Might be Giants - then again, they might just be the work of Raoul
Josset, the tiny Franco-American sculptor who weighted down the Texas
landscape with his larger-than-life statues.
Born in France in 1899, Raoul Jossett was trained at the Paris School
of Fine Arts, the Lycee of Lyons and Paris and studied under famed
sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. Between 1920 and 1926 he created more
than 15 memorials in France. He was awarded the Rome Prize in 1923
and the Prix Paris for the years 1924, 1925 and 1926. Not bad for
a man in his twenties.
He left Europe for the United States in 1933 and received his first
commission carving two 45 foot granite Indians for the George Rogers
Clark Memorial Bridge at Vincennes, Indiana. The following year, while
working on two major Chicago works, Raoul became Citizen Josset.
|Spirit of the
Centennial, 1936, Fair Park, Dallas.
Statue of concrete and plaster carved by Jose Martin. The reflection
pool also provided by Josset and Martin.
The model for this statue was Georgia Carroll, lead singer with the
Kay Kaiser band (who later became Mrs. Kaiser.)
Photo courtesy Krystle Fleming, March 2006
was having it's Centennial
in 1936 and Josset came to Dallas
where he created the statue Spirit of the Centennial in Dallas'
and also made matching statues for the exhibits of the United States,
France and Mexico.
His Memorial to Captain King, a bronze and granite allegorical piece
30 feet tall in Refugio
was never officially accepted by the county - since the single male
figure was unclothed. It's still there across from the Refugio
County courthouse - patiently awaiting acceptance.
eight-foot bronze statue of George Childress at Washington-on-the-Brazos
stands today outside the Star of the Republic Museum. The statue
has been removed from its long base that once counter-balanced a
weighty inscribed granite marker.
allegorical work of Josset is the memorial to the men of Fannin's
command that were killed at Goliad.
In addition to his many statues, he also created 20 bronze plaques
for various Texas counties.
monument to Fannin and his men
Photo courtesy Sarah
statue of La
Salle (also 30 feet tall and made of granite) stands near the
site of the lost town of Indianola.
of Josset's least seen (but more interesting) works can be found at
the Grand Lodge Masonic Temple in downtown Waco.
The stone 7 foot x 75 foot bas-relief depicts the construction of
the Temple of Solomon.
Frieze by Raoul Josset
TE photo, March 2003
signature on Waco Texas Masonic Frieze
Carver Harry Liva worked with Josset on many of his projects.
TE photo, March 2003
entered a plan for the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., but
came in second. He did win a commission in Philadelphia during WWII
for a bronze statue of Lafayette at the Philadelphia Museum of Fine
Arts. He became an Associate Member of the National Academy of Design
in 1954 - one of the highest artistic honors in the United States.
Josset was proud of his work without being vain and he was proud
to be called a Texan. Of Texas, Josset
said, "There is money and enthusiasm here and people know what they
want. They choose with an eye of permanence, thinking in terms of
years, generations, maybe forever."
Concerning art, "Purity of line is the most important thing,' Josset
said. "In all forms of sculpture preceding the Gothic period there
were magnificent works, [but] it was the Gothic who brought the
purity of line to their work. It was the Gothic who taught the stone
Josset in stature was miniscule compared to his titanic sculptures.
Petite with curly hair, Raoul was once described as looking "somewhat
like a mischievous cherub." Josset died on June 29, 1957 and in
his obituary - written by his friend Jack Sheridan and published
in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Sheridan wrote: "Texas
has been privileged to receive the fruits of his artistry to hold
for all time in heritage."
Perhaps Refugio County
will find the time to formally "accept" their Josset sculpture.
© John Troesser
and Statues | People