Norval Morrisseau

 

Norval Morrisseau

Norval Morrisseau was born in Fort William (now Thunder Bay) May 14, 1932. He died in Toronto on December 4, 2007. “My art speaks and will continue to speak, transcending barriers of nationality, of language and of other forces that may be divisive, fortifying the greatness of the spirit that has always been the foundation of the Ojibwa people.”

Norval Morrisseau – Travels to the House of Invention

Norval Morrisseau (Copper Thunderbird) was a Grand Shaman of the Ojibwa people. Founder of the Woodland School of art, heralded as the Picasso of the North, Morrisseau as a single force, brought his message to all through his art. Honoured with the Order of Canada and Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation as well as Holder of the Eagle Feather (the highest honour awarded by the Assembly of First Nations), Morrisseau has forever changed the face of art.

One of seven children, Morrisseau was raised by his maternal grandparents. He left school after the fourth grade and developed his art from 1959 while working in mining. In the early 1960s he became a full-time artist. From 1963-66, Morrisseau enlarged the scale of his works and developed his pictographic style, now used by three generations of Aboriginal artists. Combining rich colours, he represents inner realities with strong flowing lines, often indicating spiritual forces. It reflects tensions between Aboriginal cultures and Christianity, shamanism, the interconnection between all living things and the importance of the family. In 1966 Morrisseau, with Carl Ray, created a mural for the Indians of Canada Pavilion at Expo ’67 in Montreal.

Norval Morrisseau is one of the most original and important artists, native or otherwise that Canada has produced. Norval was the first to paint the ancient myths and legends of the eastern woodlands, stories previously passed down by the oral tradition. He spent his youth in remote  isolation in northern Ontario, near Thunder Bay, where his artistic style developed without the usual influences of other artists’ imagery. As the soul originator of his "Woodland" style he has become an inspiration to three generations of artists.

Norval was brought up by his grandfather who introduced him to Ojibwa shamanism and told him the stories and legends passed down amongst the Ojibwa people. Norval began producing images to illustrate these stories. He would draw on the sandy beaches of Lake Nipigon with a stick and let the waves take the images away. He was told by some that it was taboo to relate these stories. Norval Morrisseau is not a man that is easily dissuaded by ancient taboos. He developed his style, adding striking color to his paintings and eventually took them south to Toronto where they were met with rave reviews.

His work now hangs in all of the most prestigious museums in Canada and around the world. He has received an honorary degree from the Royal Academy of Arts and is a member of The Order Of Canada, the highest civilian honor in Canada. In 1989 he was the only Canadian Painter to be invited to participate in the "Magicians Of  The Earth" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, France. He has had numerous solo shows across Canada and the US.


Shaman Thunderbird 
Norval Morrisseau
4/75 Serigraph   $5000 (framed)

Shaman Thunder Bird by Norval Morrisseau

Shown with frame

Shaman Thunder Bird by Norval Morrisseau

Full closeup 

 Shaman Thunder Bird by Norval Morrisseau

Closeup detail

Shaman Thunder Bird by Norval Morrisseau

Newspaper clipping  

Shaman Thunder Bird by Norval Morrisseau

Signature

Shaman Thunder Bird by Norval Morrisseau

Publisher’s Embossed Authentication Seal

This serigraph on acid-free decaled-edge hand-made paper has an embossed stamp of authenticity. It is hand-signed by the artist and is #4 of a very low edition of 75. The image-size is 25.5” x 33” and was printed by Alvo Canadian Art Inc. in 1980.
Norval Morriseau, the “Picasso of the North”, died on December 4th, 2007.


@:LakeSuperiorArt