Dubufe originally trained as a diplomat. It was only when he was on the point of leaving for America, to take up the position of vice-council, that David intervened to persuade his father to allow him to become his pupil. Cut off by his family, Debufe debuted in the Salon in 1810. By 1830 he moved away from allegorical work to devote himself entirely to portraits. He had huge fashionable appeal and exhibited over 150 portraits in the Salon.