Raoul Verlet was a French sculptor born in Angoulême (Charente) on 7 September 1857 and died in Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes) on 1 December 1923.
Raoul Verlet was the son of Alexandre Verlet, a funeral monument contractor and caretaker of the Bardines cemetery in Angoulême. He first studied sculpture in Bordeaux from 1884 to 1886, then was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris where he studied for four years with Jules Cavelier and Louis-Ernest Barrias. The award of a medal earned him a scholarship from his native city. He won the second prize of Rome in 1883 for his work on The Death of Diagoras of Rhodes.
His first works were appreciated by the public. He received an honourable mention at the Salon des artistes français in 1885 for his Buste du docteur Bouillaud, and in 1886 for the Tombeau de Madame Weiller. The choice by a jury of eminent personalities (Alexandre Falguière, Antonin Mercié, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Jean-Léon Gérome, Emmanuel Frémiet, Jules Dalou) of his project for a Monument to the children of Charente who died in 1870 brought him consecration: the work represents “La Patrie vaincue mais non abattue” (The defeated but not destroyed Fatherland). Subsequently, he was chosen again after a competition for the Monument to the dead of 1870 in Châteauroux, inaugurated on 3 October 1897.
As his reputation grew, he was commissioned to create numerous statues and monuments in Paris, Rouen, Marseille, Cognac and Louviers. Two of his most famous works are the Monument to Carnot in Angoulême and the Monument to Maupassant for the Parc Monceau in Paris. At the same time, he executed a large number of busts of individuals.
He lived in Louviers (around 1895-1910), where his wife was born, and was president of the Société des amis des arts de l’Eure1, but he also had a Paris address at 7 rue Galvani. He became a professor at the Académie Julian, and joined William Bouguereau, Jules Lefebvre and Édouard Toudouze, among others. He was made a knight of the Legion of Honour in 1893 and was promoted to officer in 1900.
Raoul Verlet continued to distinguish himself in all areas of sculpture: war memorials, mansion decorations, busts, statuettes, etc. From 1905 onwards, he taught at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts and was made a member of the Institut in 1910.