Michallon studied under Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes and later became Corot's teacher. Michallon and Valenciennes are acknowledged as the two most brilliant exponents of the landscape oil sketch. Michallon's talent was recognised and encouraged from an early date and in 1817 he was the first winner of the Prix de Rome for historical landscape painting. He set off for Italy where he arrived early in 1818 and remained until 1821, travelling as far as Sicily. Back in Paris in 1822, Michallon opened his studio to students, including Corot and Léon Fleury. That year, however, a sudden illness led to Michallon's death at the age of 26, ending the brief career of perhaps the most promising landscape painter of his generation.