Raymond Duchamp-Villon was born Pierre-Maurice-Raymond Duchamp on November 5, 1876, in Damville, near Rouen. From 1894 to 1898 he studied medicine at the University of Paris. When illness forced him to abandon his studies, he decided to pursue a career in sculpture, which had considered until then an avocation. In the early 1900s he moved to Paris, where he exhibited for the first time at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1902. His second show was held at the same Salon in 1903, the year he settled in Neuilly-sur-Seine. In 1905 he had his first exhibition at the Salon d’Automne and a show at the Galerie Legrip in Rouen with his brother, the painter Jacques Villon; he moved with him to Puteaux two years later.

His participation in the jury of the sculpture section of the Salon d’Automne began in 1907 and was instrumental in promoting the Cubists in the early 1910s. Around this time he, Villon, and their other brother, Marcel Duchamp, attended weekly meetings of the Puteaux group of artists and critics. In 1911 he exhibited at the Galerie de l’Art Contemporain in Paris; the following year his work was included in a show organized by the Duchamp brothers at the Salon de la Section d’Or at the Galerie de la Boétie. Duchamp-Villon’s work was exhibited at the Armory Show in New York in 1913 and the Galerie André Groult in Paris, the Galerie S. V. U. Mánes in Prague, and the Der Sturm gallery in Berlin in 1914.

During World War I Duchamp-Villon served in the army as a medic, but was able to continue work on his major sculpture The Horse, a composite image of an animal and machine preceded by numerous sketches and by several other versions. He contracted typhoid fever in late 1916 while stationed at Champagne; the disease ultimately resulted in his death on October 9, 1918, in the military hospital at Cannes.