Lawyer Brian Shiller is the Canadian top legal expert on Morrisseau art.
He has been the winning lawyer in every Morrisseau-related lawsuit or court case in which he has been retained to act on behalf of libeled and defamed Morrisseau art dealers who had their genuine Morrisseaus attacked by malicious art fraudsters.
In the media Shiller has been definitive in defending his clients from false allegations about “fake” Morrisseaus, made by Ritchie Sinclair and lawyer Jonathan Sommer, saying there is no proof for any of it and the lawsuits launched by them are specious at best.
In the National Post Shiller was asked to respond to Jonathan J Sommer’s claims of “fakes.” Shiller replied:
“He noted that 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, Tristin Hopper, Feb. 3, 2014)
Shiller was the previous courtroom winner in exposing the leading promoters of the fraud Ritchie Sinclair and Donald Robinson of Toronto’s Kinsman Robinson Galleries, as not being trustworthy in what they were claiming about Morrisseau paintings owned by numerous decent, honest, and reputable collectors and art dealers:
– Hatfield v Artworld – in 2013 in Small Claims Court before Deputy Judge Paul J Martial, Shiller successfully defended “Wheel of Life 1979” as a 100% authentic Morrisseau painting and his client, Artworld, as a totally reputable art dealer. The Plaintiff lost some $50,000 in legal fees and costs. (Losing lawyer – Jonathan J Sommer)
– Hatfield Appeal – in 2013 in Divisional Appeal court, in Osgoode Hall, before the Hon Madam Justice Mary Anne Sanderson, Shiller successfully defended “Wheel of Life 1979” as a 100% authentic Morrisseau painting and his client, Artworld, as a totally reputable art dealer. The Plaintiff lost some $10,000 in legal fees and costs. (Losing lawyer – Jonathan J Sommer)
– McDermott v McLeod – in 2013 Shiller successfully convinced celebrity-singer John McDermott to suddenly and totally abandon his Plaintiff’s Claim – filed by Jonathan Sommer on his behalf – claiming his Morrisseau paintings were “fake,” as false, without proof, and lacking any merit whatsoever, so successfully defending Joe McLeod – Canada’s top Morrisseau expert – from a specious, false, and malicious lawsuit. McDermott unilaterally gave up a claim that had demanded some $90,000 in penalties and damages and had cost him some $10,000 in legal fees and costs to launch. (Losing lawyer – Jonathan J Sommer)
– Artworld v SAW Gallery – in 2014 Shiller (I believe) sent a letter (on behalf of Artworld) to Jason St-Laurent, the curator of Ottawa’s SAW Gallery, threatening a lawsuit about its false, libelous, and malicious displaying – (ed.) done at Ritchie Sinclair’s request – of “Wheel of Life 1979” as a Morrisseau “fake,” and the center piece of its F IS FOR FAKE exhibit, which ran from June to September 2014.
Shiller demanded an immediate dismounting of “Wheel” and the publishing of an Apology to Artworld, in the Ottawa Citizen. Both were immediately done on Sep. 3, 2014. The SAW Gallery and Jason St-Laurent hugely lost face and had their credibility impugned and their reputation tarnished for their malicious ploy in attacking a genuine Morrisseau and a decent and reputable art dealer. (Losing lawyer – an anonymous sneaky advising lawyer who refused to divulge his identity)
– White v Sinclair – in 2015 Shiller successfully sued Ritchie Sinclair for Libel and Defamation on behalf of James White and his genuine Morrisseau paintings. (Losing ersatz lawyer – Ritchie Sinclair, self-represented)
– Hearn v McLeod – There is only one lawsuit left claiming he was sold “fake Morrisseau,” by celebrity ivory tickler Kevin Hearn. He was coached into suing Joe McLeod claiming paintings he – as Canada’s top Morrisseau expert – sold him were fakes.
Hearn persists with lawyer Jonathan J Sommer even though fellow musician John McDermott – who finally saw the light before it financially ruined him – totally and utterly gave up a completely similar lawsuit, by the same lawyer, with the same “facts,” with similar paintings, from the same art dealer…
Without getting an admission of any kind from the man he accused – the highly reputable Joe McLeod – no compensation of any kind, and in fact had to pay out thousands of dollars of his own money in legal fees – which he lost – to launch his bogus claim.
I am absolutely certain that Brian Shiller will come out completely vindicating his last Morrisseau “fakes” client, like he has every other.
Hopefully this will be a lesson to art collecting neophytes like school teachers (Hatfield), celebrity singers (McDermott), and ivory ticklers (Hearn), to do some thinking, reading, and research, BEFORE they buy art so they don’t fall into the hands of the creeps, crooks and conmen that infest the art world, and just mindlessly shoot off their mouths to the media, and launch specious lawsuits on matters they are clearly clueless and uninformed about.
Their hapless and witless excursion into the art world, as the willing tools of malicious art scammers, has hugely damaged the art of Norval Morrrisseau in the public’s mind, and devalued the art in the hands of countless other decent and honest Morrisseau art collectors. Though admittedly only “tools,” they were willing, unthinking “proxies,” for the “dirty deed,” and so bear a share of the guilt for the biggest act of cultural genocide in modern Canadian history, against Indigenous Peoples’ art heritage.
Cautioned Bonnie Czegledi, a Toronto-based international lawyer, a product of Harvard and Yale, a member of the Canadian, American, and international bar associations, and art fakes sleuth extraordinaire:
“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)