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Public art in Montréal

Monument à Émile Nelligan
(Monument to Émile Nelligan)

Municipal public art collection


Monument à Émile Nelligan (Monument to Émile Nelligan)


Roseline Granet

Materials and Production Methods

Bust : bronze
Base : limestone from Indiana and granite from Mystic
The bronze was cast in the Fonderie d'art Gilbert Clémenti in Meudon, France.




June 7, 2005


This monument was installed in collaboration with the city, thanks to an initiative by the Fondation Émile-Nelligan, an important cultural organization in Québec society. The Fondation was created in 1979, on the occasion of Nelligan's hundredth birthday, by Gilles Corbeil, the poet's nephew.


Square Saint-Louis
Borough of the Plateau-Mont-Royal

Note on the artist

Born in Paris in 1936, Roseline Granet studied design and painting at the Art Students League in New York in 1954 and then studied sculpture at Ossip Zadkine's studio in Paris from 1956 to 1959. In 1960, with the support of sculptor, Jacques Delahaye, she founded the Clementi foundry in Meudon, only a stone's throw from Auguste Rodin's studio. She still works at the foundry to this day. Her physical proximity to Rodin was intentional because Granet shares with the great artist a focus on human movement, striving to capture its forms and vitality. Couples intertwined, dancing or running; acrobats; groups of figures walking; and musicians at work encompass the various themes that make up her work, exposing a penetrating sensibility to the emotions found in the slightest movement. Among Granet's most evocative sculptural works are her portraits of friend, Jean-Paul Riopelle, standing proud or, like Balzac, slumped in an armchair in varying degrees of fatigue or sleep.

Note on the work of art

Émile Nelligan (1879-1941)

Born in Montréal and having lived on avenue de Laval, Nelligan was Québec's first modern poet. His tragic life and the brilliance of his work have been engraved in the national imagination like a rallying call to go beyond the Self in Art.

« C'est le règne du rire amer et de la rage
De se savoir poète et l'objet du mépris,
De se savoir un cœur et de n'être compris
Que par le clair de lune et les grands soirs d'orage! »

Bitter laugh and rage are now good form
And I, a poet, must eat scorn for food
I have such heart but am not understood
Except in moonlight and great nights of storm!

« La romance du vin », Poésies, 1904

Roseline Granet's bust of Émile Nelligan is a testimony to her awareness of his personal life and her mastery of expression over her chosen materials. The bust appears to be cast from a single gesture originating from the model's hair and shoulders, presenting a uniform identity, and then melted and recast. The sculpture captures Nelligan's vitality and finesse, his melancholic youth. Facial features are delicate; his expression, noble and visionary. The jacket collar, like wings, gives Nelligan an unreal lightness, all the while situating him in the times he lived. The bust shows us the romantic poet on the cusp of his flight and fall. With great economy, Roseline Granet knew, in this work, how to transcend the anecdotal and provide a long-lasting and inspirational vision of Émile Nelligan.

Stéphane Aquin (text taken from the Fondation Émile Nelligan Web site,

Monument to Émile Nelligan
Photo Credit : Ville de Montréal, 2006
© Tous droits réservés, Ville de Montréal