1931 on Sandy Lake Reserve in northwestern Ontario, Norval Morrisseau
almost died of illness as a small boy.
His mother took him to a Medicine Woman who gave him the powerful
Ojibway name Copper Thunderbird to give him strength. Many elders
in the tribe were outraged that such a young man was given such
a powerful name. He beat the fever and grew up to become a World
Class painter. He now signs all his work using his native name
using Cree syllabics taught to him by his Cree wife.
Norval Morrisseau is an Ojibway Shaman who paints the images that
to him in dreams. He was
introduced to Toronto art gallery owner Jack Pollock while while
Pollock was traveling through Northern Ontario in 1962. Pollock
took him to Toronto
where Morrisseau's first one man show sold out on the first day.
His work now hangs in major galleries around the world. He is a
world class artist and is considered the founder of a unique style
of native art.
Morrisseau was dubbed the "Picasso Of The North" of
Native Art by
the French Press in 1969 and is considered one of the most innovative
artists of the
Century. Unlike Picasso, Norval Morrisseau developed a unique
style of art back in the bush with no connection to European
style and influence. He is considered The Founder of The Woodlands
School of Art which has also been called Legend Art or Medicine
Art as the images are agents for healing or reflect many of the
secret legends known only within the Ojibway and Cree Tribes.
With his apprentice and friend, fellow artist Carl Ray
(a Cree artist from Sandy Lake) they were the pioneers of this
fresh style of art. Both were commissioned by the Canadian government
to paint the large mural for The Natives of Canada Pavilion at
Expo 67 in Montreal.
Norval Morrisseau was awarded The prestigious
Order Of Canada Medal in 1978 by the Governor General of Canada
for his contribution
to Canadian Art. He was the only Canadian artist invited by
France to contribute and show his work at their Bicentennial
Celebration in 1989. While in Europe he toured the galleries to
of Master artists only to think their work was too dark and
somber . He returned to paint in even more vibrant colours and
He almost died in a hotel fire in 1972 in Vancouver but
recovered from the burns and healed enough to paint again.
He adopted Christianity
around that time and a number of his paintings in the '70's
reflected this belief in the Lord as the Savior. In time the
Native Shaman shared the same place and power. Morrisseau believes
in astral travel and has demonstrated a belief in Eckanar since.
Morrisseau is considered the Grandfather of the Woodlands Style
and the most popular of what has been dubbed "Canada's
Native Group of Seven." He is now a world class artist.
Norval Morrisseau is a self professed Ojibway Shaman who paints
the visions that come to him in dreams. While he is considered
the Founder and Cornerstone of the Woodlands School of Art, also
called Legend or Medicine Painting, other members of this "Native
Group Of Seven" have their work on Redkettle site such as
Carl Ray and Joshim Kakegamic. Their influence continues
to affect the art being done by young native artists today considered
to be "Woodlands- the next generation".
About Art Book and 5 Litho Set
Publishing released only 350 of this set in 1979 and they sold
out immediately. Morrisseau was then at the top of
his form and had been awarded the prestigious Order of Canada
Medal from the Governor General Ed Shreyer the year before. Redkettle's
boxed set is pristine condition and is #8/350 and comes with
provenance. The Sales Manager then of Muthuen Books has provided
Redkettle with a signed letter stating he purchased the set for
himself the day it was released in '79 and all has remained secure
in the box since. Wax paper is still sealed tightly around the
leather bound book inside the box. The art book and bio The Art
of Norval Morrisseau written by C.B.C. journalist Lister Sinclair
and Morrisseau founder and manager, Toronto gallery owner Jackson
Pollock. This set has never been opened except to take these
photos for the site. The five lithos are individually signed
and numbered by the artist. The five signed Morrisseau prints
are titled A- The Dawn, B-Shaman Conjuring Speech, C-Compostion
With Loons, D- Young Gulls Watching, E- Shaman and Apprentice.
Redkettle has originals by Norval's apprentice Carl Ray on the
site as well as art by Morrisseau's artist brother in law, the now late Joshim Kakegamic also from the Sandy Lake Reserve in northern Ontario.
< Back To Biographies