Arts & Entertainment

Au P'tit Bonheur [Small Happiness] Art Gallery

Read the article
Shop and contact
It was a small happiness. A big, flower-filled garden. A veranda and a beautiful house. A home that exudes… hmmmm… that exudes, well, happiness!

The dream nurtured by the Tremblay family, generous hosts and just the right amount of friendly, with a great deal of warmth and sophistication thrown in, which verges on eccentricity for their boundless dedication.  We walk in as if coming home to visit friends or parents… Welcomed, relieved of our coats and other burdens, we begin chatting at the foot of the large staircase before wandering from one room to the next, discovering the creative worlds of artists from all over Canada, described affectionately as the child prodigies of this house. We could easily spend hours here and lose all track of time listening to ­Marie-Ève talk to us about the artists she has ­become close to, hear her stories about the conversations she’s had with them, as a way of glimpsing the ­human being behind the brush… The Galerie is well-named: here, everything comes down to ­happiness! Decisions are guided by a real love of the customer, of artists, and a hint of absurdity!

Throughout the many rooms spread across the two floors of this opulent, but decidedly not stuffy house, one after another, works by more than 45 Canadian artists set the pace of the gallery visit, sparking amazement from one gallery space to the next.  Figurative and semi-figurative art from artists whose hands are assured, whose styles are quite mature give way to new discoveries and favourites.

“What had been a small collection of antique glass ­became a passion for my parents… Their house was full of this collection when, one day, my father looked up and had the crazy idea to install shelves above the gallery doors. People think the collection is for sale, but it isn’t. It’s a family joke, and gets people talking! It’s a conversation starter, it brings back memories, and it’s an especially good illustration of how we run our business: passionately, playfully, and authentically!” By telling such stories, Marie-Ève introduces the family and the gallery founded by her parents 36 years ago, first housed on the grounds of the Manoir Richelieu, then in this small-in-name-only ­gallery, with its 6,000 square feet of exhibition space, divided into 15 rooms over two floors. The kind of gallery seldom seen anywhere across Canada’s vastness. It’s a major gallery, and these are major gallery owners, given that the legacy has been passed down from father to daughter, as has this way of ­working passionately, from the heart. Here, the adage "If age but could, if youth but would" does not apply given that two generations have grown in tandem, together building a somewhat far-fetched venture - that of showing and selling favourite pieces of art. The gallery works hand-in-hand with the artist, with dedication and commitment, and guided by the sincere desire to help them build a career over the long term. At the gallery, "we give it all we’ve got" for the artists with whom we work, encouraging creation and research, buying works shown in large collections, in our desire to provide support for talent development… A vision that is “so refreshing!” for the 40-odd Canadian painters and sculptors who are currently part of the Au P’tit Bonheur adventure. Committed to figurative art, the gallery ­offers such a variety of it, both modern and classic, in strong, assertive artistic styles, that everyone will be sure find their own little bit of happiness here!

Like the happiness in the faces of the children engaging in all kinds of different actvities in the work of Guylène Saucier, so endearing that we can’t help but give them a first name and bring them home with us… Awww, just like the happiness Félix Leclerc refers to in his song!

Sensitively- and expressively-drawn horses, deer, bears and wolves, guided by hands with deep knowledge, both of the medium and of animals, that seem to appear on the vast canvasses of Shannon Ford, exuding an almost mystical aura while crushed semi-precious stones mingle with the vivid colours of these daring animal portraits. Shannon, who comes from Western Canada, was discovered during an event by another painter represented by Marie-Ève. That painter immediately connected the two and warmly recommended them to each other. For Marie-Ève, that one of her artists spontaneously refers her and her family gallery to another artist is something worth its weight in gold: “It’s a lovely vote of confidence!”  That other artist, also based in Western Canada? Well, it’s Quebec-born David ­Langevin, one of the major figures of the Au P’tit Bonheur gallery, and with good reason: his big pine trees and birches thrive in a wild and colourful nature, in the same vein as the famous Group of Seven’s subject matter with a modern treatment: where impasto, the play of light, and bright colours can be fully appreciated when Marie-Ève gets the bright idea to dim the lights…

In yet another room, it’s flowers, families of skiers, musicians, and  groups of diners that come alive through the long strokes of Kimberley Kiel’s palette knives; she wields oils and bright colours with a palpable love of life, parties, and people!

There are joyous wildflower bursts from Jordan Hicks, whose sensitive, subtle touch appears to lift flowers off the canvas a little, bringing them to life!

There are Carole Malcolm’s striking paintings of birch bark in light-filled understory, and seascapes, the powerful landscapes of Cameron Bird, and countless other paintings that liven up the walls and rooms of this place of art, of happiness, and of discovery; discover it to your heart’s content!

Vladimir Horik

Oldest of the painters in this gallery, whose hamlets bathed in light and spectacular skies are his signature, Vladimir Horik is well-known for the unique way in which he vividly represents every inch of Charlevoix in a faithful, yet idealized way.  Born in Western Canada, this Ukrainian-born artist has, since 1971, lived in the Charlevoix backcountry, a wide-open space in which he feels at home, where he finds quiet and inspiration. If his vivid harmonies of colour and his spirited brushstrokes are immediately recognizable, it’s because the artist has established himself over the years as one of the great ambassadors of his adopted home, showcasing it across the country, as well as internationally. “Sometimes we see visitors from Western Canada or international tourists who have come here to discover the area that inspired their Vladimir Horik painting, bought online or inherited from a loved one many years ago. Besides that, as this artist has been represented exclusively by our gallery for the last 31 years, let’s just say that makes us look good.”


One of the gallery’s finest for more than 20 years is the painter known as St-Gilles. His assured, heartfelt, and widely-documented works of Canadian landscape gain him the reputation of being one of the most influential landscape painters of his generation. Driven by strong, distinctive brushstrokes, this lover of the great outdoors draws on his rich technical and hands-on experience in works that reveal all the beauty of our wide open spaces, from one ocean to the other, and of the Northern territories. From the first glance, the artist’s admiration for all his subjects can be felt. Light shines, and immensity is the most consistent impression one gets. Being St-Gilles’ exclusive gallery, getting us to talk about his artistic career and travels is not hard to do; it’s another of the great prides of the Tremblay family that contributes to the very special aura surrounding the Au P’tit Bonheur gallery.

Camille Dufour Truchon, Mark Lindenberg (Translation)
Sylvain Foster, Courtoisie
Au P'tit Bonheur Art Gallery


265, Boulevard de Comporté
La Malbaie, Qc G5A 2Y6

Your opinion matters

See also

Food & Terroir
Rush to Hautes-Gorges Park
Rhéal and Lucille made Hautes-Gorges de la Rivière-Malbaie National Park their Eldorado in the hippie years, when the road hadn’t even reached that far, yet…

Read more

The Colors of Winter
Winter in Charlevoix is synonymous with towering white heaps as far as the eye can see.

Read more