Ringleader confesses and slithers away
So, Gary Lamont pleads guilty to forging Morrisseau art. He was the dark wizard behind a scheme that produced thousands of inferior counterfeit paintings alleged to have been painted by Canada’s most significant artist. Breakaway forgery rings that knew Lamont’s secret were formed to compete with his operation, producing thousands more. Many questions remain unanswered. What about the other crimes he was charged with?
What about the complicit family of the late Norval Morrisseau? What about Norval’s sons, David, Christian (now deceased), and Eugene, who appear to have forged upwards of 1000 fakes themselves, while authenticating Lamont’s abominations for quick cash? Shouldn’t there be an inquiry into all this?
What about Norval Morrisseau’s daughters and their nefarious business enterprises with Joe McLeod and Jim White, and their joint statements in support of the perpetrators and forged paintings? What about the thousands of fake prints produced and distributed Canada-wide, authenticated by their fraudulent Morrisseau Family Foundation (MFF) business? What about the MFF’s wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing transformation into the “legit” Morrisseau Estate by slight-of-hand, the thread of birthright and the smell of money? By design, the Canadian public remain confused.
And what of Norval Morrisseau’s brother, Wolf? Is it only Wolf’s apprentice, (Norval’s nephew) Benji Morrisseau, that will be exposed as a painter of forgeries? This goes beyond art. A fragile culture has been undermined. Where are the confessions of these people?
What about the many galleries that, wink-wink, knew what was happening yet still took the easy money? Dozens of Canadian gallery venues were selling fakes, yet not one has to answer for doing so? This Morrisseau art fraud has undermined a generation of Canada’s Woodland artists. Morrisseau himself couldn’t compete with the Tsunami of fake Morrisseau art that flooded the marketplace. We’ve all been victimized here.
There is a silver lining. There is a victory to celebrate. Lamont’s forever confession marks the beginning of the public’s process of separating the wheat from the chaff, of separating authentic art from forged art and authentic people from fake people.
- Globe & Mail | Alleged leader in Norval Morrisseau art fraud investigation pleads guilty
- TB Newswatch | Gary Lamont pleads guilty to two charges as part of Norval Morrisseau art fraud ring
- CBC News | Thunder Bay man pleads guilty to 2 charges in Norval Morrisseau art fraud investigation
- NetNews Ledger | Guilty Plea From Gary Lamont in Norval Morrisseau Art Fraud Case
- CKDR FM Dryden | Guilty plea entered in Morrisseau art forgery case
- True Murder | Hell’s Angel Pat Hagar on Gary Lamont (podcast)
- CBC Up North | Jonathan Sommer interviewed on Lamont’s Plea (podcast)
- MSN.com CBC | Thunder Bay man pleads guilty to 2 charges in Norval Morrisseau art fraud investigation
- TB Newswatch | Dec 8 2023 | Gary Lamont pleads guilty to more sexual assault charges
Ritchie Sinclair testifies about who the forgers are in 2012
Hatfield v Artworld | (Brian Shiller for Artworld questions Sinclair)
Q. You are the protégé of Norval Morrisseau. So tell me, Wolf Morrisseau now is all of a sudden the great forger of Norval Morrisseau’s work?
A. Not all of a sudden. I’ve known that Wolf Morrisseau was an issue since 1979.
Q. Funny, when did you testify in this case? When was the last day you testified? It was in February, wasn’t it?
A. February 23rd.
Q. You didn’t mention it then?
A. Yeah, I did.
Q. You mentioned that Wolf Morrisseau was faking his art?
A. I don’t know if I mentioned that.
Q. I don’t…
A. He was faking….
Q. …think you did.
A. Well, maybe I didn’t have the opportunity at that time, but now I have the opportunity to be clear with you about it….
Q. Who are the other five?
A. Well, David Morrisseau’s definitely one.
A. Christian Morrisseau’s definitely one. Eugene Morrisseau’s definitely one. His nephew, Benji Morrisseau is another. There’s [sic] a few others.
Q. So the whole…
A. Gary Lamont is definitely…
Q. …Morrisseau family?
A. …a part of it.
THE COURT: Sorry, I didn’t hear the response. Just repeat, after Benji Morrisseau, who did you say?
A. Gary Lamont, who’s kind of like the – you could call him the host of the show. These – all these boys were paid in drugs, primarily, for doing the work. So they would receive a few hundred dollars in drugs, and, and Mr. Lamont would receive the work, and eventually the work would be passed on to auction houses in southern Ontario.
MR. SHILLER: Q. You’ve uncovered the whole thing?
A. It’s taken four and a half years, and working with the RCMP for two of them.
Q. We have all the answers now from you today, finally. After five days of trial we know…
A. Well, Mr. Shiller…
Q. …what the conspiracy is.