Admitted to the Academy (1750). Began to exhibit at the Salon (1751). First known for his compositions of flowers, fruits, and birds, he also painted various historical and allegorical works.
An innovative artist, he attempted to paint with wax and invented oil pastels. Artistic director of the Royal Manufacture of Sèvres (1751-93). Created and directed the Ecole royale gratuite de dessin (1767), which grouped together over fifteen hundred artisans and apprentices and later became the Ecole nationale des arts décoratifs.
Was also an orator and a writer. Published various discourses on education and the arts such as his Discours sur l’utilité des écoles élémentaires en faveur des arts mécaniques (1766).
Born in Paris.