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Norval Morrisseau greets the art world in 1962

The Story


Shy and self-taught, Norval Morrisseau is an artist who's getting noticed with a highly successful first showing of his paintings at the Pollock Gallery in Toronto. Morrisseau, who comes from the remote Lake Nipigon area of northern Ontario, paints animals, nature and legends with a never-before-seen approach that will come to be known as "Woodlands style." In this 1962 conversation with Close-Up reporter June Callwood, Morrisseau explains how he came to have his powerful Ojibwa name "Copper Thunderbird," how he plans to spend some of the earnings for his sold-out show, and how he manages the confusion generated by his Catholic and native spiritual beliefs.

Broadcast Medium: Television
Program: Close-Up
Broadcast Date: Sept. 23, 1962
Host: J. Frank Willis
Interviewer: June Callwood
Guest: Norval Morrisseau
Duration: 12:42

Did You know?


• Norval Morrisseau was born Mar. 14, 1932 on the Sand Point Reserve, near Beardmore in northern Ontario, and died Dec. 4, 2007 in Toronto.  

• The Toronto Star reported on Sept. 23, 1962 that Morrisseau had been painting for only three years, and that he said "but in my mind I have been painting for 20 years." Pollock had met Morrisseau when he (Pollock) was teaching art in northern Ontario.  

• The September 1962 show at the Pollock Gallery was the first showing of Morrisseau's art. He is thought to be  the originator of the x-ray style, and later the Woodland school (Anishinaabe painting).  He was a founding member of a group called PNIAI (Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.), which was formed in 1972 with fellow artists Jackson Beardy, Daphne Odjig, Carl Ray, Alex Janvier, Eddy Cobiness, and Joe Sanchez.


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