Edited by SUSSE Frères Editeurs Paris
height 20 cm
Roger Godchaux (1878-1958) was a French painter, drawer and animal sculptor. If all domestic and wild bestiary was part of his artistic universe, wild beasts and elephants having been his favorite subjects. As a figurative sculptor, he represented the animal without artifice, in his attitudes of everyday life. From Vendôme Godchaux joined Paris, where he prepared in 1894 admission to the School of Fine Arts. He soon turned to animal art. He became a pupil of Jules Adler and Jean-Léon Gérôme. In 1896 he was a pupil of the Julian Academy. As a great admirer of Antoine-Louis Barye, he created a collection of works produced in the master's studio. In 1905, he began to exhibit in Paris. He regularly participated in the Salon of the French Artists. After the war, he resumed exhibitions at the Salon des artistes français where, in 1922, he won the bronze medal. The French state ordered him two bronze plates for the Library of the Army Museum. In 1925, the jury of the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts awarded him a silver medal. In 1927, he won the contest of car manufacturer Chenard and Walcker for the creation of an emblem for their cars. In February 1928, the French State bought him a bronze sculpture: "Elephant", exhibited at the National Salon of animal artists, of which he became the treasurer. It was at this time that the Newark Museum in the United States bought him sculptures. It was also in 1928 that he won the silver medal at the Salon des artistes français. In 1929, the State bought him once again a sculpture (Pigeon).
During the inter-war years, Godchaux regularly exhibited in various galleries: Galerie Charpentier, Galerie Georges Petit, Galerie Edgar Brandt, group of animal artists of the Malesherbes Art Gallery. He had friendly relations with other sculptors, including Henri Valette and Gaston Switzerland, with whom he regularly worked at the Jardin des Plantes. In 1937, he signed a contract with the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres for the edition of terracotta works. During the Second World War, as a Jew he stayed in Paris and continued to work in his studio on Boileau Street, but was forced to wear the yellow star. After the war, he occupied a workshop at 3 rue Vercingetorix, which he kept until his death. He exhibited again at the Salon of French artists and the Volney Circle. In 1947, he received an order from the Autonomous Port of Bordeaux to execute a commemorative plaque of the dead Agents during the war. He was also asked to build the pediment of the Cap-Ferret Lighthouse.
Unlike other animal sculptors like Edouard-Marcel Sandoz, François Pompon and Armand Petersen whose works are smooth, the work of Roger Godchaux is close to the art of Paul Jouve which leaves apparent textures, treating surfaces by smoothing and oblique streaks. It was often with plaster works that he exhibited in Salons and galleries. The works for sale were then cast in bronze. They were entrusted to famous founders like Susse, with whom he signed editing contracts, or Valsuani. He also worked with lesser known founders like Gatti, Andro or Planquette. Some of his works were terracotta or sandstone. Models have been edited by Susse in both bronze and terracotta, which could be left raw or glazed.
Unlike his sculptures, which were mainly wild animals, his paintings were often inspired by the farm animals he could observe in the countryside. He also painted commissioned portraits or portraits of his family and friends.