The son and student of the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Moreau, Mathurin entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, when he was nineteen years old, training under the direction of Etienne-Jules Ramey and Augustin-Alexandre Dumont. After placing second in the Prix de Rome in 1842, he made his debut in the Salon of 1848, where he subsequently won various State commissions, medals and prizes. Around 1850 he began providing models for reproduction in bronze for the Val d'Osne foundry, where he later became an administrator of the Société du Val d'Osne.
The Val d'Osne foundry was established in 1833 by Jean-Paul Victor André, who received a royal edict from Louis-Philippe in 1836 to open a workshop in the Val d'Osne in the Haute-Marne. During the 1850s, the foundry achieved international recognition, exhibiting at the Great Exhibitions of 1851 and 1862, as well as the Paris World Fair of 1855. By the time of their appearance at the Chicago Great Exhibition of 1893, the foundry had merged with J. J. Ducel and held the largest collection of moulds in the world.
As the largest art foundry in France, Val d'Osne's works were often imported into South America, particularly Argentina and Uruguay, by the firm A. Motteau, of Buenos Aires. Examples from the foundry in Buenos Aires include the pair of Neptune and Naiads' fountains after Moreau from 1886 and the wrought-iron work adorning the La Prensa newspaper office of 1898, now the Buenos Aires House of Culture.