SHOCKING DISCLOSURE OF THE DAMAGE DONE…
– To Canada’s First Nations Art Heritage by the “Conspiracy Theorists” and their Gullible, Feckless, and Compliant Partners in Cultural Genocide…
The Stevens Graph
The Bad & the Beautiful – Part 1
The Bad & the Beautiful – Part 2
The Bad & the Beautiful – Part 3
The Bad & the Beautiful – Part 4
Joyner Canadian Fine Art
Heffel Fine Art
Terror on Elm Street – The Elmwood Spa Book Launch
James slips up – Big Time…
In 2011 James Stevens published “A Picasso in the North Country,” a truly important book, not only in Norval Morrisseau’s life, but in world history. It is a work that rivals in significance, the epic “Picasso: Creator and Destroyer,” one of the landmark biographies of all time, which Arianna Huffington wrote in 1988. (A Picasso in the North Country: Lake Superior Art Gallery, 2011)
It is the information which is outstanding – no we don’t mean the text is great literature – but for what it unveils about the private Morrisseau, “the creator and destroyer,” which we will leave for another day.
Canadians should be eternally grateful to Stevens for compiling a work no one else could have written, and for preserving for the Ages, absolutely vital information about the life of Norval Morrisseau which would have otherwise been lost forever.
Stevens wrote a personal biography, in great graphic detail, of the entire life span of Norval Morrisseau as the artist exposed himself, to intimates, through hundreds of personal vignettes drawn from interviews, diaries, and recordings. Much of it is shocking but highly revelatory, of a man who chose to live by no one’s rules but his own. And go absolutely overboard in doing so.
Norval chose to live his life the way he lived it, with utter reckless abandon without the least concern for either man or beast; Stevens has equal right to analyze and publish his take on a public figure, warts and all, like Huffington on Picasso, and Issacson on Jobs.
He had a public duty to do so; he and people he sought out had been along for much of the ride…
Picasso, Jobs, and Morrisseau, are giants of creativity in their own fields, but not one of whom I’d ever want to share a dinner table with, or shake hands with. They don’t even rate at the bottom of a list of decent human beings. (More explosive stuff on this to come.)
Stevens clearly also wanted to use his publishing opportunity to do a pictorial book that also mirrored Norval’s life as an artist, with pictures to showcase his artistic output – a catalogue raisonné if you will.
He used some 150 pictures to illustrate every period of Norval’s artistic life, from 1950 to 2007 when he died. (Norval’s painting career effectively ended in 1995, according to his son Christian; lasted in full bloom till 2001 according to the Morrisseau art cartel).
The Stevens book should have given us a nice pictorial representation of Norval’s artistic output over time.
It did not; it is a disaster…
But, I believe, it is not Stevens’ fault…
Why? Because I happen to believe that James received a midnight visit, or a SLAPP suit threat, from an aggressive Conspiracy Theorist “Enforcer” who scared the living daylights out of him…
Here’s my take… how I discovered it all…
Plotting Morrisseau’s Art Legacy
Figuring that Stevens was conscientious, and that he had done his best to publish Norval’s most representative paintings from every year – and more when Norval really blossomed – I figured I could tabulate the results, and scale them proportionally, to a bar graph, and so create a representative pictorial display of Norval’s output by year and period.
The resulting “Stevens Graph” would be a measure of Norval’s artistic output as good as any other.
One could easily predict that plotting the pictures should have produced a nice curve, rising steadily as Norval’s power and output rose through the 1960s, and peak powerfully during the late 1970s when he had the most shows, won the most honours, and annually produced the most paintings.
This curve should have at least held in the opening and middle years of the 1980s, before starting to fall off, rapidly in the late 80s and early 90s as Norval’s physical and mental health declined precipitously.
As Norval’s old friend Lloyd Comber, from Pikangikum, said, after he encountered him in 1987, “I noticed that his art wasn’t as good as it used to be.”
The orange “Morrisseau Curve” below shows the peaks of this probable projection. And I expected that Stevens’ pictorial display would reflect that.
I decided to use all the dated pictures that James had published throughout his book, some 81, as the source material to plot.
I knew, starting out, that this methodology would distort my results badly, bulging the graph in the 1970s, when Norval’s brother Wolf encouraged him, big time, to indulge his passion for writing dates on the back of his paintings, and unfortunately, diminishing it, after 1990, when Donald Robinson claims Norval “never even did it once.”
So I was primed to watch out for these distortions in the “Stevens Graph.”
I took 81 dated pictures and logged them, properly scaled, by number to Norval’s lifeline. The green bars of the graph below, reflects the numbers of pictures Stevens selected from every year.
The Shocking Stevens Graph – The resulting Stevens Graph is shocking in what it shows:
– a huge overrepresentation in the 1960s
– a huge and inexplicable hole in the 1970s BDP period
– a huge hole after 1989, during Norval’s 17 year “Invalid Period”
I had fully expected the Stevens Graph of green bars to stretch up and touch the orange Morrisseau curve in a rough correlation of sorts.
Nothing of the kind happened.
What the Stevens Graph shows, is abnormality run amok: the sixties spiking unusually high; Norval’s output then declining markedly, and then dying out completely in the early 70s.
It gets worse.
By the mid-70s when Norval received the Order of Canada, had his coffee table book produced, got his Honourary Ph.D. and had the biggest “orange” crush dots (see graph) of art shows of his career, the paintings are all – Pooff – gone.
They are totally missing from Stevens’ published record of pictorials.
It is to me, it is a stunning example of what ART TERRORISM has accomplished to wipe out a whole generation of genuine paintings from a high-end period in the catalogue raisonné of Canada’s top Aboriginal artist.
Stunningly, and inexplicably, there are no pictures from 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, or 1981, when Norval was widely regarded by experts, to be at the peak of his power.
Which – not coincidentally; but compromisingly – is exactly the period that Donald Robinson and the Conspiracy Theorists have targeted with their campaign against the so-called forgeries.
And remember my fear, of getting far too many from this period, when there were more “dated” paintings available, by far, than from any other period of Norval’s entire painting life?
What the hell happened?
I know for a fact that Stevens didn’t lack pictures.
There are hundreds of pictures from those years available. Many collectors would have gladly loaned them to Stevens.
So I am absolutely sure, that, when Stevens started to assemble his materials during the countdown to publication, and he started to collect images to illustrate his book, he gathered up hundreds of possible paintings from Norval’s high period. Including hundreds of BDPs from the 1970s. Like all those that illustrate this article.
Did he just forget he had them? Did he never realize what a huge hole in Norval’s catalogue raisonné he had created in his book? Why did he ignore them?
It is all so especially shocking, because – as I noted above with my fear of the ballooning effect – the 70s are when Norval dated his pictures more so than any other time.
I expected an abnormally high spiking of pictures exactly because of that; and an uncommonly low representation from the 60s when Norval didn’t date his paintings aggressively.
Inexplicably, exactly the reverse is shown in the Stevens Graph. The 60s have a huge spike in pictures; the 70s have a total wipe out in representation; and the 1990s and beyond are gone absolutely as well.
Something very fishy is going on here.
Why is there this huge hole in the middle of the most powerful painting period in Norval’s catalogue raisonné?
What happened to all the missing pictures – all the BDPs from the 1970s?
The Plot Against the BDPs
I do not know Stevens; I have not talked to Stevens.
But I think I know, with a certainty of somewhere around 100%, exactly what went on.
That Stevens was working on publishing a major book on Morrisseau, was an open secret for the last few years.
As everyone also knows, Donald Robinson, aided and abetted by a gullible and compliant media, had launched a huge attack against BDPs as forgeries, starting with the National Post article, May 18, in 2001. (Glossary: BDPs)
BDPs are the “1970s style black drybrush signed, titled, and dated on the back” pictures. They are from Norval’s high period. when he was hugely prolific and did much of his best work. Donald Robinson has sworn in court testimony, on multiple occasions, that BDPs are all forgeries – that Norval never painted them, nor signed a single one of them in that style.
He charged that these BDPs are all part of the thousands of forgeries he claims to have discovered, that are out there, produced by a diabolical – but always unidentified – syndicate of forgers, and connivingly, being sold as genuine by his leading business competitors in the retailing of Morrisseau art, even though he claims they know they are forgeries.
The documentary record testifies that he was strongly supported in these self-declared beliefs by fellow Morrisseau Forgery Conspiracy Theorists: Paul Robinson, Gabe Vadas, Bryant Ross, Aaron Milrad, Michele Vadas, Mark Anthony Jacobson, and Ritchie Sinclair. To simplify it: basically the Vadas family and their lawyer, the Robinson family, and its two “enforcers.”
Note: Absolutely, importantly, I am leaving Norval Morrisseau out of the Conspiracy Theory entirely. Unlike every other charter member of the art cartel involved in promoting the Theory on websites, blogs, court testimony, and media interviews – who are all exclusively white men hovering around his wheelchair – there is not a single solitary video clip, television interview, or audio tape of any kind, on this planet or any other, in this world or the next, of Norval Morrisseau himself, talking about forgeries or forgers of any kind. So I cannot count Norval as a member of the Conspiracy Theory group unless one can include for membership, one “Dumb Indian.”
And guess who all these white guys around Norval’s wheelchair use as their sole supporting source for the entire Theory? The answer: why the guy in the wheelchair, one “Dumb Indian…,” you know, as cover, or the escape hatch, when the “Lance
Confession” comes – as it ultimately will – down the road…
White men have done this with Indians since time began. Why do you think it has changed in the 21st century?
Using their legal association with Norval Morrisseau, an artist in spectacular physical and mental free-fall, as a club against their main business competitors – some 40 art galleries across Canada – the Conspiracy Theorists around Norval’s wheelchair, have sought to root out all BDPs – thousands of them – from the public record, by denouncing them all, as forgeries.
Donald Robinson told Deputy Judge Paul Martial, overseeing Hatfield v Child, that in the last few years he has been totally dedicated to researching all of the thousands of alleged fake BDPs and rooting them out. A business associate of his, and an acolyte, Ritchie Sinclair – who is challenging him for the title of Principal Morrisseau Conspiracy Theorist – has posted over a thousand of these BDPs on a malicious and defamatory website.
Clearly, by repeatedly showing up as a duo in court cases – as the “Don and Ritchie Show” – they have nailed their flag to the mast, with their self-serving court appearances, web sites, blog sites, and “Expert Reports.”
- They persist even though their claims have been completely discredited by some 70 academic scientific forensic reports saying with DNA certainty that their charges are ludicrous, their reports worthless, and their claims of hundreds of forgeries, as wrong as wrong can be.
These scores of forensic findings, by three of Canada’s top forensic document examiners and handwriting analysis experts, have proven, with DNA certainty, that some 70 paintings that the leading Conspiracy Theorists, Robinson and Sinclair, call forgeries, in actual fact are not, but bear genuine signatures of Norval Morrisseau, and could not have been signed by anyone else. Without a single dissenting finding.
I believe that Sinclair and Robinson have one ultimate destiny – the laughing stock of history, elbowing into that special place reserved for Holocaust Deniers, and those who loudly claim: that the world is flat; that Lance never doped; that “little green men came out of a space ship and got me pregnant, Dad!”
It is their right in a country which allows free speech.
But it doesn’t mean the rest of us have to take seriously anything they say… at all…
Their “Right” to Engage in Art Terrorism – appended to the right of free speech, no matter… especially if it is wildly ludicrous – is coupled a codicil to protect everyone else in a “free will” society: spout what you will, but, “You do not have – you never have – the Right to be Believed.”
- More importantly, by extension, you do not have the right to force your beliefs down anyone else’s throat, no matter how self-righteous you are, or how loudly you scream, or in an attempt to prevent others from dissenting with you, as they exercise their own freedom of speech on facts and issues which you have propelled into the public arena for debate…
You cannot threaten people who dissent with the Conspiracy Theory, with physical force, which has been done by Conspiracy Theorists…
You cannot threaten to put people who dissent with the Conspiracy Theory, into “a meat grinder” like in “Fargo” as has been done by Conspiracy Theorists…
You cannot threaten people who dissent with the Conspiracy Theory, with SLAPP suits, which has been done by Conspiracy Theorists…
That Conspiracy Theorists engage in all these diabolical and anti-democratic tactics is hugely compromising evidence that they are hurting, big time, in trying to maintain a completely ridiculous and clearly bankrupt Theory against basic common sense, and the huge onslaught of scores of independent Canadian scientific findings.
1 – The Damning Hatfield Disclosures 2012 – The Hatfield v Child court case has given the Canadian public a wonderful insight into exactly how the members of the cartel operate together to try to pressure a leading, and highly reputable business competitor, Artworld of Sherway, whom they accused of knowingly engaging in a “conspiracy” to sell scores of BDP forgeries, into bowing to their will.
I heard it all – in the public gallery of a court case that went on for five long days, over a two year period – and the court transcripts confirm, the dates, times, and specifics, of all the ways the members of the group worked together against Artworld of Sherway, including the use of:
– intimidating SLAPP lawsuit by a gullible proxy – little old lady Hatfield
– preparatory corporate espionage and surveillance – by “Mr. Smith” AKA Donald Robinson
– fabricating Expert Reports – Donald Robinson
– intimidating phone calls – Michele Vadas
– intimidating fax – Aaron Milrad
– intimidating letter– Aaron Milrad
– intimidating email – Aaron Milrad
– intimidating Affidavits of Forgery – Gabor Vadas, Norval Morrisseau
– defamatory media advisory – Clark R Purves
– intimidating affidavit – Michele Vadas
– malicious defamation on website – Ritchie Sinclair
– intimidating blogs – Ritchie Sinclair & Principal Morrisseau Dealer
- Members of this small group are documented in the public record, and in court transcripts, as using numerous of the same variety of threatening tactics against other art galleries, auction houses, book launches, etc., warning people to remove BDPs from their sales lists, from the walls of their showrooms, from their auction listings, and to “burn” books that dared to use them as illustrations of Norval’s art.
If you think this is Chicago in the 1920s, you would be wrong.
This is all stuff going on in the Canadian art scene in the 21st century, in “Toronto the Good.”
Or as Jack Pollock observed, in his “Dear M” memoir of confessions to his psychiatrist in the 1980s, all part and parcel of “what the art world is like: scheming, manipulative, and, quite often, downright fraudulent.”
So, faced with all these multi-level threats, from Conspiracy Theorists, do people knuckle under?
2 – The “Heffel Fine Art” Fiasco 2006
Well, after receiving such threats, Heffel of Vanvouver, BC, quickly delisted several genuine Morrisseau paintings owned by Joseph Otavnik, at the very last second, from their fine art auction. Otavnik, brandishing a forensic report proving his paintings as authentic, exposed the Hoax of the Gabe Vadas (and Morrisseau?) claim that his paintings were forgeries, and won a large financial pay-off from them.
They begged him to settle out of court, they were so afraid of going before a judge knowing they didn’t have a scintilla of believable proof. (Including an artist in such physical and mental decline that he was totally incapable of giving credible testimony on anything before an independent judge – besides no longer being able to paint anything worth looking at…)
One painting Heffel delisted, “Spirits 2b,” which was later proven, with DNA certainty, to have beeen authentically signed by Norval Morrisseau, by forensic scientist Brian Lindblom was responsible for forcing Norval Morrisseau and his business manager – the same two who had cowed Heffel into dumping the paintings – to settle out of court and pay the owner $11,000 in compensation, rather than face a judge, knowing he’d be tougher to fool than the Heffels.
Heffel also delisted “Grandfather Speaks of Great Ansistral Warrior 1977” which was later proven, with DNA certainty, to have been authentically signed by Norval Morrisseau, by forensic scientist Kenneth J Davies.
Forensics by top Canadian scientists proved that Heffel, reacting precipitously out of fear, had irresponsibly dumped several genuine Morrisseaus from their auction listings, and hugely tarnished these genuine Canadian heritage treasures in the market place by doing so.
3 – “Joyner Canadian Fine Art” Fiasco 2011 – I believe as a result of receiving similar threats, Joyner Canadian Fine Art of Toronto), after having, for months, posted the Morrisseau’s BDP “Nature as One,” for sale, suddenly delisted it, literally at the “very last second” from its fine art auction.
The Bad and the Beautiful – Part 1 – The painting had been in the possession of their fine art expert, Lydia Abbott, for months, pictorially posted in their catalogue, and I had examined it on the last day of preview, still up for sale, two days before the auction.
The auctioneer started the sale, with the sudden announcement that Morrisseau’s “Nature as One” had been delisted. Someone had obviously received a last minute, threatening “midnight phone call,” attacking this typical Norval Morrisseau 1970s BDP as a fake, and demanding they remove it from their listing.
Staff gossip said it was a fake. The owner of the painting, whom I was able to discover, said she was not informed of the Joyner decision, was shocked and has been unable to sell the painting, at any price, since it was “defamed as a fake” by Joyner’s precipitous delisting.
Joyner’s has not been able to produce any evidence whatsoever that it is a fake, nor has it revealed who exactly maligned the painting. Take your pick of the Conspiracy Theorists.
I believe – like Heffel – Joyner’s “dumped” a genuine Morrisseau out of fear of repercussions – likely legal threats – from the Conspiracy Theorists.
And exactly like Heffel, rather than making a stand with courage, on knowledge, expertise, and principle, or calling in a forensic scientist, chose to dump a single painting that had no effect on their bottom line. Even if it was a genuine painting by Morrisseau.
Remember, fine art auctions – Heffel, Joyner’s, Bonham, Sotheby’s, Waddington’s – are first and foremost money making operations. They are not there to preserve, protect, or promote the Canadian art heritage. But to profit from it. The two don’t go together as witnessed by the shabby and defamatory treatment many genuine Morrisseaus get at several of the top Canadian fine art auctions.
Pssst: A Trade Secret – Because they sell thousands of paintings by hundreds of artists every year, the fine art auction staff can’t tell if their paintings – any of them – are genuine or fake. It’s not rocket science, Dear Diary. In fact Robert Heffel once told me that when a “supposed” Krieghoff comes in on consignment he used to get Dennis Reid of the Art Gallery of Ontario to come in and authenticate it for them. It’s what one would expect when confronted with the same questions about a Morrisseau, Canada’s top Aboriginal artist; instead they all just “dump” the Indian’s work into their Heritage Trash bin
With exactly the same cavalier disregard as white policemen, who have “dumped” public concerns about some 600 missing young Indian girls into the trash bin. With predictable results: their totally complicit negligence has resulted in letting psychopaths like Pickton and others, to run amok, to terrorize the public, and to murder and kill at will, along BC’s “Highway of Tears.”
It’s all part of Canada’s racist past – and present. Hell, they’re only Indians…
When a single painting threatens their bottom line, out it goes… regardless if it is genuine or fake. And gets hugely tarnished in the market place as a result, with the owner getting nothing… zip… nada… when he or she tries to sell it afterwards… anywhere. Thanks to the infamy being broadcast, for years, on the internet, including by the auction house’s own “Past Auctions” files.
And the ripple effect extends the tarnish to the reputation of its owner or consignor. Completely without justification.
The picture of “Nature as One,” and its listing, is permanently frozen into the Joyner catalogue, and branded forever, by auction floor scuttlebutt as “suddenly delisted as a fake.” And the infamy will live for years in the murkiest corners of Google storage on the internet.
It’s how Conspiracy Theorists destroy Canadian art heritage, and how compliant, uninformed, uncaring, and unconcerned, fine art auctions, play along and trash Great Canadian Art.
Joyner did not officially call “Nature as One” a forgery. But by treating this authentic Morrisseau as a “leper,” within minutes of the announcement, the feeling spread across the auction floor that Joyner suddenly considered it a “forgery,” resulting in the precipitous delisting. And, with the painting branded for life, the owner would find it virtually impossible to sell anywhere, at any price.
Something I’ve actually confirmed with the owner, who lives in Nova Scotia… So much for investing in First Nations art, anywhere in Canada!
This kind of auction floor chit chat about a “fake” has never accompanied the delisting of countless other paintings that I have witnessed over hundreds of auctions over many years.
4 – Fiasco at the Elmwood Spa Morrisseau Art Exhibition and Book Launch 2010
My wife Joan Goldi and I had been given private access to see a huge Morrisseau art show that had been up on three floors of the Spa, and open to the public, for almost a year, and had been closed for a couple of months. Preparations were underway for a major new Morrisseau book to be launched, a few days later.
Everything looked fine to us. Lots of great Morrisseau paintings, some spectacular ones, including many fine BDPs from the 1970s.
The paintings had apparently been collected over many years, by the owner of the Elmwood Spa, Sherry Brydson, a passionate collector of Canadian fine art, who had clearly spared no expense to get the best paintings that were available. She had been advised in her collecting by Joseph McLeod, still regarded as the top expert on Norval Morrisseau’s art from the 1960s to the 1980s period. He had supplied many of the paintings through his gallery.
Ms. Brydson had family ties to super-wealthy Ken Thomson, himself a Canadian fine art fanatic.
(Note: Many years ago I wrote Thomson, often called Canada’s richest man at the time, saying that his Krieghoff collection was great, but that what his display, then in a small private gallery, needed was a fine educational video to tie the whole thing together. He graciously wrote me a personal letter saying he quite agreed, saluted my interest as a fellow devotee to Canadian art, but said, regretfully, he had no money…)
A few days later, we showed up as invitees to the book launch, and were stunned…
Terror on Elm Street -Incredibly some 20 BDP’s that had been on display, on three different floors, for almost a year, were now all suddenly gone and replaced with other paintings.
The Bad and the Beautiful – Part 2 – When we inquired about these stunning developments, the gallery curator, Jessica Wilson, told us that she had received a threatening phone call from Paul Robinson, owner of the Kinsman Robinson Galleries, warning her to dump the paintings he wanted gone, or else.
Because of the intimidating phone call, Wilson told us that the Elmwood Spa had quickly removed over a dozen fine Morrisseau BDPs from their walls. And this, in spite of the fact that they had been up for almost a year, and were now only slated to be up on public display for a couple of more days, and only as a backdrop for a one day book launch of a new pictorial volume celebrating paintings from the exhibition.
Yet they removed them. Fear can do that to people…
Wilson also told us she had received utterly vile phone threats from Mark Anthony Jacobson – who at the time operated one of the filthiest websites ever to disgrace public discourse in Canada. Astonishingly, Jacobson, an artist himself, has, with his vicious attacks on genuine Morrisseau paintings, helped to depress, hugely, the value of all Canadian Aboriginal art in the market place.
With his vile attacks calling genuine Morrisseau art as forged, he has succeeded, big time, in scaring buyers away from buying Indian art of any kind.
In fact, in sync with all the Indian “mumbo-jumbo” numerous Conspiracy Theorists play around with – Daniel Boone jackets, fur hats, pseudo-Indian names, Indian “adoptions,” Bear Dance hocus pocus, etc., Jacobson – you won’t believe this – bestowed an “Eagle Feather” on Donald Robinson for his work in denouncing as forgeries, thousands of genuine Norval Morrisseau BDPs from the 1970s.
(Rumour has it that, since Jacobson couldn’t find a real eagle feather, he substituted a turkey feather, knowing that Donald Robinson couldn’t tell the difference. Now you know, Dear Diary.)
Wilson told us she literally feared for her physical safety, that she had never encountered a vicious attack like that or anything similar.
We were more stunned to hear that, in view of the multi-level extreme threats of dire consequences if they went ahead with the Morrisseau book launch, the Spa suddenly cancelled it as well, only hours before the event.
The speeches would be made, celebrating Norval, but the Brydson book that was to be unveiled and sold, was kept under lock and key and not even available for viewing.
Before the hugely watered-down event began, we noticed that a leading Conspiracy Theorist “enforcer” Ritchie Sinclair, and his roommate/assistant Garth Cole (a Supervising City of Toronto Information Officer), were walking around and clearly checking to see if the banned paintings had all been properly removed as “ordered.”
Sinclair, who regards himself as the chief enforcer for the Conspiracy Theorists, in fact, featured the Brydson book on his malicious and defamatory website as being full of forgeries.
The Bad and the Beautiful – Part 3
My wife followed Sinclair and Cole (they did not know who we were) from floor to floor, as they checked to make sure the “orders” had been followed to the letter, or, we surmised, if they would have to take further action to force compliance…
This was easier than you may think since Sinclair was wearing his customary “Daniel Boone” hunting costume which he wears during his “enforcement” outings. We presume he wears it in honour of the legendary Indian fighter, whose exploits he seeks to emulate, with his numerous public attacks on some of Canada’s top Indian artists as being lowlife forgers.
Their surveillance and enforcement activities completed, the enforcer and his assistant did not even bother to stay for any of the official celebrations to begin, or to hear the speeches from the Gallery owner, and the expert’s (Barry Ace) insightful talk about Norval Morrisseau.
I watched the “Theorist” duo exit the building, smilingly, as they went off to report “Mission Accomplished.” I understood; enforcers are not really intellectuals; their skills lie in other areas.
This is all serious stuff for a lot of businessmen and women in the Canadian fine art market.
Joe McLeod was really the target of this corporate aggression; he has long been a target of Kinsman Robinson Galleries, accused by Donald Robinson and Ritchie Sinclair of knowingly selling forgeries.
Ritchie Sinclair, a website blogger, and a passionate Conspiracy Theorist, had previously physically threatened Joseph McLeod, the main business competitor of Kinsman Robinson Galleries, on so many occasions, that the police finally arrested him, and charged him with Criminal Harassment. (The police document proving all this is on the web.)
In 2010, Ms. Hatfield testified in her court case exactly what she had been told, in private – ooops! – about Joe McLeod by Ritchie Sinclair, a long-time acolyte, and business associate of the Kinsman Robinson Galleries.
When she was asked if the had contacted McLeod, the Morrisseau expert who had signed her Certificate of Appraisal for a painting she bought, she snarked:
“I had found out from Mr. Sinclair that Mr. McLeod was involved in the forgery as well as in their distribution. I certainly did not contact him.” (Court Transcripts: May 31, 2011 p 32)
The accusation was outrageous, of course, but it disclosed to all Canadians who the target of the Conspiracy Theorists was, and who the shooters were, and how they operated behind the scenes with gullible proxies to advance their cause.
But don’t feel too bad for a retired “little old lady school teacher.” She and another beginning art collector, Dr. Jonathan Browne – who should have smelled a rat long ago; hell, he’s an authority on the dung beetle – have been gullible converts to the Conspiracy Theory for several years, even coming from hundreds of miles away to act as support observers in Otavnik v Sinclair in 2010. All without proof of any kind – in fact, against the scientific reports of Canada’s top forensic experts – just to show common cause with the losing side, the Conspiracy Theorists.
They have both, been willing proxies helping to commit cultural genocide against the art of Canada’s First Nations artists.
By the way, the situation is so bad, and the tactics of the Conspiracy Theorists so effective, that David Silcox, normally the last word in gracious and composed behaviour, at Sotheby’s of Canada, expressed his annoyance to me about it all.
He said Sotheby’s was actually thinking of not accepting Morrisseaus on consignment anymore for their fine art auctions.
Confessed Silcox:“It’s just not worth the trouble. With the threats and all.”
Calling James Stevens… 2011
It’s in this atmosphere that word leaked out that Stevens was starting to assemble the pictures for his book.
So, I surmise, a Conspiracy Theory “enforcer” contacts James Stevens…
It’s pure conjecture on my part, with the only evidence, knowledge of what has been going on with other people in the Morrisseau art business community. It seems as good an explanation as any, for the totally lopsided pictorial display in his book, and the huge hole in Norval’s BDP period, which has for the past decade been the special target of the Conspiracy Theorists, with website defamations, emails, phone calls, letters, Affidavits, espionage visits, physical attacks, and meat grinder threats.
So the fact is that the Stevens book would not be the first book to be ordered “burned” by members of the art cartel.
It is absolutely clear to me – without fear of the slightest contradiction – that James Stevens was contacted by a Conspiracy Theorist “enforcer” or his lawyer, threatening him with a SLAPP suit, or worse, if he published any of the forbidden BDPs that the cartel had denounced as forgeries.
James, I believe, got scared, big time, and was brow-beaten into doing Norval Morrisseau a huge disservice, by omitting the powerful BDP paintings from his high period because of threats.
Clearly reeling from the “enforcer” threats James wiped out Norval’s powerful late 70s period from his book.
He made up for the huge hole in his catalogue raisonné by spiking in a huge number of extra 60s stuff, which the cartel members didn’t object to. They weren’t BDPs. But it way over represented the period in Norval’s art history.
And, I believe, to express his pique with the cartel, and their strong arm tactics against him, James just expunged all the paintings they were offering for sale, namely those they claimed Norval painted after 1989, when he came under control of an all-white business management. This group would be the initiators of the Conspiracy Theory of thousands of forgeries by umpteen forgers, and find it an effective tool to destroy their business competitors in the secondary market of selling Morrisseau paintings.
Donald Robinson claims the 1990s – when he was the Principal Morrisseau Dealer selling direct-from-the-artist paintings – was one of the most productive and successful of Norval’s entire career, and that he was a vigorous painter till 2001, even though, those who disagree are legion, and say Robinson’s bumph is just the expected hype from a motivated seller – the Principal Morrisseau Dealer.
Why is this period, then, also hugely, and suspiciously, missing in Stevens’ book?
Well, I believe Stevens was warned by the Conspiracy Theorists not to publish BDPs from the 70s, with which he complied. But clearly PO’d big time by their high-handed tactics, and exercising his own freedom of action, he just refused to publish the stuff they were selling, and thus, in effect, refusing to acknowledge that they were genuine Morrisseaus, from the entire 18 year period after they took control of his affairs…
Was the pressure of the Conspiracy Theorists winning points on James, in spite of himself?
I believe so. James is an expert on the life of Norval Morrisseau, not the art of the artist. He is an informed amateur not a recognized “Appraisal granting” expert.
Sorry James – James is not a journalist; James is certainly not, an investigative journalist. Nor is he, unlike me, a trained and longtime practicing professional historian.
His strength is in collating, in gathering, in compiling information. He has no skills, in professional art assessment, historical document examination, handwriting analysis, or evidence processing.
When he departs from his proven and valuable skill set, and starts to do analytical history, in his ending chapter on fakes, he awfully tarnishes the book, for the Ages. It is mindlessly, unverified, gossip masquerading as truth, that is merely recycled publicity hand-outs from Conspiracy Theorist propaganda.
James makes bald statements about fakes as if they were true, without offering any independently verifiable evidence to support his allegations.
So he knuckled under, more than a bit, to the huge media attack by Conspiracy Theorists.
It gets worse; and here’s the proof:
The Bad and the Beautiful – Part 4
James published one picture with a caption alleging it as a possible fake. He used as his authority Blake Debassige, carefully adding “Dr.” in front of it, to try to give more weight to his forgery argument.
Which is irrelevant, to begin with, since Debassige is not a “Doctor” of expertise on Morrisseau, but in his own art. It’s a common attribution mistake that amateur writers often make, when trying to add punch to something when they lack real evidence.
Clearly Stevens should not have used Debassige, nor his doctorate, as proof of possible Morrisseau frauds in his book.
Alas, in doing so, both Stevens and Debassige have exposed themselves as utter dunces in the Morrisseau authentication department.
On Dec. 19, 2011, thanks to the far-sighted efforts, and public-spirited passion of Ugo Matulic, who traced down the ownership of this painting, “Arrangement of Underworld Spirits 1980,” and using his own money, had the signature evaluated by top Canadian forensic document examiner and handwriting analysis expert, Kenneth J Davies. Davies certified, with DNA certainty, that the painting was an authentic work, signed by Norval Morrisseau, and by no one else.
This finding gives a resounding vote of confidence to the judgment of Joe McLeod of Maslak McLeod, who had appraised the painting previously, as a genuine Morrisseau, and just another of the many fallacious appraisals of Morrisseau works assessed by Donald Robinson and Kinsman Robinson Galleries.
So both James and Debassige were utterly wrong about the authenticity of the only alleged example of a forgery Stevens published in his book.
This is hugely devastating to Donald and Paul Robinson and their tribe of Conspiracy Theorists who have claimed that there are over four thousand forgeries “out there,” and that they are so easy to tell that even an amateur could pick them out – meaning you dear reader.
In fact I have heard KRG Associate Director John MacGregor Newman tell a client that he “can spot the fakes instantly, a hundred yards away.”
So, given the huge supply of alleged fakes available, and the utter ease of being able to identify them, how can Stevens – who is hardly an amateur, and has seen more than his fair share of Morrisseaus in his life – pick only one, and it turns out to be an authentic Morrisseau, proven with DNA certainly, by one of Canada’s top forensic document examiners?
One out of 4,000 forgeries, to chose from, and James picks the authentic one? You couldn’t write this in a movie script without being laughed off the job…
Thanks James, again, for inadvertently showing what an utter Hoax the whole Conspiracy Theory of Morrisseau forgeries is.
Sorry James #2 – We lied…
James actually did publish one picture dated 1977, that we did not plot on the Stevens Graph. For a good reason.
James did not use it to illustrate the body of his story on the life of Morrisseau. He used it at the end of the book, in an addendum chapter where he wrote his unscholarly and unsubstantiated analysis of forgeries. The painting is a classic BDP he got from a Private Collection. Together with “Arrangement of Underworld Spirits,” they are his only proof of forgeries.
Challenging James – I am certain the back of the painting has BDP signatures and titling. If James had high resolution images of the signature sent to an independent handwriting expert, I have not the slightest doubt that the verification would come back as “an authentic signature by Norval Morrisseau and by no one else.” I challenge James to pay to have that done, or to send us the photos so we can have it done…
Do it for Norval, for Canada’s National Art Heritage.
And then issue a public retraction, for his allegations about the paintings, and the chapter…
Still the 81 other dated pictures Stevens published stand for something.
Was that another subliminal message by Stevens…?
James Stevens, without knowing it – at least he said nothing about it in public – by publishing the pictures he supposedly chose – actually I believe it is more accurate to say, were chosen for him – said something powerful, for the Ages, about the damage created by the Conspiracy Theorists of thousands of supposed fakes by numerous forgers out there, and the actions of its enforcers.
- Inadvertently, the Stevens Graph shows the enormous damage this group and its wrong-headed Conspiracy, has caused to the artistic heritage of Norval Morrisseau and to collections of countless hundreds of Morrisseau art lovers around the world.
In short, what the Stevens Graphs shows is not, that the supposed forgeries are the primary victims of the Conspiracy Theorist campaign manipulations, but that the primary victims are the genuine paintings of Norval Morrisseau from the period when he created his fabulous BDPs during the 1970s.
Collateral damage of CT attacks are also the hundreds of dealers and collectors who, believing in Norval as an artist, bought and invested in his paintings. Their loyalty to Norval has lost them millions of dollars in valuations, as the spurious attacks by Conspiracy Theorist Extremists has contaminated the market for Canada’s top Aboriginal Artist, and many of his fellow Aboriginal artists.
And that, say knowledgeable Morrisseau collectors, is exactly whom the Conspiracy Theorists were intending to target all along. Nailing the thousands of genuine Morrisseaus from his 1970s high period that were in the hands of their main business competitors, and had been making it hard to sell their wobbly 1990s stuff from Morrisseau from his “Invalid Period” of painting.