Inuit Art Auction including First Nations Art

November 16, 2015

LOT 72

Lot 72

NORVAL H. MORRISSEAU, R.C.A. (1931-2007)

NORVAL H. MORRISSEAU, R.C.A. (1931-2007)
Lot 72 Details
NORVAL H. MORRISSEAU, R.C.A. (1931-2007), Cree


acrylic on MDF
each signed in syllabics, each signed in Roman and dated 81 verso
Each panel 22" x 28" — 55.9 x 71.1 cm.

Estimate $4,000-$6,000

Realised: $4,800
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
NORVAL H. MORRISSEAU, R.C.A. (1931-2007)
  • NORVAL H. MORRISSEAU, R.C.A. (1931-2007)
  • NORVAL H. MORRISSEAU, R.C.A. (1931-2007)
  • NORVAL H. MORRISSEAU, R.C.A. (1931-2007)
  • NORVAL H. MORRISSEAU, R.C.A. (1931-2007)

Acquired directly from the artist,
Northern Intruders, Winnipeg, MB, 1998,
Private collection, 2007,
Private collection, Canada


In a private correspondence, Alan Swanson of the Northern Intruders Gallery, proposed that this diptych depicts the artist, the figure in blue, receiving his Ojibwa name, ‘Ozaawaabiko-binesi’ or ‘Copper Thunderbird.’

In the book cited above, Morrisseau recounts the story of the naming ceremony. After a grave illness, the artist was taken to visit a medicine woman. “She had already administered all the power she could, so there was only one thing left to do. This is the highest sort of power that can be given to anyone that is sick: and that is to give him a new name, a powerful name. [...]

So at that special moment, she gave me a new name, the name of Copper Thunderbird. That was a very, very powerful new name; and it cured me. From then on I changed, because that was a name whose power you could actually feel. Copper is a very sacred metal, and here you can imagine a Thunderbird, a huge massive bird all made of copper, and he was actually flying!

My name was changed to Copper Thunderbird. I sign my paintings Copper Thunderbird.”


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 72

About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.