Restout was born and died in Paris. A son of Jean II Restout and like him a member of the Académie de Rouen, he won the Prix de Rome in 1758 and was aggregated to the Académie royale on his return from Italy in 1765, then received into it in 1769. However, he refused to conform to its rules led to a quarrel. He frequently exhibited at the Salon de Paris from 1767 to 1791. On the French Revolution, he was president of the Commune des Arts which campaigned, with its founder David, for the suppression of the Académie. Made guardian of the Garde-Meuble royal by Roland during the Revolution, this favour nearly cost him his life during the Reign of Terror when Roland and his friends were implicated in the after of the theft from the Garde-Meuble. Suspected, he was imprisoned and only released on the fall of Robespierre on 9 Thermidor.