Acrylic on watercolour paper, 22" x 30", c.1960-64
Today an exhibition of early Norval Morrisseau artwork on birch bark and paper opens at the Kinsman Robinson Galleries ("KRG") in Toronto. This exhibition comprised of 32 pieces has sold out prior to the opening, on the strength of KRG's reputation for guaranteeing the Morrisseau work that they sell is genuine.
In 1999 I wrote a book entitled, "Woodland Gold", to incite people to collect Woodland art in lieu of saving their paper money in banks. In 2011, with the global fiat money system on the brink of failing, both fine art and gold have become a welcome refuge for wealth. When I wrote that Morrisseau art would rise sharply in value as the economy deteriorated neither Norval nor I were aware that cottage industries creating counterfeit paintings of his work were already in full swing undermining my prediction.
In the autumn of 1999 I wished Norval safe travels and gave him a draft of Woodland Gold to read through while he and Gabe journeyed to Manitoulin Island for a healing ceremony. Upon arrival Norval was treated to an exhibition of counterfeit art attributed to him. Shocked, saddened and infuriated, Norval would spend the remaining years of his life doing what he could to stop the proliferation of inferior fake Morrisseau paintings from saturating the Canadian art market.
Today, with thousands of unsellable counterfeit Morrisseau paintings floating around, those in the know buy only from sources who provide clear provenance and who stand behind what they offer with firm guarantees.
The fact that exhibitions like this one opening today sell out underscores the value of authentic Morrisseau art which is priced well below its real market value. If I had millions to spend it would be gone already; on Morrisseaus.