Stanley Brunst

About the Artist

Stanley Brunst was born in Birmingham, England, in 1894, and immigrated with his family to Canada sometime between 1909 and 1914. (Note:  his biographical record in the National Gallery of Canada states that the year was 1912.)

It is likely that Brunst’s father died before the family moved to Canada, as none of the three family  homesteadThe home place; a home and the inclosure or ground immediately connected with it. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary) In western Canada, the land given to settlers who agreed to cultivate the land in return for title to the land.  records, in the Borden area of Saskatchewan, include his father’s name. His formal education ended at Grade 7 in an English orphanage school. He was a self-taught painter, except for one evening class led by well-known Saskatchewan artist Augustus Kenderdine at the University of Saskatchewan, in the early 1930s. Fellow Saskatoon artist Ernest Lindner, who became a most important artistic influence in Brunst’s life, included Brunst in sketching parties around the city, and in artist gatherings at his apartment.

Brunst moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1923 and lived there until 1941, when he and his wife moved to Vancouver. He spent his working life in a dry cleaning plant, but actively participated in the art scene in both cities. He was considered a radical painter during his years in Saskatoon, in part because he disregarded traditional art practices and because he chose scenes from his everyday experiences for his watercolours and drawings.

His conscious commitment to  abstractImagery which departs from representational accuracy, to a variable range of possible degrees. Abstract artists select and then exaggerate or simplify the forms suggested by the world around them.  (Artlex.com)  art in 1936 is considered a turning point in his career, and placed him ahead of many of his contemporaries. Some of his best works were done after 1936, as he combined abstraction with bright colours in his works. Even after he moved to Vancouver he often used drawings and sketches he had done in Saskatoon as the basis of paintings. It was only after his move to Vancouver that he began to work in oils.

Brunst believed that the highest levels of creativity were achieved when the artist, or anyone, for that matter, could tap into the subconscious mind. His belief in the power of spontaneous art may have been a justification for his lack of education and formal art training, but it also contributed to his strong personal vision.

Brunst regularly contributed to annual group exhibitions in Saskatoon and Vancouver, and had three solo exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery. A  retrospectiveAn exhibition of work by a senior artist representing all the stages of the artist’s career.  of his work was presented at the Mendel Art Gallery in 1982.


On Stanley Brunst
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning