Expert Reports

An Examination into the authenticity of an alleged 1970s Norval Morrisseau Painting. - 10 September 2009

This Expert Report, written by principal Morrisseau art dealer Don Robinson, was a crucial exhibit in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Otavnik v Sinclair action. In his Jan 11 2011 Judgment Justice D. Godfrey made the following statement, "I am not prepared to accept the evidence of Mr. McLeod for the plaintiff over that of Mr. Robinson for the defendant as to the authenticity of the painting." The Otavnik claim against Sinclair was dismissed.

"Taken together, all of the above evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that Jesuit Priest Bringing Word was not painted by Norval Morrisseau's hand. I have reached this conclusion with a one hundred percent level of confidence."

from the 2009 Expert Report of
Donald C. Robinson BaSc., M.B.A., P.Eng.
Kinsman Robinson Galleries
10 September 2009
 
Characterizing Elegance of Curves Computationally for Distinguishing Morrisseau Paintings and the Imitations. August 15 2009

A University of Pennsylvania team recently published the findings of an academic study examining
Morrisseau paintings and those purported to be painted by him in the controversial 70s-style. Computerized analysis, focusing on the characterization of curve elegance, specifically curve steadiness and coherence of brushstrokes, revealed that the curves in Morrisseau's authentic paintings clearly exhibit his commanding painting skills. The authors further note the smooth and steady flow of the curves show less hesitancy of the artist than the authors of counterfeit works, and the tangent angles tend to be more consistent along curves in the authentic paintings than in the imitations.

"Through computerized analysis of his (Morrisseau's) authentic works and the imitations,
it is revealed that the curves in his authentic paintings exhibit his
commanding painting skills. The smooth and steady flow of the curves show less hesitancy of the artist [Morrisseau] than the authors of counterfeit works."

Professor James Z. Wang
College of Information Sciences and Technology,
The Pennsylvania State University
August 15, 2009.
Reverse-side painted signature analysis on "questionable" paintings.
There appear to be no known examples of Morrisseau paintings in public institutions or in publications, auction records and media of Morrisseau imagery from the 1960s,70s, 80s or 90s that display or even mention a painted English signature on the naked canvas reverse, yet this phenomenon characterizes virtually all of the paintings allegedly sourced to an unseen and unknown man named David Voss of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Thousands of the allegedly "Voss-sourced" paintings were sold from 1997-2008 through third-tier auction venues where opportunists bought paintings at approximately 1/10 the market value of a genuine Morrisseau to resell at market value, or just below.
In 2001, 23 paintings owned by a Mr. Jim White were submitted to Norval Morrisseau for authentication. Morrisseau publicly disavowed all 23. In 2003-4 Norval Morrisseau sent numerous sworn affidavits to a Mr. Joe McLeod and the Maslak McLeod Gallery identifying paintings that they were selling as fakes and imitations.A handful of what appear to be cherry-picked pen and pencil signatures from letters and prints provided by Mr. McLeod became the baseline standard for multiple painted-signature analysis reports. In each case assessors pointed out that comparative "known to be genuine" samples of black dry-brush painted signatures on canvas were necessary to be conclusive. Nevertheless Mr. White, Mr. McLeod, and other owners of "questioned" work, continued to pay examiners to provide inconclusive reports without comparative samples.
In 2011 Jim White provided a signature examiner with two paintings that he purported to be "known Morrisseaus" that displayed reverse-side black paint signatures. He did so on the basis of an affidavit sworn by an unknown, unseen man; a "Mr. Deiter [sic] Voss" of Thunder Bay, Ontario; the alleged father of David Voss. In comparing  a dozen or so David Voss-sourced paintings with the two Deiter Voss-sourced paintings a signature examiner for the first time was 100% conclusive, "They were done by the same hand!" The question however remains, " Whose hand was it?"
  • (Jan 24 2002) Brian Lindblom Report for Joe McLeod (Maslak McLeod Gallery)
  • (March 13 2007) Brian Lindblom Report for Joe Otavnik (art retailer)
  • (Nov 5 2008) Brian Lindblom Report for Michael Moniz (art retailer)
  • (Aug 24 2010) Dr. Singla Report for Jim White (art distributor)
  • (May 27 2011) Dr. Singla Report for Jim White (art distributor)
  • (Dec 22 2011) Dr. Singla Report for Jim White (art distributor)
  • (Dec 21 2011) Dr. Singla Report for Ugo Matulic (art retailer)
  • (Dec 19 2011) Kenneth Davies Report for Ugo Matulic (art retailer)
  • (April 18 2012) Kenneth Davies Report for Ugo Matulic (art retailer)