Drouais was born in Pont-Audemer in Normandy, the son of Anne Talon and the painter Jean Drouais. Hubert followed in his father’s footsteps and received his first lessons from him before leaving for Rouen to further his skills. He then decided to make it to Paris, although he was so poor that, unable to afford the cost of the trip, he had to work his way on the road to his destination.
He devoted himself particularly to the portrait, and was the best pupil of the portraitist François de Troy, who is linked through his own master and through Rigaud to the grand tradition of Van Dyck. He soon acquired an ease that made him look like one of the first painters in this genre. As he was making progress, he would visit his homeland, as if to honor it with his first successes. His father’s approval and his countrymen’s encouragements were his sweetest rewards. He excelled in the genres of portraiture and miniature. Although in different parts that characterize a good painter, one who has done most to admire its color is fresh and bright.
On the death of Troy, Drouais was employed by Jean-Baptiste van Loo, Jean-Baptiste Oudry and Jean-Marc Nattier. He was in fashion at the court of Louis XV as a portraitist, painting not only princes and princesses, but the actresses of Comédie-Française and opera girls, like the Camargo, Mlle Gautier, Mlle Pelissier, the Gaussin, as well.
Drouais was received at the Académie de peinture et de sculpture on November 29, 1730. At his death, rue des Orties, his funeral was celebrated at the Église Saint-Roch. He had two children with Margaret Lusurier whom he had married on February 22, 1727. His son François-Hubert, whose first master he was, and his grandson Jean-Germain were painters like him and in his old age he had the satisfaction to see his son also enter the Académie de peinture. He died at Paris.
- Robert le Lorrain (1666–1743)
- Mademoiselle Marie Pelissier
- Joseph Christophe (1662–1748)
- Mademoiselle Gauthier, 1737
- Madame de France, 1741
- Monsieur le Vicomte de Courtenier, 1741
- Madame la Vicomtesse de Courtenier, 1741
- Madame Héry
- Madame Courgy
- Mademoiselle Gossin tenant un livre, 1746
- Mademoiselle Drouais, sa fille, tenant un chat, 1746
- Le Fils de l’auteur, 1746
- Monsieur Jacquemain tenant un crayon, 1746
- Mademoiselle ***, 1746
- Mademoiselle *** tenant des fleurs, 1746
- Demoiselle qui rit, 1746
- La Camargo.
- He was baptized at Saint-Samson-de-la-Roque.
- Chaudon, Louis-Mayeul (1822). Dictionnaire historique, critique et bibliographique, contenant les vies des hommes illustres, célèbres ou fameux, de tous les pays et de tous les siècles, suivi d’un dictionnaire abrégé des mythologies, et d’un tableau chronologique des événements les plus remarquables qui ont eu location depuis le commencement du monde jusqu’à nos jours. 9. Paris: Ménard et Desenne. p. 171.
- Feller, François-Xavier (1867). Biographie universelle des hommes qui se sont fait un last par génie, leurs talents, leur vertus, leurs erreurs, ou leurs crimes (in French). 3. Bruxelles: J.B. Pélagaud. p. 326.
- Piot, Eugène (1863). Le Cabinet de l’amateur (in French). Firmin Didot. p. 189. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
- (in French) C. Gabillot, « Les Trois Drouais », in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, vol. II ; 1906, vol. I, 1905.