Artwork by Norval Morrisseau,  Walking on the Summit

Norval Morrisseau
Walking on the Summit

acrylic on canvas
signed in syllabics along the lower right edge; description of the composition inscribed on the reverse; sold together with James R. Stevens, “A Picasso in the North Country: The Wild Journey of Canadian Artist, Norval Morrisseau” (Thunder Bay, 2011)
48 x 72 ins ( 121.9 x 182.9 cms )

Auction Estimate: $90,000.00$70,000.00 - $90,000.00

Price Realized $90,000.00
Sale date: December 6th 2023

Acquired directly from the artist by EA Studios, Calgary
“Norval Morrisseau”, ManuLife Place, Edmonton, Alberta, December 1985
“Norval Morrisseau,” Edmonton, 1985, unpaginated, reproduced as “Walking on the Summit of the High Mountains of the Astral World,” 1985
James R. Stevens, “A Picasso in the North Country: The Wild Journey of Canadian Artist, Norval Morrisseau,” Thunder Bay, 2011, reproduced page 217
Walking on the Summit was created by Norval Morrisseau during his stay at the Maligne Canyon Teahouse in Jasper, Alberta, during the off-season winter months of the early-to-mid 1980s. This painting was completed in 1985, when Morrisseau was sponsored by EA Studios Jasper Ltd., which facilitated his artistic endeavors in the region. The work is deeply inspired by the artist’s surroundings in the Canadian Rockies, capturing the essence of the majestic mountains. “Walking on the Summit” reflects his connection to nature and his ability to convey its spiritual and cultural significance through his art. Norval Morrisseau's time spent in Jasper allowed him to immerse himself in the natural beauty of the area. The presence of mountains in the canvas serves as a visual testament to Norval Morrisseau’s profound appreciation for the environment that surrounded him during his stay at the Maligne Canyon Teahouse.

The inscription on the reverse, describing the composition, reads: “Walking on the Summit of the High Mountains of the Asteral World’s Sagittarius. Part horse, part man, the Sacred Divine Archer shoots his two arrows which represents fish into the sea of creativity. These two signs working together to beautify (sic) the world.”

In recognition of Norval Morrisseau's rich heritage and their longstanding partnership with him during his sponsorship with EA Studios Calgary, the firm will donate a portion of the proceeds of sale of this canvas directly to the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation as a gesture of support and commitment to honoring the painter’s legacy.

The purchaser of this artwork will also receive a copy of “A Picasso in the North Country: The Wild Journey of Canadian Artist, Norval Morrisseau” by James R. Stevens (within which “Walking on the Summit” is reproduced) and a catalogue from the December 1985 one-man exhibition at Edmonton’s ManuLife Place (”Walking on the Summit” was included in the exhibition which Morrisseau attended personally).

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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.