Jean-Philippe Dallaire was born in Hull, Quebec in 1916. He studied art at the Hull Technical School from 1932 to 1934, and in 1935, studied drawing and painting at the Central Technical School in Toronto. In 1938, he received a scholarship from the Government of Quebec to study in Paris, where he attended the Atelier d'Art Sacré and the Académie André Lhote. He also worked in his studio at Montmartre. While in Paris, he became familiar with the work of Picasso and the surrealists and met Alfred Pellan.
During the German Occupation of 1940 to 1944, Dallaire was placed in an internment camp for four years, where he continued to paint. After the war, he returned to Canada where he taught painting at the École des beaux-arts in Quebec City from 1945 to 1952. He then worked as a draughtsman of film strips for the National Film Board of Canada, first in Ottawa from 1952 to 1956, and then in Montreal from 1956 to 1958. Dallaire also had his own studio, where he created large canvases.
In 1959, Dallaire returned to France. He lived in Venice until his death in 1965, at the young age of 49.