Born in Montreal, Raoul Barré studied fine art in Paris in the 1890s. His first incursion into the world of political caricatures was with the satirical magazine Le Sifflet.
Back in Quebec, Barré launched an eclectic career. He regularly performed as a monologist and actor on the Monument National stage. His canvases made him a recognized painter. He published illustrations in literary journals and magazines. Barré published Pour un dîner de Noel, which is often considered the first comic strip to appear in a Quebec daily, in La Presse in 1902.
In New York in 1912, Barré was profoundly marked by the experience of seeing an animated film. With his associate Bill Nolan, he founded the first industrial scale animation studio in history. He developed techniques (the slash system and the peg system) that accelerated the work and made possible much greater precision in lining up images. In 1915, he entered into partnership with Charley Bowers to produce and direct the series Mutt & Jeff.
Conflicts with Bowers led Barré to abandon animation in 1919. Instead, he dedicated himself to painting and other activities. Back in New York, in 1926, he joined Felix the Cat producer Pat Sullivan and his team. In his final years, in Montreal, he participated in several unfinished projects, such as the animated film Microbus 1er.