University of Texas, Alexander Architectural Archive

Raoul Josset:

An Inventory of his Records and Photographs, 1927-1967

Collection Summary

Creator:Josset, Raoul, 1899-1957
Title:Raoul Josset (1899-1957) Archival records and photographs, Public Art Commissions
Abstract:Josset (1899-1957) was a French sculptor who immigrated to the United States in the late 1920s, lived in northern Texas and worked with Dallas architect Donald Nelson. The collection includes correspondence, personal papers, office files, job files, professional association material, newspaper clippings, printed material (together measuring 2.5 linear feet) and 206 photographs document Josset's career as a sculptor from 1927-1967.
Identification:JOS 1986008; 2007005. Received as part of the Donald Nelson collection
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet of manuscript material, 206 photographs, 22 negatives
Language:Materials are in English.
Repository:Alexander Architectural Archives, The University of Texas at Austin.

Biographical Sketch of Raoul Josset

The following paragraphs are excerpts from Raoul Josset's (1899-1957) obituary, written by Jack Sheridan in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. The clipping is undated. Josset died on June 29, 1957 and one would assume that it was printed in a timely manner.

"...Raoul Josset was born in France and received his early training at the Beaux Arts School, the Lycee of Lyons and Paris and studied under the noted Antoine Bourdelle. In his working time in France he created more than 15 memorials between 1920 and 1926. It was then that he turned his eyes to the United States.

In 1933 he executed two 45-foot Indians in grey granite for the pylons of the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge in Vincennes, Ind. There were two major works in Chicago the following year. He then came to Texas where he created the Statues of the Spirit of the Centennial, 16 feet high; the statues of the United States, France and Mexico, all 20 feet in cast stone, made for the Texas Centennial which stand in pride today in State Fair Park.

Much of Josset's finest work can be viewed in Texas. The superb Refugio Memorial to Captain King, standing 30 feet in bronze and granite; the statue at Washington on the Brazos, bronze statue of George Childress, eight feet; the Goliad Memorial, 30 feet in granite; and 20 bronze plaques for Texas counties.

There is a Josset masterwork at Lavaca where the 30-foot statue of Cavalier de la Salle in granite has been hailed as one of his finest.

Thousands of Texans and out-of-state visitors have marveled at the stone bas-relief 75 feet by 7 feet high, representing the Construction of the Temple of Solomon for the Waco Grand Lodge Masonic Temple.

In 1940-1943 he executed a bronze statue of Gen. Lafayette which stands on the Esplanade of the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts. This work was commissioned as the result of Josset's winning a national competition. In the competition for the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. Josset often remarked with a rueful smile, "I ran second."

Prizes and distinguished honors come to the little Frenchman who became an American citizen in 1934 and a Texan not so long after that. He was made an Associate Member of the National Academy of Design in 1954, one of the highest honors to be bestowed on an artist in the United States. He was awarded the Rome Prize in 1923; the Prix Paris in 1924-25-26.

Speaking of art in his adopted state Josset once said: `There is so much development to be done in Texas with fine arts. There is money and enthusiasm here and the people know what they want. Instead of grotesque fads in art that are so unfortunately present in much of today's work, Texans seek things with meaning and simple beauty for their homes and their appreciation. They choose with an eye of permanence, thinking in terms of years, generations, maybe forever.'

Those who know his St. Francis are moved by the deep simplicity of the work. The bowed head and the flow of the saint's robe symbolize the soft, gentle nature of St. Francis. There is overall the power of the purity of lines that is at once an invitation and the reception of renewed strength.

`Purity of line is the most important thing,' Josset said. `In all forms of sculpture preceding the Gothic period there were magnificent works, true. They were monumental, proud and solid representations of the individual gods. It was the Gothic who brought the purity of line to their work. It was the Gothic who taught the stone to pray."

This much for the greatness of the artist and his accomplishments. What of the man himself? Josset was a small man, his hair curly and his face somewhat like that of a mischievous cherub. As he talked in his rapid French accent, his hands constantly engaged in the interplay of punctuation. He was a man proud of his work, not vain and boastful, but sure and dedicated. He loved to tell stories of his amours. His laugh was infectious and his delight in a good audience knew no bounds. In a way, he was like a kind of Don Camillo, saintly in a manner with a dash of Gallic earthiness to spice the world around him.

The last time I saw Raoul Josset was during an after-opera gathering in a home in Dallas in May. There were only a few guests present in a large room. At the end of the room was a slightly raised platform on which stood a grand piano. Someone was playing the piano that night and Raoul, already a sick man, was persuaded to get up on the little stage and sing a French song. That he did. He sang and danced a little step as he sang. The song was "Madelon."

I'll never hear "Madelon" again so long as I live that the image of a great artist and a good, warm friend will not be comfortingly vivid and live at my side.

Life has many trials and vexations and a few honest privileges. It has been an honor personally to have known Raoul Josset as a friend; Texas has been privileged to receive the fruits of his artistry to hold for all time in heritage."

Scope and Content of the collection

Correspondence, personal papers, office files, job files, professional association material, newspaper clippings, printed material (together measuring 2.5 linear feet), 206 photographs, 22 negatives, and 3 models document the career of sculptor, Raoul Josset (1899-1957). The record group covers the period from 1927 to 1967. Information about Josset's sculpture, including correspondence, job files and the photographs constitute the bulk of the material.

Correspondence both personal and business recounts Josset's struggle to promote the art of sculpture in his adopted country.

Job files consist of client correspondence, receipts, sketches and newspaper clippings. These files illustrate the creative process of the sculptures Josset produced.

The photograph series contains a few portraits of Raoul Josset but the majority of the images show his sculptural works including some of his more important commissions such as sculptures and memorials for the Texas Centennial, a bas relief for the Masonic Grand Lodge Temple in Waco and the statue of General Lafayette in Philadelphia. Models include a Hockey Player and two busts of Edgar A. Poe.


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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Texas Online Catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Josset, Raoul, 1899-1957--Archives.
Texas Centennial (1936: Dallas, Tex.)--Sculpture.
Goliad Memorial (Texas)
LaGrange Memorial (Texas)
Refugio Memorial to Captain King (Texas)
Construction of the Temple of Solomon (Waco, Tex.)--Bas-relief.
Public sculpture--Texas.
Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier marquis de, 1757-1834--Statues--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.
Document types:

Administrative Information


Raoul Josset (1899-1957) Archival records and photographs, 1927-1967, Public Art Commissions, the Alexander Architectural Archives, the General Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin

Processing Information

Nancy Sparrow, April 1993.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished inventory in Archive.

References to works by or about Raoul Josset (1899-1957)

Commission of Control for Texas Centennial Celebration. Monuments Commemorating the Centenary of Texas Independence. Austin: Steck Company Publishers, 1939.

Crocker, Elisabeth. "Dallas Will Have New Josset Work." Dallas Journal (March 2, 1938): p. 7.

Dillon, Dennis. Dallas Architecture 1936-1986. Dallas: Texas Monthly Press, 1985.

[Obituary]. Dallas Morning News (June 30, 1957): p. 1.

Sheridan, Jack. "Sculptor Executes Work of St. Francis of Assisi." Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (January 30, 1955): p. 7.

Sheridan, Jack. "Texas Mourns Tragic Loss of Raoul Josset, Sculptor." Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (July 21, 1957): p. 15.

Smith, Priscilla. "The Texas Centennial Itself is an Embodiment of Fine Art." Art Digest (June 1, 1936): p. 26.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series A : Correspondence

Series Abstract
The Correspondence series contains sub series for personal correspondence, business correspondence, posthumous correspondence, and correspondence with Josset's assistant Jose Martin. Both personal and business correspondence recounts Josset's struggle to promote the art of sculpture in his adopted country. Files are arranged in chronological order.

Series A1 : Personal Correspondence

11Correspondence, undated
2March 14, 1927-1947
51956- June 19, 1957

Series A2 : Business Correspondence

16Correspondence, undated
7December 16, 1936-1948
121957-July 8, 1957

Series A3 : Posthumous Correspondence about Josset

113Correspondence, undated
141957-1967 (includes notes about Josset written by Jose Martin to Donald Nelson)

Series A4 : Correspondence by Jose Martin (Josset's assistant)

115Two letters to Donald Nelson concerning the addition of plaques to the Grand Lodge Masonic Temple in Waco, and one watercolor

Series B : Personal Papers

Series Abstract
The Personal Papers series consists of writings, sketches, official papers, biographical information, and financial documents.
116Josset's Musings (similar to journal entries)
18Naturalization Papers, Marriage License, Will
51National Academy of Design certificate
119Biographical Information, including obituaries and a fold-out with reproductions of Josset's sculpture and a description of those works [1 of 2]
20Biographical Information, including obituaries [2 of 2]
21Information for Who's Who entry
2Nutritional Information
3Income Tax Information 1950, 1952-1954
4Income Tax Information 1956
5Bills and receipts [1 of 2]
6Bills and receipts [2 of 2]

Series C : Office Files

Series Abstract
The Office Files series includes material that support the running of an architectural office, such as address books, business cards and stationary, exhibition material, and references to companies.
27Addresses [1 of 2]
8Addresses [2 of 2]
9Business cards, stationary
12Exhibitions - 3rd International Exhibition of Sculpture (1949)
13Instructions for plaster casting
14Labels for Sculptures
15New York Medallic Art Co.

Series D : Job Files

Series Abstract
Job files consist of client correspondence, photographs, receipts, sketches and newspaper clippings. These files illustrate the creative process of the sculptures Josset produced.
31[Unidentified] includes 8×10 photograph
2Cavelier de la Salle, Lavaca
3Christ and the Woman at the Well of Samaria
4Discus Thrower
5Edgar Allen Poe Head
6Erastus Deaf Smith Statue, Hereford
7George Childress, Washington
8Lafayette, Philadelphia [1 of 2]
9Lafayette, Philadelphia [2 of 2]
10LaGrange Memorial
11Memorial Masonic Grand Lodge Temple, Waco
12Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas
13Rayburn Library, Bonham
14St. Francis of Assisi (Mrs. W.D. Green)
15St. Francis of Assisi (Mrs. W.D. Green)
16St. Francis of Assisi (E.J. Muth)
17Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children
18Shot putter
19Texas Centennial
20Texas Centennial - Sam Houston statue
21Ula Girl
22William D. Green Jr. Memorial Park, Wilson

Series E Professional Associations

Series Abstract
The Professional Associations series contains documents reflecting associations associated with the arts.
323American Federation of Arts
24National Academy of Design
25National Sculpture Society

Series F : Clippings

Series Abstract
The Clippings series contains files of clippings dated from 1942 to 1957.
41Clippings, undated
2November 1942- August 1957

Series G : Printed Material

Series Abstract
The Printed Material series contains publications including journals, Congressional Records, the Texas Centennial Central Exposition illumination, and arts supplies lists.
43Alexander's Sculptural Supply (price list)
4Art Digest; June 1, 1936
6Congressional Record
7European Affairs, no. 11
8Illumination of Texas Centennial Central Exposition
9M. Martini: importer of finest Italian sculpting, modeling, and ceramic steel tools (price list)
10Official Guide: Book of the Fair, 1933 [Chicago World's Fair]
11Painters in Oil - Abbreviated Biographies

Series H : Photographs

Series Abstract
The Photographs series includes two subgroups: Personal Photographs and Project Photographs. The Personal Photographs subgroup contains a few portraits of Raoul Josset. The majority of the images are found in the Project Photographs subgroup which show his sculptural works including some of his more important commissions such as sculptures and memorials for the Texas Centennial, a bas relief for the Masonic Grand Lodge Temple in Waco and the statue of General Lafayette in Philadelphia. Project photographs are arranged in alphabetical order by project name.
52[Damaged photographs]

Series H1 : Personal Photographs

53Unidentified people and pets
4Family photographs originally filed with letters from Raymond Josset (brother)
5Passport Photographs - Raoul Josset

Series H2 : Project Photographs

56Unidentified Project Photographs
7Cameron County Memorial
8Cavelier de la Salle Memorial, Lavaca
9Cavelier de la Salle Memorial, Lavaca
10Cavelier de la Salle Memorial, Lavaca
11Cavelier de la Salle Memorial, Lavaca
12Cavelier de la Salle Memorial, Lavaca
13Cavelier de la Salle Memorial, Lavaca
14Christ of Jussey, Aisne, France
15Christ in Church of Roupy, Aisne, France
16Commemorative Monument [War Memorial 1914-1918], Fours, France
17Dancing Girl
18Discus thrower
19Diving Girl
20Diving Girl
21Dog and Deer
22Excelsior, New York World's Fair
23George Childress, Washington
24George Childress, Washington
25George Childress, Washington
26George Childress, Washington
27George Rogers Clark Memorial, Vincennes, Ind.
28George Rogers Clark Memorial, Vincennes, Ind.
29George Rogers Clark Memorial, Vincennes, Ind.
30George Rogers Clark Memorial, Vincennes, Ind.
31George Rogers Clark Memorial, Vincennes, Ind.
32Goliad Memorial, Goliad
33Goliad Memorial, Goliad
34Goliad Memorial, Goliad
35Ice Hockey Player "The Goalie"
36Ice Hockey Player "The Goalie"
37Ice Hockey Player "The Goalie"
38Ice Hockey Player "The Goalie"
39Lafayette, Philadelphia
40Lafayette (not by Josset)
41LaGrange Memorial
42LaGrange Memorial
43LaGrange Memorial
44LaGrange Memorial
45LaGrange Memorial
61MacKenzie Trail Memorial, Plainview
2MacKenzie Trail Memorial, Plainview
3MacKenzie Trail Memorial, Plainview
4MacKenzie Trail Memorial, Plainview
5Madonna and Child
6Madonna and Child
7Memorial Masonic Grand Lodge Temple, Waco
8Montague County Memorial
9Monument of the Dead [War Memorial 1914-1918] Aisne, France
10Refugio Memorial
11Refugio Memorial
12Refugio Memorial
13Refugio Memorial
14Refugio Memorial
13Refugio Memorial
15Refugio Memorial
16Refugio Memorial
17St. Francis of Assisi (Green)
18St. Francis of Assisi (Muth)
19Shelby County Plaque
20Shot putter
21Shot Putter
22Shot Putter
24Texas Centennial Fair Park - buildings
25Texas Centennial Fair Park - [Statue of] Sam Houston
26Texas Centennial Fair Park - [Statue of] France
27Texas Centennial Fair Park - [Statue of] France
28Texas Centennial Fair Park - [Statue of] France
29Texas Centennial Fair Park - [Statue of] Mexico
30Texas Centennial Fair Park - [Statue of the] Spirit of the Centennial
31Texas Centennial Fair Park - [Statue of the] Spirit of the Centennial
32Texas Centennial Fair Park - [Statue of the] Spirit of the Centennial
33Texas Centennial Fair Park - [Statue of the] Spirit of the Centennial
34Texas Centennial Fair Park - [Statue of the] Spirit of the Centennial
35Texas Centennial Fair Park - [Statue of] the United States
36Texas Centennial Fair Park - [Statue of] the United States
37Texas Centennial Fair Park - [Statue of] the United States
38Ula girl
39Ula girl
40Ula girl
41Washington, George (not by Josset). Originally filed with the Lafayette Job File.

Series I : Models

Series Abstract
The Models series contains two subjects: an ice hockey goalie and Edgar Allen Poe.
Ice Hockey Player "The Goalie"
Two Edgar Allen Poe busts