Gauffier was a successful neoclassical painter. He was joint winner of the French Academy's Rome prize in 1784, at the age of 22, which provided a scholarship for three years' study at the French Academy in Rome. There he continued his academic training, drawing from pieces of classical sculpture and casts, which provided the basis for his classical paintings. Gauffier returned briefly to Paris in 1789 but preferred Italy. He moved from Rome to Florence with his family in 1793 and painted portraits, conversation pieces and some landscapes during his short life.