Dupré was born in Nantes. He began his artistic career as a painter of porcelain in factories owned by his father. He subsequently went to Paris to study landscape painting. In 1834 he was one of the first of the French landscape artists to visit England, where he met John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner.
From the 1830s he often worked with other landscape painters. In 1844 he travelled to the Landes region and Pyrenees with Théodore Rousseau. Although he was associated with Barbizon artists he rarely painted in the Forest of Fontainebleau, preferring the surroundings of the Oise river near L'Isle-Adam, where he settled in 1849.