of paintings that she references. OUCH!!! All her Morrisseau colleagues have published books that feature many Wascana Floaters in genuine Morrisseau works.

Inorganic Beings 1974 – Norval Morrisseau

Further research of the unique title word, uncovered another painting right called “Inorganic Beings” 121 x 122 cm.

A happy coincidence?

Well, it shares a highly idiosyncratic title word “Inorganics” with Joe’s living room painting.

A highly unusual word you will rarely find anywhere.

But it proves to me that it must have been on the same artist’s mind when he painted both similar subjects.

Do you see a similarity between the sprinkling of large yellow-circled eyes in all three paintings? Similar figures; similar distribution of the elements; similar lines of communication; echoes of the same colour palette?

So a lot of artistic similarities in both the visual vocabulary AND titling.

And here’s the final kicker. “Inorganic Beings” is dated 1974.

Like Hearn’s “Spirit Energy of Mother Earth 1974,” and like I guessed Joe McLeod’s painting to be from as well.

I believe it shows that all three paintings were painted by the same artist, in the same time frame, and from the same fountain of inspiration. And one of them has a forensic report of authenticity, tying it scientifically to Norval Morrisseau.

Too many coincidences are NOT a coincidence.

How much of a stretch is it to conclude that all three were painted by Morrisseau in 1974?

I think it hugely dismisses Hearn’s claims about his painting being a fake by some forger, and Joe McLeod being a crook.

Because if it were true, the forger must have faked the other two similar ones as well. And he’s a hell of a forger, because they are NOT DUPES. There are NO copies of these three works anywhere. This forger had a hell of a talent and a superior fountain of original inspiration.

Just like Norval Morrisseau… hell, it was Norval Morrisseau. I know it; you know it. Even if Hearn and Robertson refuse to “fess up,” in public, what they too, very well know, in private…

It all says a lot about Hearn, and a lot about Carmen Robertson’s credibility as a Morrisseau art authenticator. Make that a failed art authenticator.

Another Expert Weighs In

Norm Brown, one of Canada’s finest artists, showing off his art at a show at Artworld in Toronto, ON.

Oh, and another thing: I happen to know that famed Canadian artist Norm Brown reconditioned, and remounted on stretchers, a couple of hundred or more Morrisseau BDPs from the gallery which is selling “Inorganic Beings 1974.”

I met Norm in a marsh while he was painting scenics and he told me of his related work as an art restorer and framer etc.

He told me that in the late 1990s he was hired to clean, recondition, and mount on stretchers, some 200 Morrisseaus that had been bought at Randy Potter auctions. (Virtually all the Voss/Potter Morrisseaus had been removed from their original stretchers, and then rolled for shipment to the auction house. But there were usually two or three generations of staple holes along the edges.) 

Norm said he did NOT know Norval’s work well enough to say whether Norval painted them or not.

But Norm said he could conclusively say, with firm conviction and without fear of contradiction (followed by my editorial comments) that ALL 200 acrylics on canvas that he reconditioned and mounted:

– “were NOT new, or painted recently, in the late 1990s”
– so they could NOT have been the product of a forgery operation that KRG said was producing thousands of fakes AFTER 2000

My favourite picture of the “straight arrow” selling Morrisseaus to some 200 collectors and dealers. Out of some 2,000 he sold, not a single one was ever returned for a refund. Not even the man who claimed they were all fakes, Don Robinson, brought his 31 back, or asked for a refund of his $54,000. Ask yourself, why not?

– “all had big Norval Morrisseau BDP signatures and dates on the back”
– it gave a time reference as to the possible age of the painting
– it established a style of signature that stayed uniform for all the paintings

– “all showed hugely varying life histories of use and abuse”
– all were clearly sourced from many different owners over time, as opposed to reflecting some kind of uniformity if supposedly produced by some kind of forgery syndicate
– this was entirely consistent with gathering up Norval’s art from collectors, garages, lofts, attics, and hunting camps, etc., all over small-town Northern Ontario, which is, of course, exactly what David Voss – the source for ALL Potter paintings – said was how he and his father amassed the collection they were selling off
– in fact my own two 1976 BDPs SOMA 1976 and FISH 1976, starkly reflect this reality. One being in “good” condition, probably from one owner; the other showing years of abuse probably at the hands of different careless owners.

Disclosure – in fact one of the most common, telling features of most genuine Morrisseaus I’ve seen – of the countless hundreds I’ve examined up close and personal – is that they are far more worn, cracked, scuffed, and dirty, usually with multiple generations of staple holes, and old framing folds, than those of any other artist I’ve ever seen. And that folks, is well over a thousand artists, and hundreds of thousands of original paintings I’ve seen up close and personal. And that folks, includes a hell of a lot of historical works of art that are 100 years old and back, to decades before Norval was even born. Norval’s paintings like the man himself lived a hell of a rough life, and it showed, and then some, on both…

– “all were clearly twenty or thirty years old”
– the age and condition were consistent with the dates on the back

– “all were clearly painted by one and the same artist”
– which discredits again, KRG’s Robinson family claim, that a supposed syndicate of transparently incompetent forgers were involved in doing thousands of fakes. Not so, says Norm; ONE artist did ALL the 200 plus Morrisseau BDPs he handled.

– And just in case you missed it, Norm’s hands-on expertise and experience in producing and handling Canadian fine art – all his life – far surpasses the sum total of ALL the Robinsons, ALL the Robertsons, Hearns, and Sommers, and ALL their pompositing NMHS collaborators, COMBINED…

And Norm, of course, is a major Canadian talent, who produces “fine art,” not just blabs about it, at “ivory tower” kaffeeklatsches…

And unlike them, Norm has NO personal stake, or diabolical private agenda in this, and has never been documented as fronting for a fraud…

So, how much of a stretch is it, that all 200 plus Morrisseau BDPs that Norm reconditioned in the 1990s, were genuine Morrisseaus painted by the master, and signed on the back in his unique BDP style?

BDP signatures, of which over 150 have now been forensically authenticated…

And for which Judge Martial ruled, in 2013, that there was “overwhelming evidence” that Norval painted probably thousands of these…

And BDPs from a sole source, longtime Thunder Bay collector, David Voss, who provided Randy Potter auctions with some 2,000 paintings from c 1999-2008, which he sold to some 200 of Canada’s leading Morrisseau art collectors and dealers, AND NOT ONE OF WHOM, ever, returned a single painting claiming it was a fake, and demanding their money back, NOT EVEN CARMEN ROBERTSON’S MENTOR, Donald Robinson who kept ALL 31 Morrisseau BDPs he had paid $54,000 for.

All suited up to do Morrisseau authentications… “Golly, jeepers I guess I missed seeing those, or hearing about them.”

I believe it all just points out more damning corroborative evidence, from a widely varying source of credible independent experts, which completely undermines what Hearn and Robertson have been collaborating in claiming, since 2012, in order to boost his unsubstantiated claims in a specious lawsuit about “Spirit Energy of Mother Earth 1974,” being some kind of “fake” and Joe McLeod being a crook.

Other Morrisseau BDPs – ALL FROM 1974
– that Carmen Robertson Hadn’t Seen or Heard of…

– 1 – Sacred Spirit Totem 1974
– Forensically Authenticated Aug 24, 2010

– 2 – The Spirits 1974
– Forensically Authenticated Aug 24, 2010

– 3 – The Spirits #2 1974
– Forensically Authenticated Aug 24, 2010

Jesuit Preist 1974

– 4 – Jesuit Preist Brings the Word 1974
– Forensically Authenticated Dec 19, 2011

– 5 – Cycle of Salmon 1974
– Forensically Authenticated Dec 30, 2012

– 6 – Spirit Energy of Mother Earth 1974
– Forensically Authenticated Sep 25, 2017

– 7 – Warriors in Circle of Life 1974
– Forensically Authenticated Sep 25, 2017

Warriors in Circle of Life 1974

Cycle of Salmon 1974

One cannot be harsh and scorching enough for Professor Robertson’s deliberate targeting, without substantiation, of a thoroughly reputable icon in Canadian art history, Joe McLeod, as a crook, and accusing him of knowingly and deliberately selling fakes. – On Mar. 25, 2013 Deputy Judge Paul J Martial took note, and paid tribute to Joe McLeod’s honesty, and professionalism, saying “The testimony of Mr. Joseph McLeod is indicative of his care and the detailed efforts to confirm provenance, including the hiring of a forensic expert to examine the signature on the back of the painting indicate that he took his role to provide appraisals seriously. His testimony of the origin of the Cree syllabic signature, the name Copper Thunderbird and his interpretation of the painting “Wheel of Life, demonstrates his depth of knowledge of the painter due to his lengthy association with the artist.” (Martial Judgment, p34  Mar. 25, 2013.) I note with interest that Judge Martial, saw and listened to Joe McLeod talk, face to face, at length of his experience with Morrisseau art, and was impressed. It is something the negligent researcher from Wascana Creek, grossly and deliberately failed to do. Robertson just, out the gate, sneered off McLeod, never sought him out, never called him, never brought up any of her so-called concerns with his “provenance” documents. The “Gotcha” professor just slanged a decent man selling genuine, forensically authenticated art, as a crook, and his art as fake. What is her game? What is her aim? 

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