Alphonse Grenier

Born: 1908  |  Died: 1986

Alphonse Grenier. Sculptor. Woodcarver. Saint-Jean-de-la-Lande, Beauce, Quebec. Active mid-20th century.

Alphonse Grenier made many things for his yard. He carved in the round and cut out figures of animals, birds and people and mounted them in a variety of ways. Some as whirligigs, some on wagon wheels and other spare parts that he found. He made full use of ‘as found’ elements in his work. Motorizing’ or mechanizing many of his assemblies and using old tools, iron bed parts, old jewelry and much more as decorative elements. All of his creations were painted in bright ‘as found’ oil colours. In his own worlds the world and it’s changes puzzled him and he expressed it in his art. His carvings, particularly in his yard were elegant and very joyful.

He also made many mechanical music boxes that he decorated with carvings of people in historical and domestic scenes. People at work, at play and occasionally on the run from the devil. He was very good at making them skip and dance using motors and gears from old record players. These ‘music box’ scenes are highly expressive. They form a strong commentary on Grenier’s world, both inner and outer. A retrospective on him and his world – in colour – would be fascinating and great fun.

He was first written about in Les Patenteux du Quebec where they devoted twelve pages to him and his work.


Ref: Les Patenteux du Qubec. Louise de Grosbois, Raymonde Lamothe and Lise Nantel, Les Editions Parti Pris, Montreal, 1978.

Ref: An article by Adrien Levasseur in French about Alphonse Grenier (Link):

Ref: Canadian Museum of Civilization. Two works by Alphonse Grenier. (Copy and paste his name.):


An image of Alphonse Grenier in his yard with a sculpture of Adam and Eve:

Alphonse Grenier. CMC Photo.

Alphonse Grenier. CMC Photo.

Photo from the Canadian Museum of Civilization.