Duchenne de Boulognee enrolled at the University of Douai where he received his Baccalauréat at the age of 19. He then trained under a number of distinguished Paris physicians including René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laënnec (1781-1826) and Baron Guillaume Dupuytren (1777-1835) before returning to Boulogne and setting up in practice there.
Duchenne de Boulogne maintained a lifelong medical practice, first in Boulogne (1831-1842) and later in Paris (1842-1875), during which time he pioneered several neurological advancements.
Duchenne and his patient, an "old toothless man, with a thin face, whose features, without being absolutely ugly, approached ordinary triviality"
Demonstration of the mechanics of facial expression. Duchenne and an assistant faradize the mimetic muscles of "The Old Man."
G.-B. Duchenne de Boulogne, Synoptic plate 4 from Le Mécanisme de la Physionomie Humaine. 1862, albumen print. In the upper row and the lower two rows, patients with different expressions on either side of their faces
Quotes from others about the person
The American neurologist Dr. Joseph Collins (1866-1950) wrote that Duchenne found neurology: "a sprawling infant of unknown parentage which he succored to a lusty youth."
Duchenne married a local woman, and, following the birth of their son, his wife died. This resulted in a lengthy period of personal difficulties for Duchenne with his family and in a prolonged estrangement from his son (who later followed Duchenne into medical practice) and they were only reunited towards the end of his life.