Coignet had been a student of Jean-Victor Bertin (1767-1842) but was always more interested in naturalistic landscape than in his master's classical compositions. He visited Italy in 1820 and again in 1840, travelling extensively and sketching. He also travelled and sketched in France, often publishing lithographs of the French countryside. He showed at the Salon on a number of occasions, but his greatest impact was as a teacher. His book on landscape painting, 'Cours complet de paysage', appeared in 1848 and his studio attracted numerous students interested in his naturalistic approach to landscape.