Carrière trained initially in Strasbourg at the Ecole Municipale de Dessin, and subsequently in the studio of Alexandre Cabanel at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He exhibited at the Salon from 1878. Between 1880 and 1885 he worked at the Sèvres porcelain factory. He developed an atmospheric, near monochrome style, specialising in mother and child groups and portraits. He was an important figure in the Symbolist movement, and was closely associated with such writers as Verlaine, Mallarmé and Charles Morice.