Léon Richet was born in Solesmes (Sathe), Normandy in 1847. He was a student of Narcisse Virgle Diaz de La Pena (1807/9-1876), Charles Victor Eugéne Lefébvre (1805-1882) and Louis Jean Boulanger (1806/7-1867). Richet began exhibiting in the Paris Salons in 1869, and at the Salon of 1885, he was awarded a honorable mention. He was awarded a second place medal in the Salons of 1888 and 1901. He is best known for his verdant landscapes, especially of the Fontainebleau forest. He traveled extensively, and painted the countrysides of Auvergne and Picardie, as well as seascapes in Tréport. He even traveled to Guéret and Belgium.
His works reflect his preoccupation with nature and the effects of light; his profound influence was strongly felt by his fellow members of the Barbizon school. Richet died in Fontainebleau (Seine-et-Marne) on May 26, 1907.