Jean Puy started his studies under Tony Tollet at the Académie des Beaux Arts in Lyon, before continuing under Jean-Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1898. He met many of Gustave Moreau’s students at Eugène Carrière’s studio, forming friendships with Matisse and Derain, with whom he started exhibiting in 1904 at the Salon d’Automne. He became sociétaire the following year. Though his style was perhaps more conservative than the aforementioned Fauves, they shared similar interests in landscape painting. The critic Louis Vauxcelles wrote (in 1938): ‘Contemporary art historians…do not agree on the names of the true Fauves. The only ones over whom there is no possible hesitation are Vlaminck, Derain, Matisse, Marquet, Puy, Manguin, Friesz, Dufy, Camoin.
Having initially served at the front in World War One, he then joined the camouflage section along with fellow artists Charles Camoin, Jacques Villon and Dunoyer de Segonzac.
He traveled to Paris, Brittany and the Côte d’Azur in the 1920s, finally settling in Lyon and participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout his life.
A retrospective of his work was organised in 1988 in Roanne, his birthplace.