Worms studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts beginning in 1849. Early in his career, he worked as a printmaker and illustrator before turning to painting. He debuted at the Salon in 1859, winning medals in 1867, 1868, and 1869.
Worms shared a Paris studio with Vibert and Spanish painter Eduardo Zamacoïs in the 1860s. Worms traveled with his Spanish friends, and drew from Spain the subject of his most well-known genre paintings. Worms studied the works of Diego Velásquez and Francisco Goya. Worms learned from Velásquez the use of color and, from Goya, the uses of satire. Worms was known for his lively scenes of intrigue set against a colorful set.
American collectors sought out Worms’ work. By 1880, his paintings were in the collections of John Wolfe and his daughter Catherine Lorillard Wolfe. She later bequeathed the family’s collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and to James H. Stebbins.