Donald Robinson claims:
– that all the Morrisseaus sold at Randy Potters – some 2,000, out of which he bought 31 himself – were cheap and lousy fakes that even an amateur could pick out
“Q. Schiller: Okay; well, let’s break it down. You believe that the Potter source paintings are all fakes; correct?
A. Robinson: Yes I do.” (Court Trans/Hatfield v Child: Feb 23, 2012 p 2)
“Q. Schiller: And do you believe that the actions of Artworld of Sherway along with Jim White, who was the consignor of the painting, amount to some form of fraudulent scheme?
A. Robinson: I certainly do.
Q. And you believe that Donna Child is involved in that fraudulent scheme?
A. Yes.” (Court Trans/Hatfield v Child: Feb 23, 2012 p 4)
Background: With that claim, expressed as an absolute totality, without a single reservation, telling Judge Martial in the Hatfield v Child case, that it involved “the greatest fraud in Canadian art history,“ Donald Robinson first went public, on May 18, 2001, in the National Post. He then claimed that the world was suddenly inundated with hundreds (later thousands) of Morrisseau forgeries, created by a single (later umpteen) forgers, and they were all being auctioned by Randy Potter and then resold by Robinson’s major business competitors, like Jim White and Artworld of Sherway.
My Take: Perjury, Delusion or Dementia?
I don’t believe for a second, that there is, in this world or the next, a single person who believes Donald Robinson – whether he claims this, in front of a judge, or anywhere else – and that includes himself…
Refunds for Fake Morrisseaus – Out of some 2,000 sales, over 10 years, not a single Morrisseau painting was ever returned to Randy Potter for a refund.
Not a single customer ever asked for his money back, or complained they were sold a fake. A truly awesome encomium for honesty for a retail business, of an astonishing 100%.
Now go ahead and name me the Toronto businessman who can claim that?
And even Robinson, who bought 31 Morrisseaus for $53,228.73 never brought a single one back, never asked for a refund, nor complained to Randy he was sold a fake.
- “Mr. Donald Robinson has never returned or attempted to return any of the Norval Morrisseau paintings he purchased from my auction and later implied were fake in the May 18, 2001, National Post article.” (Affidavit, Randy Potter, Mar 11, 2005)
And another thing: Robinson, whose chutzpah is nothing if not legendary, did bring back one painting he claimed was a fake, demanding a refund for $267.50. But – you won’t believe this – not for a Morrisseau, but for a Robert Davidson…
Without saying a word – I’m absolutely certain – Randy, with no questions asked, paid Robinson the entire amount he demanded, down to the last 50 cents.
And, in the process, going far, far beyond the bounds of what any other retailer, let alone any auctioneer, on the planet, would ever do to satisfy a disgruntled customer.
Because Robinson, in another display of his legendary chutzpah, came back to demand a refund on the Davidson, a full 14 months after buying the painting.
No auction anywhere in Canada would ever have given him a refund, even had he brought it back a day after buying it. And no Canadian fine art auction will give refunds beyond a month after purchase and then only if you have incontrovertible proof from an accepted independent authority that your painting is a fake.
They would have all, unanimously, laughed Robinson out of the building.
Robinson very well knew all that. It was all standard in the professional world he lived in.
But he knew something else too, of which he was equally sure.
That Randy Potter was a decent guy, far above the norm in the auction – let alone the fine art business.
That Robinson could demand something so absolutely inappropriate for a long-ago completed sales transaction because he knew Randy would come through, with the $267.50, no matter how outrageous was Robinson’s demand.
But Robinson knew something else: he had to move fast – in a manner of speaking – if he ever expected to get his 200 bucks back.
He very well knew, the day he went to get his refund, that he had already slammed Randy in private to a journalist who would publish the next month, in the national media, his accusation that Randy was a lowlife scammer. He probably knew after his accusations came out, in the National Post, even Randy’s good will might have been stretched past the point of no return, and he might not give him back his two hundred bucks.
This is all stunning proof that actions speak louder than words, all around.
About the honesty of some people.
Which brings us back to the alleged Morrisseau fakes… With all the evidence in, where, on the planet, is there a single person left, anywhere, who believes that Robinson personally, truly believed the 31 Morrisseau paintings he bought at Potters really were fakes?
Would a guy who played hardball over $200 just throw away $54,000 on fake paintings?
In the end, for all their malicious defamation in the national media and the courts, neither Donald Robinson nor his Conspiracy Theorists ever took Randy Potter to court.
Or anyone else for allegedly selling the thousands of fakes they got at Randy Potters.
Even though they had 13 years and counting to do it, and supposedly thousands of “forgeries” to pick from, and even though they slammed numerous decent Canadian business people in the art world as lowlife scammers.
Which has to be the ultimate proof for sincerity.
Why not? Obviously none of them had proof of anything, but that their claims would only get them laughed out of a police station or a court. And they very well knew it. Why?
Because all along the Conspiracy Theory was nothing more than just shabby MBA 101: control supply and demand by saying only your own paintings are guaranteed to be authentic; that thousands of paintings sold by your business competitors are fakes; and right the balance in your favour by ruining the reputation of your business competitors.
The Absent-minded Donald Robinson:
There are two more extremely important facts that Donald Robinson wants the world to forget about Randy Potter paintings:
First, that the “Holy Trinity” authenticated paintings “FISH & SOMA 1976” came from Randy Potter.
I own, “FISH & SOMA 1976,” the only Morrisseaus in the world which are “Holy Trinity” authenticated, by Donald Robinson himself – he was the under bidder and authenticated them verbally to my face; Norval Morrisseau, the artist; and Kenneth J Davies, one of Canada’s top handwriting analysis experts who certified them both as signed with DNA certainty, by Norval Morrisseau, and by no one else.
These two paintings “FISH & SOMA 1976” offer a truly stunning view behind the curtain of secrecy which Donald Robinson and the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society have sought to cover up “the biggest fraud in Canadian art history.” (More to come.)
Secondly, Robinson also chose to overlook the fact that two of the Potter paintings he defamed as forgeries, “Spirits 2b” and “Father and Son 1977,” were proven to be authentic by forensic scientists, and became the winning proof in the two largest successful lawsuits alleging defamation, won in 2008 by Joe Otavnik v Vadas and Morrisseau (for $11,000) and Michael Moniz v CTVglobemedia (for some $25,000.)
Neither Defendants (including Morrisseau and Vadas, his business manager & the Globe and Mail) in those two landmark cases, believed, for a second, the Robinson claim that the Potter paintings were fakes. They paid up – big time – because they both agreed they had defamed genuine Morrisseau paintings.
It gets worse. Neither defendant – and that includes Donald Robinson’s own artist Norval Morrisseau and his business manager Gabe Vadas – even dared to go to court to face a judge with their supposed proof of forgery.
They both figured that any deal they could make outside court would be far preferable to that imposed by an angry judge who scoffed at their proof of forgeries, and an artist expert who couldn’t even mumble a word…
Both Morrisseau and CTVglobemedia begged for an out-of-court settlement, which Otavnik and Moniz both agreed to, knowing that the authenticity of their paintings, which Morrisseau, Vadas, Robinson, and the Globe called fakes, had been vindicated, and were safe from further malicious and defamatory statements.
In fact, every single painting from Randy Potter that has ever been analyzed by three top Canadian independent forensic experts, has come back as certified, with DNA certainty, as authentically signed by Norval Morrisseau without a single dissenting finding of any kind.
Which has to be a stunning affirmation for the honesty of Randy Potter, for the absolute authenticity of every Morrisseau painting he ever sold.
It explains the inexplicable: why Donald Robinson never, ever, brought back a single one of his Morrisseau “fakes” for a refund.
And leaves us to question: exactly what is the value of his court testimony on what he calls “the greatest fraud in Canadian art history?”