Coghlan Studio Newsletter
Fine native indian art
from the pacific northwest coast.
Coghlan Art Studio and Gallery was established in 1988.
In 1997 we went on-line with coghlanart.com.
During that time we have earned a trust with many collectors
around the world. Our wood carvings, masks, totem poles, and
paintings have been placed in private and public collections
through out north america and europe.
Brian passed away Dec 11
Our condolences to his family and friends
Brian Marion was born in Kamsack, Saskatchewan in 1960. He grew up among the
Saulteaux and Cree of the Prairies and the Ojibway people of
Links to web sites with Morrisseau authenticity information
See over 1000 of these questionable works along with
many authentic ones for comparison.
The Norval Morrisseau Gathering Place
See the study done at the Pennsylvania State
Characterizing Elegance of Curve
Also see Morrisseau authenticity on this web site
New edition to the Morrisseau
Disputed Certificates of Authenticity
See the new section of
The Morrisseau Cronicles
and check out this blog for un-biased
Announcing a new Morrisseau web site
featuring Giclee prints on canvas.
This web site will be adding more images over the coming weeks.
They are beautiful archival quality prints on canvas,
licensed by the artist with royalties paid directly to him.
See New Morrisseau Giclee Prints
On View at the Insitute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Is this the world's largest Moon Mask?
I don't know, but it is the largest we have ever had.
Half-Moon by Stan Wamiss
Paintings by Carl Ray are available.
An exclusive collection of original paintings on canvas and paper.
We are looking for authentic
to add to our inventory. If you have one, and are thinking
about selling it, contact us about our generous buying
and consignment programs
We are proud to announce the first bronze by Nuchanuilth artist Pat Amos
This beautiful piece is available now
Contact the gallery for more information
More Fakes .......Norval Morrisseau's work has been the subject of forgers over the years. These fakes have appeared on ebay and auctions in eastern Canada. I received the following memo from Norval on August 26, 2004. He asked me to post it on the web site.
To Whom It may Concern
THIS MEMO IS TO ADVISE DEALERS OF ART THAT THERE ARE CONCERNS THAT THERE MAY BE FRAUDLANT NORVAL MORRISSEAU WORKS BROUGHT TO VANCOUVER ISLAND AND THE LOWER MAINLAND AREAS AND SOLD AS ORIGINAL PIECES.
PLEASE USE CAUTION AND BE ADVISED THAT YOU MAY BE PURCHASING ILLEGAL ART WORKS. ALSO WE ARE FORWARDING TO YOU A REVOCATION OF THE POWER OF ATTORNEY OF BARNEY MORRISSEAU WHO MAY BE TRYING TO SOLICIT NORVAL MORRISSEAU WORKS.
REGARDS NORVAL MORRISSEAU
This is an email letter that I recieved and my answer.
I am responding to what was written about the fakes out there. Several
months ago I visited Vancouver and being an artist myself I became
fascinated by the beautiful work of the Haida. Since then I have been
researching and painting a variety of different work from many different
artists trying to become better because I am drawn to this art form. My
question is this though: What exactly does constitute a fake? Obviously for
me, being from the northeast US I will never be a native of British Columbia
but plan on becoming as good as I can at the art form and to understand it
as best I can. And I have every intention on sharing what I have found with
the people around here and exposing them to this brilliant art form. But
does this mean I cannot be a "true" painter of the art form? Or do you mean
there are people out there reproducing artists art works exactly. Perhaps I
am misunderstanding what was written. I'm just curious is all, because there
are only so many colors you can paint an orange. Just like there are only so
many chords that make a rock song a rock song. It's like with any other art
form from music to dance. Just because Elvis is the King of Rock, imagine
what would happen if nobody was able to love what he did? Then we wouldn't
have the Beatles and the Stones. I would have to agree most certainly that
If there were exact reproductions of my works floating around on ebay I'd be
pissed but in any art form there are always frauds. In an art form that can
be traced many thousands of years back, even Norval is not the creator of
the art form that probably puts the bread on his table. So at what point
shall we say he is a fraud? But I already know the answer. Of course he is
not. He is carrying on a tradition of what he loves. Maybe some of these
people on ebay are just portraying what they love also.
The question that you have asked is a big one. I could write a thesis, and
probably should, on this subject. There are many people, including some in the
business of selling native art, that do not understand the question of
authenticity as it relates to this art form. I will try to give you the short story.
There are many levels of authenticity in Northwest Coast art. Is an object to be
considered Northwest Coast native art simply because it looks like it. These
images go back thousands of years. In pre-contact times only certain native
people were allowed to carve and they could only produce the images that their
benefactor owned. The stories, dances and masks were past on through families or
changed hands because of war or debts. To this day there are families of what we
call hereditary carvers. These artists produce objects that are used
ceremonially in potlatches. Objects that have been used in ceremonies are
considered the most authentic.
Today there are many young carvers that are Northwest Coast natives but do not
have a direct connection to the old-timers. They have learned the art form from
teachers and by studying the old pieces. Most have apprenticed under established
carvers for a number of years. Many have learned the cultural side of the art
form and take part in ceremonial activities. The pieces that they create are
considered authentic Northwest Coast Native Art, but are not considered
artifacts. Their approach can be starkly traditional or contemporary. The
availability of different materials, like glass and bronze, have widened the
palate of the modern Northwest Coast artist but the roots are still the same.
An artist does not have to be a native person from the west coast to love the
art form and want to incorporate the forms in their own art work. Their are many
non-native artists that do beautiful work. Some have learned the same way as
their native counterparts. Many native artists are generous with there teaching
and they have taught anyone that showed the appropriate interest. But this work
is still art for art's sake and should not be considered authentic native art.
But this is still legitimate art and deserves our attention.
Then there are those that would try to trick us into believing that the objects
that they are selling are real. Search e-bay for "northwest coast" and you will
find lots of these items. In the descriptions they use words like northwest
coast style and even say that the item is museum quality. Most of these pieces
are direct copies of old pieces pictured in books on the subject. Sleazy
entrepreneurs take these books to artists in places like Indonesia and have them
make replicas. They have taken pictures of our work on this web site.
The quality of these repros varies. Some have been doing it long enough that
the quality is getting better. Some are done by competent artists but anyone
that knows this art form can tell that they are not right. They pay these
artists next to nothing. I have seen these pieces in quality galleries in the
United States and auctions all over the continent.
Norval Morrisseau in an entirely different matter. Norval is the sole creator of
his style. Unlike most artists, Morrisseau developed his style entirely without
influence. He lived in northern Ontario in a very remote area. The stories he
portrays are old, but were never used artistically before him. He began painting
these stories even though he received flack from his fellow Ojibwa people. Today
there are hundreds of young artists that paint in his style. It has been called
the "Woodland" style. The problem for Morrisseau is forgery. People have been
painting his style and putting his name on it. There is no grey area here. If
someone does a painting and signs it with someone elses name it is a crime.
The bottom line is you can do this art form for yourself. But if you call it
anything besides what it is you do yourself injustice as well as the people that
took thousands of years to develop it. I am a Caucasian artist that loves this
art form. I have worked under some of the best native artists from the northwest
coast. I have even worked on ceremonial pieces and helped on poles .But I would never consider my own work authentic northwest coast native art.
Keep up your work, just be honest with those around you, do the best you can and
people will take notice. If I can be of help, let me know. Send me some pics of
what you are doing.
Bryant Ross - Coghlan Art
paintings and prints by Norval Morrisseau
WARNING I have come across many pieces in the market place that are of questionable authenticity. All you have to do is look at ebay.com and search northwest coast and you will see what I mean. There are many pieces that are portrayed as northwest coast work that are blatant fakes. The sellers call them northwest coast style or northwest coast revival or make vague claims to authenticity but the fact remains that these pieces are not real in their origins. Many of these carvings are made in southeast asia from pictures out of the many books available. Some are quite well done by obviously competent carvers who probably don't know about the deception involved. Recently, at a show in Los Angeles, a women approached me with a picture of a 6 ft totem pole that she had purchased from what she thought was a reputable source. She was very proud of the piece and wanted an appraisal. To her great disappointment I had to tell her that it was not from the northwest coast as she was lead to believe. The real danger is in the future when these pieces have passed through a number of hands. At some point the story tends to grow and these pieces will become harder to pick out. How many fake Van Goghs hang in museums around the world? The people that are having these carvings made may rationalize what they are doing, but to me they do not have the respect that this art form deserves. Aboriginal people have been ripped off for the last 200 years and still they are willing to share their culture and knowledge. To take their images and have them carved in some third world country by disadvantaged people that will do the work cheaply is explotive and perpetuates the stigma of abuse that native people have been fighting for so long.
Visit our video
section and see clips from dance perform-
ances from our past shows. We have low res clips that
are suitable for 56K modems and high res for
you people that have cable or other fast connections
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Contact Bryant Ross at Coghlan Art
6835 256th St.
Canada V4W 1T9
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