The Canada Auction Series: First Nations Art

Auction begins to close:
December 02, 2022 at 4:00 pm ET

Online Auction
LOT 207

Lot 207

Norval Morrisseau, CM, RCA (1932-2007), Anishinaabe (Ojibwe)

Norval Morrisseau, CM, RCA (1932-2007), Anishinaabe (Ojibwe)
Lot 207 Details
Norval Morrisseau, CM, RCA (1932-2007), Anishinaabe (Ojibwe)


acrylic on canvas
signed in syllabics and initialed; titled verso
36 x 60 in — 91.4 x 152.4 cm

Estimate $10,000-$15,000

Realised: $18,000
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
Norval Morrisseau, CM, RCA (1932-2007), Anishinaabe (Ojibwe)
  • Norval Morrisseau, CM, RCA (1932-2007), Anishinaabe (Ojibwe)
  • Norval Morrisseau, CM, RCA (1932-2007), Anishinaabe (Ojibwe)
  • Norval Morrisseau, CM, RCA (1932-2007), Anishinaabe (Ojibwe)

Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto, ON;
Private Collection, Toronto, ON, acquired in 1999


Of the bear, Morrisseau explained: “The Midiwewin Society of the Ojibwa held this animal to be sacred. Legend states that the bear was at one time in the early history of the Ojibwa a human, or had human form. If Indians meet a bear, in fear they address it as "Our grandfather to all of us" and start to talk to it. It is a great sight to see a bear's ears and head moving as you speak to it.” [1]

Morrisseau reported that in his youth, he went into the forest on a vision quest in search of his life’s calling. While lying alone with his eyes closed, he became aware of the presence of a black bear. The bear approached, coming close enough to sniff the young man’s face before turning and walking away. The experience, informed by the role of the bear in the Anishinaabe cosmology, was of great personal significance. The figure of the bear was a recurring — and reverent — subject for the artist, whether depicted literally, as part of a ceremonial headdress, or in a state of transformation. [2]

(1) Norval Morrisseau and Donald Robinson, Norval Morrisseau: Travels to the House of Invention (Toronto, ON: Key Porter Books, 1997), 60.
(2) Donald C. Robinson, quoted in Morrisseau, 83.

Accompanied by a copy of the purchase invoice from 1999 (client name and address redacted)

To read more about the artist, click here.


Overall good condition. Isolated passages of inpainting in top left at turnover, and bottom right near turnover. Fine accretions throughout, likely studio generated.

Please contact the specialist for further condition information.

LOT 207

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.