Born Joseph Auguste Bracquemond in 1833, he first worked as a circus rider. He gained artistic training studying under Joseph Guichard and made an early reputation as an etcher and lithographer, which he taught to Edouard Manet. His first exhibition was in 1852 at the Salon and in 1863 his engravings of Erasmus placed in the Salon des Refuses.
Although Bracquemond's paintings attracted considerable attention, he tended to favor graphic arts and was one of the first to discover the artistic importance of Japanese woodcuts. He married the painter Marie Quiveron in 1869, who gained fame as an artist in her own right. Bracquemont was appointed art director of the Sevres porcelain factory in 1871 and the following year took the same position at the Haviland porcelain factory in Limoges where he remained until 1879. He was awarded the Grand Prixe de Gravure at the Paris World Fair in 1900.