acrylic on stretched canvas, diptych, 96″ x 48″, 1990
It was Norval Morrisseau’s vision that certain paintings, including “Three Generations”, would find permanent placement in a museum dedicated to his art, sculpture and artifacts; however, a few of the Morrisseau Estate’s collection of paintings were made available to the public. ‘Three Generations’ was purchased directly from the Estate in 2009 by a private owner.
This painting was among the first Morrisseau painted upon his return from the landmark 1989 show Magiciens de la Terre, at the Pompidou Centre in France. After a visit to the Louvre “he turned his back on the dour European palette (as he saw it) and embraced vivid, strikingly synthetic colour.”(1) Most notable, was a shift to cadmium orange hues from the Burnt Sienna palette he formerly utilized to paint human figures. Leaving behind the tempering effect of brown tones, Morrisseau began to focus more on the vibratory impact of dynamic pure colour to charge viewers in healing light.
Three Generations symbolizes love of family and its inevitable fruition. Unlike many of Morrisseau’s earlier works depicting duality here is a painting of unity, flourishing with life. Gone are the conflicts of days past. This painting is a ‘Polaroid’ of Morrisseau’s life in 1990. He was living on Semiahmoo reserve near White Rock, B.C., close to his adopted son and daughter, Gabe & Michele Vadas, with the first of their four children. As a grandparent, Norval nurtured the Vadas family as his own, a relationship that continued until his passing in 2007.