Born in Paris, Jules-Adolphe Goupil studied with Ary Scheffer and began exhibiting at the Salon of 1857 when he was just 18 years old. He won medals in 1873, 1874, 1875 and 1878. He was known for painting genre scenes and portraits with a wonderful tightness and exactitude. Soon after beginning a Salon career in his native Paris, Goupil moved on to exhibiting in Brussels and Munich.
His work evolved to include more historical subject matter and he began painting scenes of the French Revolution, which garnered him a wider international audience and acclaim. Late in life he was awarded the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur.