Roger Chapelet (1903-1995) was born in Versailles and studied art in Paris. Chapelet was one of the three great French maritime painters of the twentieth-century, alongside Marin-Marie Paul Emmanuel Durand Couppel de Saint-Front and Albert Brenet. He discovered his maritime passion boarding a ship named the Rollo in 1927, where his brother was a radio operator in the port of Marseilles. He set sail for the first time in 1929, beginning his career painting at sea, and made a series of paintings of the various ports he travelled to: Le Havre, Antwerp, and Rotterdam.
He became the official painter for the French Navy from 1936 until his death in 1995. He sailed in every sea in the world including the coastal waters of Greenland and Newfoundland. He recorded the Second World War, the North Sea and North Atlantic Convoys, the French-Algerian War and the Indo-China War and from all of these he has brought back a record that will ultimately prove to be of great historical value. His knowledge of ships is unequalled and his colouring is exact.
In 1960, Chapelet was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour. He has also been awarded the positions of Chancellor of the Cap Hornier, Chevalier des Palmes Academique and Officer of the order of Maritime Merit.
His work can be found in museums all over France as well as in America. In 1974 he became President of the Marine Academy in France. He has also won the Grand Prix for his designs for stamps.