Jean-Baptiste Oudry was born in 1686 in Paris, France. His most probable early influence probably came from within his family, for his father was a painter and art dealer, and his mother was relative to an engraver. His father was also an art school director, at the Académie de St-Luc, where Oudry would later become alumni.
At first, his primary focus was portraiture, he became a pupil and perhaps even a collaborator of Nicolas de Largilliere for five years. Oudry graduated at the Academy rather young, with only 22 years old, his older brother also graduated that same year. In 1714, Oudry became an assistant professor and three years later, appointed as a professor at the Académie de Saint-Luc.
Oudry became a member of the acclaimed Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1719, an institution where he would later be a professor. Oudry, executed, under Noel-Antoine de Mérou’s commission, a series of tapestries called Les Amusements Champêtres, or The Pastoral Amusements, which is considered one of the most iconic of the period.
Upon his rising reputation, Oudry started to receive commissions from increasingly distinct patrons. His painting Louis XV hunting a deer in the Forest of Saint-Germain would consolidate his reputation, especially with the King, besides giving him several other commissions, appointed him as the Royal Hunt Painter. Oudry was also granted an apartment in the Louvre and a workshop in the Tuileries Palace.
Oudry would often execute, under commissions, buffet paintings, which were still-lifes composed by combining silverware, fruit, and hunted animals. One of the said paintings was exhibited at the Salon of 1737. Oudry humbly asked for ten pistoles for said artworks. His patron promptly paid him twenty-five pistoles. The artist was also commissioned by King Louis XV to execute another buffet painting.
Oudry subsequently worked on tapestry manufacturers, the most prominent of them being the Gobelins manufactory. The artist became increasingly distinguished during the process. In said manufactories, the artist had his designs as cartoons for their tapestries.
Towards the end of his life, Oudry suffered two successive strokes, the latter of which paralyzed him. Jean-Baptiste Oudry died soon after, on April 30, 1755.