(1932 – 2007)

Norval Morrisseau was born on the Sandy Lake Reserve in northern Ontario, and raised by his grandfather who was an Ojibway Shaman. As a young man Morrisseau was given the name "Copper Thunderbird" and it is with this name, in Cree syllabics, that he signs all of his paintings. Although Norval Morrisseau started painting at an early age, he was not discovered until 1962 when his work came to the attention of Toronto art dealer Jack Pollock. His first solo show at the Pollock Gallery in 1962 sold out in the first day.

Norval has been called the most important artist, native or otherwise, that Canada has produced. He was appointed a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1970 and is an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Arts. Norval Morrisseau was awarded the Order of Canada in 1978 and received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from McMaster University in 1980. Norval has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout North America and Europe. In 1989 he was the only Canadian painter invited to the "Magicians of The Earth" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, France.

Norval’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, The Canadian Museum of Civilization, the McMichael Canadian Collection, The Art Gallery of Ontario, the Musee du Quebec, the Government of Ontario Art Collection, The Royal Ontario Museum, The Confederation Centre, The Montreal Museum of Fine Art, The Glenbow Museum, and numerous other public and private collections. In 2006 the National Gallery of Canada exhibited a groundbreaking retrospective of his work, and that exhibition then traveled to the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. Norval passed away on December 4, 2007.

 

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Norval Morrisseau First Nations Native Artist Norval Morrisseau