Gauffier, a student of the history painter Hugues Taraval (1729 - 1785), won the Prix de Rome in 1784. He then travelled to Italy where, with the exception of a brief return to Paris in 1789, he seems to have spent the rest of his short life. As things became difficult at the French Academy with the political upheavals of the French Revolution, Gauffier moved to Florence where he made a living painting portraits of French military officers and international travellers, often with landscape backgrounds. He also painted large-scale landscapes. He died in Florence in 1801.