Tuesday 17 August 2010

Time Track / Causal Plane (1990) Norval Morrisseau

The R.E. Mansfield Collection, 949 works in all, was divided between the University of Oklahoma's Fred Jones and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.

Time Track / Causal Plane
Norval Morrisseau
1990, acrylic on canvas, 36" x 30"
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. R.E. Mansfield, 2003 (Probably acquired in White Rock B.C.)



The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art has acquired another major collection - 476 works by some of the world's most celebrated Native American artists. The R.E. Mansfield Collection, 949 works in all, was divided between the University of Oklahoma's Fred Jones and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. The gift, which includes ceramics, paintings, beadwork, sculpture and textiles, will augment the OU museum's already strong collection of Native American art.

The terms of the gift were unusual. R.E. Mansfield stipulated that it was his desire to see his collection divided evenly between the two museums he felt would be in the best interests of his Native American masterpieces. Mansfield chose the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian and the University of Oklahoma's Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. The task of amicably dividing the nearly 1,000 works was left to the directors and staff of each museum.

 After negotiations, Eric Lee, director of the Fred Jones and Bruce Bernstein, chief curator of the Smithsonian's N.M.A.I. decided the only fair thing to do was to lay out the entire collection in one place and take turns selecting the pieces one at a time. Since the collection already was at the Fred Jones, the selection process took place on the OU campus in Norman.

 "The selection process was exhilarating," said Lee. "The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, which opens its new building on the Mall in Washington in September, has one of the leading collections of Native American art in the world and Bruce Bernstein is one of the nation's leading authorities. We were under a lot of pressure, but I am thrilled with the result. We are also very grateful to Mr. Mansfield for the gift of this incredible collection."

 Lee said that one of the great strengths of the Mansfield Collection is the ceramics. He said the collection has stunning examples of all the major potters of the Southwest, including dozens by historic figures like Maria Martinez and Margaret Tafoya.

"We now have an extremely strong collection of Marias," said Lee. "We also are much stronger in contemporary Native American painters with the addition of major works by such as artists Norval Morrisseau and Emmi Whitehorse." Lee said the Mansfield Collection is impressive in both quality and range of media. "We have beadwork by Marcus Amerman and also quite a bit of prehistoric material, as well as historic pots from the late 19th and early 20th century," he said. "We now have additional weavings from the 19th century and have filled the gaps in our collection, like Native American art from the Pacific Northwest."

 The Fred Jones is undergoing a $14-million renovation and construction project, designed by Washington, D. C. architect Hugh Newell Jacobson. The Mary and Howard Lester Wing will double the size of the existing facility and provide much needed gallery space for the museum's permanent collection, including the Weitzenhoffer Collection of French Impressionism. When the museum reopens in fall 2004, Native American art will have a permanent place in the renovated galleries.
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
December 17, 2004

Dr. Mansfield was an American citizen who was a dedicated collector of Native American art. He considered Norval Morrisseau to be the greatest Indian artist on the continent. His donated collection of almost 1000 works of North American Indian art and pottery included quality authentic Morrisseau paintings and prints along with several "questionable" Morrisseau paintings.

The two American Museums split their take on one day and then went back to the business of educating the World about Indians and their Art.

Purported Morrisseau artwork acquired by the Fred Jones Jr. Museum and the Smithsonian from Dr. and Mrs. R.E. Mansfield in 2003 that in my studied opinion are forged pieces include

Storyteller of the Ages , dated 1980 - Fred Jones Jr. Museum
Early Shaman, dated 1973 - The Smithsonian
Lily of the Mohawk, dated 1979 - The Smithsonian
Mother To All Things, dated 1980 - The Smithsonian
The Wanderers, dated 1985 - The Smithsonian (On tour in Australia)

Authentic Morrisseaus donated by Dr. and Mrs. R.E. Mansfield include

Time Track / Causal Plane , date created 1990 - Fred Jones Jr. Museum
Psychic Space, date created 1996 - The Smithsonian
Meeting with Thunderbird, date created 1994 - The Smithsonian
Together We are All One Spirit, date created 1992 - The Smithsonian


View "Lily of the Mohawk" authentic and forged Morrisseau paintings side-by-side

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