Studio Brunet


The history of Brunet Monuments as told by Charles Brunet, President, 3rd generation.

Joseph Olivier Brunet was a young man of 16 years when he found himself the only bread winner of four siblings, his father­ and his mother having passed away within two years of each other. Having learned the craft of masonry from his father and other family members of Monuments Brunet – Côtes des Neiges in Montreal, Joseph was thereby able to support the family. He insisted his brother and three sisters finish their education, though, having taken upon himself all financial responsibilities.

After several years, with work becoming scarce in Québec, Joseph came west to Manitoba in order to find employment. He found himself in Saint-Boniface at the turn of the century, where the stone mason landed contracts to build churches throughout the province. He also built the beautiful and stately Collège Universitaire de Saint-Boniface where his name is engraved in the cornerstone. Between building projects Joseph carved and sold memorials to stabilize and supplement his income.

He eventually wrote to his brother Godias, by then a young educator, suggesting that he join him in this Promised Land. And that he did. Both Godias and Joseph found their future wives in the west and settled here to raise their families

Joseph’s brother Godias had nine children. Among them was Pierre, who as a young child was fascinated with “Uncle Joe’s” monument shop. Pierre began working after school and on Saturdays. Thus began his apprenticeship as a hand letterer and carver. Many years went by at J. O. Brunet Monuments. In 1950, Uncle Joseph passed away from a heart attack. Pierre asked his widowed aunt if he could purchase the business – now over 45 years old – from her. In 1951 after a trial year, Pierre purchased what became simply ‘Brunet Monuments’.

Pierre had six children, one of them being Charles. He in turn was fascinated and awestruck by the beautiful stonework at his father’s shop. At the age of 13, he began working at his father’s shop after school, on Saturdays and during the summer holidays. By the time he was 16, Charles was employed full time in the capacity of setter/carver. Pierre, an accomplished artist, instilled a sense of pride in his son: “If you do work that you are proud of, all else will fall into place.” In 1990, after another 40 years of successful operations by Pierre, Charles purchased the shop from his dad. Over the last 15 years Charles has continued his father’s philosophy of only producing memorials that he would be proud enough to carve for his own mother.

Charles in turn had four children. One of them would relish those days when his dad would pull him out of school to help on those big jobs. Since 2007, Benoît has become an excellent carver like his forefathers. Honesty and excellent workmanship are among the important values that Benoît has learned from his early years at the shop. Thus, the 4th generation of Brunet Monuments continues to perpetuate the memories of our loved ones.


Réal Bérard

A native of Manitoba, Réal Bérard studied in Saint Boniface and Winnipeg before specializing in fine arts at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montréal and at thye University of Manitoba. After graduating, he apprenticed in Mexico with renowned muralist José Gutiérrez and then accepted a position as illustrator in the Parks Department of the Ministry of Tourism, Recreation ans Cultural Affairs of Manitoba. Réal Béarard’s illustrations have appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, books and other publications, and has created many posters and logos.

Monique Brunet

Originally from Manitoba and now established in Quebec City, Monique Brunet comes from several generations of stone importers, monument makers, and sculptors, the most famous being Émile Brunet (1899-1977). Her fondness for sculpture was discovered at her father’s side in the family monument workshop in St. Boniface, MB. She went on to study the arts in Manitoba, Quebec, as well as in Italy. Her works are found in private and public collections across Canada.

Suzanne Brunet

Born in Winnipeg, the youngest of six in a family of musicians, sculptors and stone cutters, Suzanne Brunet draws inspiration from the lush greenery, majestic mountains, and vast ocean that surround her home in British Columbia. Having built a successful career in teaching, and raised two wonderful sons, she has finally found the time to share her sculptures and sketches through various forums and has also begun to record her music with the band “Waterfield”.

Émile Chartier

Emile was born in st Boniface in the spring of 1955. It all started in the summer of 1964.
At the age of nine in what we now call the Nopiming Park, my father had told me “ Don’t go on the island there is a Native there and he will eat you” well as soon as I had the opportunity in the canoe I went, soon I was sitting near the man but not too close, (lol) He handed me a small black stone and I took out my pocket knife and started doing what he was doing, carving soapstone , after an hour or so, he held his hand out, and I placed in his hand the rock I was working on, He looked at the rock and chucked it in the lake , he then gave me another rock this one was softer, an hour or so later he held out he’s hand again , this time I shook my head meaning NO, I sat with this man all afternoon and for some days, not a word was ever said. TO LEARN TO CARVE IS A FEELING. My first piece sold at the age of 21 that was 36 summers ago. That was the beginning to what has been a lifetime of carving stone and I have never looked back.

Sophie Lavoie

Sophie Lavoie, an emerging artist currently living in Manitoba, was born in Nova Scotia. Growing up Sophie was intimately connected to the Atlantic coast and has used this inspiration as a catalyst in her series of underwater paintings. Sophie earned a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia. According to the artist, “The discovery and exploration of the underwater world have awoken intense emotions in me since early childhood.” She compares this ecosystem to a fetus, weightless in its mother’s womb and feels the immersion in this world serves as an open door to memories anchored at the core of her being. In paintings Sophie expresses the play of light and the swaying movement of algae as it dances near the surface. “More than just the simple composition of the underwater universe, I try to communicate all the subtle layers of this ecosystem and its quiet strength.”

David MacNair

Since his early introduction to finger painting, David has been active as an artist, sculptor and graphic designer. During great canoe trips into the Canadian Shield over the past several years, he has come to appreciate plein air painting. Venturing out into the rugged terrain of the Shield with family or with his friends, members of G4, they take in extra packs with oils, brushes, sketch pads and canvas to capture the beauty of the landscape. Photographing nature is an enjoyment as well; however it is the ability to isolate the elements of nature that truly allow the artist to interpret himself within the scene.

David Perrett

David Perrett is a Winnipeg based sculptor who works primarily in stone. His process uses the textures and qualities inherent in stone to make seemingly light and delicate sculptures. David has a BFA from the University of Manitoba and has studied stone carving in Pietrasanta, Italy. His works can be found in corporate, municipal and private collections internationally.

Denis Savoie

Denis Savoie, originally from Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, explored his talent as an artist since his youth. After having completed a two year Advertising Arts course at Red River Community College, Denis has worked as a professional artist since 1983. He specializes in illustration, design and sculpture with divers mediums such as graphite, ink, watercolour and acrylic. While exploring sculpture in wood, stone, snow and sand, Denis has established a good reputation and was invited to participate in numerous international symposiums and competitions. He is the creator of many interior and exterior murals in Winnipeg. The majority of Denis’ work is produced for commercial publication, but more and more are being acquired in private collections throughout North America.

Deon Tanasiciuk

Deon Tanasiciuk is a Manitoban born artist who now resides in Landmark. He first starting drawing at the age of 3 and has always had a passion for art and photography. Deon has dabbled in airbrushing for the last few years and has used some of that technique into the world of granite. He is currently working in the heart of St. Boniface at Brunet monuments.

Gary Tessier

Bachelor Fine Arts, 1980 University of Manitoba Coordinator of the Visual Arts Programs Centre culturel franco-manitobain (1982 – 1986) Program Director – Festival du Voyageur (1988 – 1992) Initiated the International Snow Sculpture Symposium Drawing and Printmaking have remained areas of interest from the very first markings on paper. Prints would appear to easily be transformed into images upon granite.
He is currently working on a variety of personal projects in sculpture and drawing.

Hubert Théroux

Serene rural landscapes, energetic threshing crews, historical homesteads and glimpses of northern wilderness are common themes in Theroux’s oil paintings. An award winning, life long, and full time artist who creates art for numerous corporations, he generously promotes local artists, while producing his own distinctive canvasses. He has explored many art forms, and enjoys the creative challenges presented by a variety of media. His images have been published nationally, and his paintings hang in many private and corporate collections throughout the world.

Madeleine Vrignon

Bachelor of Fine Arts, 1979. University of Manitoba.
Upon completion of a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Madeleine began work in the signage industry.
In 1986, she joined the team at Brunet Monuments as a lay-out artist and designer.
While employed there, she tried her hand at bas-reliefs and soon transitioned into the field of bronze casting.
Despite being self-employed Madeleine continues to collaborate on major works with Brunet Monuments.
Working mainly on bronze commissions since 1994, she has 6 portrait busts in the Winnipeg Realtors Citizen’s hall of Fame situated in Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park. Her contribution in this exhibition allowed her to reconnect to a simpler place of line and form.