Artwork by Norval Morrisseau,  Thunderbird at Rest

Norval Morrisseau
Thunderbird at Rest

acrylic on kraft card, laid on masonite
signed in syllabics lower right
32 x 23.25 ins ( 81.3 x 59.1 cms )

Sold for $6,000.00
Sale date: September 28th 2021

Provenance:
Acquired directly from the artist (circa 1964)
The Sportsman Lodge on Little Vermilion Lake, Ontario
By descent to the present Private Collection, British Columbia
Geary’s Sports Centre was located at the south end of Howey Bay in Red Lake, an aviation hub and retail spot in the area. Owned by the Geary family, they regularly encountered Norval Morrisseau, the artist frequently stopping by the store on his way to and from his home in Sandy Lake Reserve, First Nation. During one visit, circa 1964, Morrisseau arrived with three works of art, which the family purchased. The paintings were flown to another of the Geary family’s businesses, the Sportsman’s Lodge on Little Vermilion Lake (north of Red Lake), where they were hung. Built by the family and opened in 1959, the lodge would be home to “Thunderbird at Rest” and “Thunderbird Young” (Lot 89) for more than thirty-five years, passing then into the family’s private collection. The consignor fondly recalls lying on the dining room floor of Sportsman’s Lodge as a child, looking up in awe of the wonderous works depicting the Thunderbird.

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Norval Morrisseau
(1931 - 2007) RCA, Order of Canada

Born in 1931 at Sandy Point Reserve, Ontario, Morrisseau was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts since 1970. Norval Morrisseau was the celebrated founder of the Woodland School, which revitalized Anishnabe iconography, traditionally incised on rocks and Midewiwin birchbark scrolls. A self-taught painter, printmaker, and illustrator, Morrisseau created an innovative vocabulary which was initially criticized in the Native community for its disclosure of traditional spiritual knowledge. His colourful, figurative images delineated with heavy black form lines and x-ray articulations, were characteristically signed with the syllabic spelling of Copper Thunderbird, the name Morrisseau’s grandfather gave him. Morrisseau completed many commissions during his career including the mural for the Indians of Canada Pavilion at Expo 67. He was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1978 and, in 1980, received honourary doctorates from both McGill and McMaster universities. In 1995 Morrisseau was honoured by the Assembly of First Nations.