Nicolas Desportes was a student of his uncle Alexandre-François and of the portrait painter Hyacinthe Rigaud. After beginnings at a portrait painter he became a still-life painter following the family tradition. He became a candidate (agrée) at the Paris Academy in 1755 and a full member (reçu) in 1757 with a painting of two dogs fighting (Fontainebleau). He exhibited at the Paris Salon betweem 1755 and 1771. Nicolas Desportes continued the style and the dense compositions of his uncle that were already old-fashioned from the late 1720s, but applied a lighter, Rococo colour scheme to his works.