Brunel Sculpture Garden

Collection Owner:
Cover Image:
Emile Brunel and family
Emile Brunel With his Wife and Daughter - Image Source

Collection Facts


Historical Context

Born in 1874 in Chateauneuf de Chabre France, Emile Brunel first came to America from France in 1904. In Jersey City, NJ he opened a movie studio with Cecil B. Demille, became a respected portrait photographer with over 35 photographic studios across the Northeast and founded what is now the New York Institute of Photography in 1913. He made his fortune honing and developing the one-hour photo process — revolutionizing the film industry by allowing productions to view footage shot the same day.

Acquiring land that once housed the old Hotel Brown in Boiceville in 1921, Emile created Le Chalet Indien, a resort dedicated to the indigenous spirit that had captured his heart upon first arriving in America. Brunel threw himself into crafting a visionary, dreamlike retreat and sculpture park—a personal testament of his love for Native American peoples and the land they stewarded for centuries. From the late 1920s to the late 1950s, Chalet Indien drew luminaries from the arts, politics, and cultural life, such as Franklin D. And Eleanor Roosevelt, Max Ernst, Irving Berlin, Enrico Caruso, Frederick Kiesler, Harold Prince, and numerous others who shaped modern life around the world.

Scope of Collection

The Collection includes: brochures,  photographs, postcards, letters, a video clip, and other documents pertaining to Emile Brunel and Chalet Indien.


Special Content:


This project is partially supported with federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated to the New York State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS; and administered by Southeastern NY Library Resources Council.