Hearn came to believe his painting, which he bought in 2005, was forged after contributing it to a special exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. At trial, Hearn’s expert witness was a Carmen Robertson, a professor in visual arts department at the University of Regina. Kastner agreed to the project, but warned Hearn that it would be a journalistic documentary and the musician would have no creative control. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. This important documentary exposes decades of dark deeds perpetrated on an ignorant public and powerfully conveys the sheer audacity and scope of the crimes involved. CV-10-417123. In 2010, Hearn included the painting in an Art Gallery of Ontario exhibition that he was curating – until professional curators informed him it wasn’t Morrisseau’s work.
Instead, Hearn offered Kastner the Morrisseau story. © Copyright 2020 The Globe and Mail Inc. All rights reserved. “Perception is reality in art,” he says. Lamont’s Morrisseau Website.
By that point, the defendant and gallery owner, Joe McLeod, had died. In another scene, one of Morrisseau’s sons sits at an art fair booth daubing at paintings for shoppers attracted by his famous last name – a situation that is troubling on several counts. “We are absolutely shocked by the decision,” says Jonathan Sommer, Hearn’s lawyer. Ultimately, a judge ruled last year that while his lawyer had proved the existence of a forgery ring, there was no way to determine that it had produced Hearn’s painting – and, in law, the benefit of the doubt goes to the defence. “Determining the authenticity of Spirit Energy of Mother Earth cannot turn on whether or not an expert has convinced the court that it actually has spirit energy.”, Morgan was not swayed by the fact that painting’s provenance could not be traced, writing that sourcing a Morrisseau is “as chaotic as his life itself.” Witnesses pointed out that “Morrisseau was in and out of jail, in and out of sobriety, and in and out of bad company,” he wrote. Wolf Morrisseau has been painting since at least 1979 yet has no CV, no historic exhibition history or gallery representation, and less than a dozen old paintings I can find images of. Judgment / Injunction: Are the Goldis in Contempt? The judge’s ruling reads at points like post modernist theory: “What fills the void left by an inscrutable record of paintings is the viewer’s own background, experiences, and understandings.”. Also Wolf tries to explain why the paintings are signed in Black paint on the back. Read our, I'm a print subscriber, link to my account, Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language. Morrisseau’s canvases were not on easels. Instead, Hearn offered Kastner the Morrisseau story. Hot Docs 2019: Are we living in a golden age of documentary cinema? The next time I saw Wolf was 1985. White testified that the questions of authenticity had done severe damage, but he’s now optimistic about the ruling’s potential impact. The Gallery 260 Collection. Kenneth Davies testified he had “a reasonable degree of certainty”, How allegations of a forgery ring are threatening Norval Morrisseau’s legacy.
Lamont had known Morrisseau since at least the 1980s.
The dispute has partly centered on whether the artist signed the back of his paintings in English, with a title and a date, in black dry brush paint. , the market for Morrisseau paintings has been awash in allegations of fakes, creating uncertainty and depressing the value of his works. Using a pencil Norval would sketch a dozen or so canvases, apply colour and finally black line to tie the colours and form together.
Films opening this week: The unstoppable Avengers: Endgame, plus Toronto’s Hot Docs festival begins, “Initially it was out of indignation – I had been ripped off,” Heard said in a recent interview. Hearn loaned the painting to the Art Gallery of Ontario, which had to take the piece down after concerns were raised it was forged.
… “I do not doubt the existence of a Thunder Bay-area fraud ring and the circulation of fraudulent paintings produced there,” Morgan wrote, adding, “since no one can identify Spirit Energy of Mother Earth at all, let alone having been produced by the fraudsters, the relevance of this evidence turns out to be tangential at best.”, Whether the decision will ultimately bring more certainty to the market for Morrisseau paintings is unclear. Witnesses for Hearn described an Ontario fraud ring led by a drug dealer named Gary Lamont that produced hundreds of fake paintings in the 2000s attributed to Morrisseau, a First Nation artist dubbed the “Picasso of the North.” Lamont is reportedly currently incarcerated for sexually assaulting young men, and McLeod died prior to trial. The case was the third to proceed to trial involving the authenticity of a painting attributed to Norval Morrisseau, an Anishinaabe painter considered to be one of the country’s most influential and important Indigenous artists. Dealers and collectors who defend their paintings as legitimate Morrisseaus, and argue that allegations of fraud are just an attempt by a few dealers to corner the market, would get a chance to say their piece. The Morrisseau fraud is an art-world scandal. The case was the third to proceed to trial involving the authenticity of a painting attributed to Norval Morrisseau, an Anishinaabe painter considered to be one of the country’s most influential and important Indigenous artists. Hearn’s connection began in 2005 when he bought a large green painting that had what appeared to be Morrisseau’s signature on the back at a Toronto gallery. The seriousness of the investigation was made plainly evident after a September 2019 police raid of a Thunder Bay residence reportedly connected to “G.L” (Gary Lamont) which appears to have been fruitful after initial reports indicated that numerous items were seized including electronics, computers and other items of interest to police. Working with filmmaker Jamie Kastner, Hearn found his dubious Morrisseau took them deeper and deeper into an ugly story.
The painting was supposedly the work of renowned Ojibwe artist Norval Morrisseau, who died in 2007, but experts disagreed. Kastner doesn’t have to discredit those who defend the alleged forgeries – some do it themselves on camera. “It often has the feel of subjectivity hiding within a veneer of objectivity.”, Robertson also testified that the work, for her, lacked the spirituality and meaning seen in other Morrisseau paintings, which Morgan rejected. “I’m not sure where this decision leaves us,” he says, “given that the court has acknowledged the existence of a fraud ring producing Morrisseaus.”, Michael Panacci, the lawyer who represented White, is philosophical. Here are the real facts. May 25, 2018, Norval Morrisseau. Morrisseau artworks offered by Gary Lamont from 2011 via wayback machine. (Lamont is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for multiple counts of sexual assault.) It is far more likely that the grand medicine offered by Wolf was illicit. He was granted status in the case to essentially mount a defence, and produced a handwriting analyst as an expert witness. The trial judge accepted evidence in that case that the artist did sign his name on the backs of his works, and ruled the painting, called Wheel of Life, was authentic. As for the disputed signature style, Morgan cited a previous court case involving an alleged fake Morrisseau.
RELATED: Could art forgeries be even better than the real thing?
“While Spirit Energy of Mother Earth may indeed be a fraudulent Morrisseau, there is an equal chance it is a real Morrisseau,” he wrote.
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