15+ Famous French Artists Who Ruled the Art World

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Welcome to France, the ‘land of art’ which has given the world some of the most famous artworks and artists as well.

France is known for its rich culture, history of art, and artists!

Also, it is France where the Impressionist movement originated!

Whether it be primitive times or modern times, French art is something which has inspired artists from all over the world. 

Not every artist from France went mainstream in a single shot!

Artworks of many famous french artists came in the limelight after their death. And their paintings are now either housed in the Louvre museum or any other museum around the globe.  

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Claude Monet (1840-1926)

A famous french artist Claude Monet standing next to his painting.
Image Source: wikimedia, britanica

Claude Monet was the most famous French artist who was known as the master of light and father of impressionism.

He was the most-talked about painter from Paris.

The Impressionism movement was founded and guided by none other than him. 

He was dedicated towards finding improved methods of painting along with that he was known as the best impressionist artist. 

He began painting seascapes, landscapes and he finally moved to portraits. Some of his famous landscape series include Impression, Sunrise which is Claude Monet’s most talked about painting.

Claude Monet is widely famous for portraying and capturing the beauty of the French countryside, especially the water lily ponds.

Some of the famous paintings by Claude Monet include Water Lilies, Poplars, Rouen Cathedral, etc.

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Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)

Paul Gauguin was a famous French painter .
Image Source: artsandculture.google

Paul Gauguin, a post-impressionist artist who was known for using vivid colors to create unique and creative designs.

He played an important role in pushing the Primitivism movement.

He was a painter, sculptor, printmaker, and ceramist who played a crucial role in the Symbolist movement.

Due to his ongoing financial struggles he had to move from one place to another to be able to create his art in peace.

He then moved to Tahiti in the year 1891 and he lived most of his life there. 

And to the surprise most of his work was inspired by his life at the island.

His most talked about and best work is titled ‘Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?’ which he published in the year 1898.

Suggested Read: Famous Renaissance Artists

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

Edgar Degas, one of the famous French painter standing next to his painting.
Image Source: wikipedia, arthive

Edgar Degas was one of the founders of the French impressionist artist movement.

Known for his drawings, prints, oil paintings, and sculptures, his artwork revolved majorly around dance and opera houses.

He created some of the most famous realism paintings of the era and used pastel colors to make his paintings.

Along with time he made multiple efforts to distance himself with the movement in which he was one of the leading leaders.

He is considered to be one of the greatest French artists of all the time as he portrayed the movement unlike any other and better way.

He rose to fame with his art which focused on dance and art movements.

Some of the famous paintings and artworks by Edgar include, The Ballet Class, The Absinthe Drinker, The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, etc.

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)

Paul Cézanne was a famous french artist who is standing Infront of his still life painting.
Image Source: wikipedia, artsandculture.google

While talking about the famous French artists, how can we forget to talk about Paul Cézanne?

His work is believed to have acted as a connecting bridge between the impressionist movement of the 19th century to the dominant style of the 20th century Cubism movement.

He was known for creating masterpieces with his palette knife and also this phase led to the development of modern expressionism. 

He was titled as ‘Father of modern art’ by Picasso after Cezanne’s death in 1906.

Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Pierre Renoir, have stated that Paul Cezanne was the father of them all.

Some of his famous paintings are, The Large Bathers, The Card Players, Apples and Oranges, etc. 

Suggested Read: Famous Cubist Paintings

Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

Famous french artist Henri Matisse
Image Source: blog.artsper.com, www.henrimatisse.org

Henri Matisse was one of the leading pillars in the Fauvism movement and played an influential role in modern art.

He was well-versed with various mediums.

These mediums include sculpture, paper cutouts, and more.

When his health started degrading he then invented a brand new medium as the paper cut-out, in which he cut forms from colored paper and arranged them as collages. 

Some of his famous artworks include La Danse, Woman with a hat, The Joy of life, etc. 

Fun fact: Matisse shared a lifelong friendship and rivalry with Pablo Picasso, they both took inspiration from each other’s work.

Suggested Read: Famous Baroque Artists

Georges Braque (1882-1963)

Famous French Artist Georges Braque
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org, www.thoughtco.com

Georges Braque is known as one of the most famous French artists from the 20th century.

He was indeed a painter but he was also a famous collage artist, a printmaker, a sculptor, and a draftsman.

The Fauvism movement which began in 1905, inspired the artist to a large extent.

Georges was influenced by Paul Cézanne’s work during the time when he started working.

Soon after he met Picasso, Braque’s painting style changed a lot. He modified the style and themes in his artwork to reflect happier times.

Braque, along with the already famous Pablo Picasso, launched the idea of cubism which led to the cubism movement.  

Some of Brauqe’s famous works include, L’homme à la Guitare (Man with a guitar), Fruit Dish, etc. 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)

Famous French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org, www.lefotografiechehannofattolastoria.it

Pierre-Auguste Renoir had a very unique and powerful style of creating art and was one of the french impressionism painters.

With time he distanced himself from the ongoing impressionism movement and he then took inspiration from classical art.

He took inspiration from a mix of relaxing social scenes and nude women to create some of his famous Renoir paintings.

In many of his paintings he has used vibrant and vivid colors in a light stroke to focus on the vibrancy and greenery of life with human skin involved (both dressed and undressed).

Some of his famous artworks include, Reclining Nude from the Back, Rest after the Bath, The Bathers, etc.

Renoir created several masterpieces, some of them still rule the galleries of famous museums like Louvre. How about getting a Louvre fame Renoir artwork for your home?

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Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) 

One of the famous French Artists Eugéne Delacroix
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org

Eugéne Delacroix was one of the greatest and famous French artists who was one of the famous romanticism artists and was known as the master of color, movement and drama. 

He was the leader of the Romanticism art movement  in 19th-century French art.

He spent most of his time moving from North Africa to find models for his paintings.

Painting by Eugene which caught the attention was Liberty Leading the People which is a depiction of battle. It is housed in the Louvre museum.

Fun Fact: Eugene’s house in Paris was converted into a museum in the 1920’s and is now attached to the Louvre museum.

Suggested Read: Artists Of Romanticism

Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)

One of the famous French artists Jean-Auguste Dominique.
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org, www.gutenberg.org

Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres was a French painter, draftsman, and sculptor whose work is described as Neoclassicism.

He created artworks which acted like a stable bridge  between Neoclassicism and Romanticism. 

His work was appreciated when he was alive, unlike many painters whose work was praised after their death.

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He was known as the leader of the Neoclassical school in France during the Paris Salon of 1824 with reference to his The Vow of Louis XIII painting.

He won many awards, including being Jacques-Louis David’s most gifted student ever.

Some of his famous works include, The Ambassadors of Agamemnon in the Tent of Achilles, The Turkish bath, The source, Napoleon I on His Imperial Throne, etc.

Gustave Courbet (1819-1877)

A famous French artist Gustave Courbet
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org, www.sartle.com

Gustave Courbet was born in the year 1819 to a middle class family in a rural area.

He is the person behind the realism movement and one of the Famous french painters who experienced growth with immense struggles. 

His prime focus was the lower class people which included peasants and workers.

He used larger sized canvases even though they were solely used by the nobles.

The nobles created and painted sceneries, and on the other hand he focused on the paintings which brought out the realistic way of art.

After 1860 he continued to create a series of paintings which featured sensual subjects and nude women which sparked a lot of debate and controversies. 

Some of his famous paintings include, Femme nue couchée, Young Bather, The origin of the world, etc.

Edouard Manet (1832-1883)

Famous French Artist Edouard Manet
Image Source: blog.eftours.com, bonjourparis.com

Edouard Manet was a realist who lived a short but powerful life in the history of art.

As someone who never left his studio in order to create art he was considered as an influential person.

His passion towards his art can clearly be seen in the famous French artist’s paintings.

He isn’t considered to be a true impressionist, but he was one of the first painters in the 19th century to focus on modern subjects.

He is considered as one of the most influential people amid the transition from realism to impressionism.

Some of his famous paintings were: Luncheon on the Grass, Olympia, etc.

Suggested Read: Famous Artists of Japan

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)

A famous french artist Henri de Toulouse Lautrec
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org, www.sothebys.com

Copywriting in the 18th century? Yes! That’s what Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec did!

He was a post-impressionist painter who was known for his vibrant and provocative paintings!

He was a well-versed painter with amazing knowledge of advertising and also he sold many posters and banners when he was young and he earned a lump sum amount of money.

Unfortunately,he suffered from accidents in his teenage years which resulted in him breaking his legs.

Due to an unknown medical condition he had short legs during his adulthood. 

But his short legs didn’t stop him from living a wild lifestyle! 

He was known as an alcoholic and he hung out at the brothel which is the reason his artwork always depicted his friends hanging out at the brothel.

He was the person behind french famous art getting the deserved hype which included his paintings: Le Lit, La Toilette, etc.

Paul Signac (1863-1935)

paul Signac Is a famous french artist
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The great Paul Signac, who was not only a famous french painter but was a neo-impressionist painter. 

Along with Georges Seurat and Henri-Admond Cross he discovered the pointillist style.

It was Paul Signac, who came up with the name “Pointillism.”

He rose to fame after his paintings, which were created with small dots of vivid colors, caught attention from a lot of people.

Signac was not just a painter, he was an excellent writer as well. 

He has several books under his name which were based on the theory of art which were published in the late 18th century. 

Adelaide labille-guiard (1749-1803)

One of the famous female french artists Adelaide labille-guiard
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org, nmwa.org

She was one of the prominent female French artists. 

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A woman who was known as a rebel, one of the first women to join the royal family. 

She was a strong French advocate for women who stood up against the motto that women should be given the same chance as men in the world of paintings.

She believed that women stood the equal chance to become great painters like men.

She was the youngest amongst 8 children and also she was one of the first women to be a part of the royal family.

She bravely managed to survive the 1789 revolution as she hailed from a middle class background. 

During her initial times she was the painter for Marie-Antoinette and the royal family.

She was granted a pension of 2,000 livres and a brand new artist’s lodging at the Louvre after the 1795 height of revolution. 

She was the first woman artist who was allowed to set up a studio all by herself and for her students at the Louvre.  

Suggested Read: Famous Black Artists

Berthe Morisot (1841-1895)

Bethe Morisot is a famous french artist
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org, in.pinterest.com

Berthe Morisot was an impressionist painter who was a famous French artist in Paris during the late 19th century.

She was known for her signature soft brush strokes and light colors, which represented the feminine essence in her paintings. 

Her painting style was also known to be delicate and feminine.

Some of her famous works include: The Cradle, The Harbor at Lorient, etc.

Painters Who Weren’t ‘Actually’ From France

The above mentioned artists were the famous French artists who hailed from the region of France.

But, on the other hand there were artists like Van Gogh who were not from France but most of their life and art were spent and made in France, hence let’s talk about them in brief as well!

Vincent Van Gogh (1890-1953)

Vincent Van Gogh is a famous French artist
Image Source: www.metmuseum.org, www.singulart.com

Even though Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter, still, he rose to fame in France and spent most of his life there.

Amid his declining mental health and also major financial issues he continued to work.

He created more than 2000 paintings out of which 860 were oil paintings.

He is one of the greatest artists of all time who still influences western art and artists around the globe. 

He has many famous artworks under his name, some of them are, The Starry Night, Sunflowers, The Siesta, etc.

Explore Van Gogh replica art that could make it to your walls at an affordable price starting at $210. Amazing right?

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Pablo Picasso is a famous French artist
Image Source: www.pablopicasso.org, www.wsj.com

Pablo Picasso, a very well known artist who is famous around the globe for his vibrant artworks.

He had moved to France from Spain at the age of 19 and then stayed till his last breath in France.

He lived his 91 years of life with passion and his artwork was praised while he was alive. 

On his 90th birthday, some of his famous artworks were displayed in the Louvre museum. 

Some of his famous artworks include: La Vie, Family of Saltimbanques, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, etc. 

So, This Was It!

So this was it about the famous French artists who have impacted and influenced the modern art society with their future-oriented vision and approach towards their art!

From expressing their pain and sorrows to being a rebel through art, these famous French artists never missed a chance.

They all have contributed to a world which respects both the artist and their artworks as well.

These artists took a stand for themselves and they are now an inspiration to the art enthusiasts around the globe.

Author’s Note

If you are still here, then thank you for reading this article till the end.

There are many artists which shall be included in the list of famous French artists and I will try to cover them in the upcoming blogs as well!

Your thoughts matter to me, so feel free to leave your valuable feedback in the comment.

In the meantime, explore our reproduction paintings, which are specifically crafted to match the perfection of renowned artworks. 

Also, make sure to follow PortaitFlip on social media channels, such as Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.

au revoir!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Who was the most famous French artist?

Claude Monet was one of the most famous French artist. He also coined the term and movement of “Impressionism”.

Q2. Name 6 best French artists.

There are many famous French artists, six of them are:
1. Henri Matisse
2. Auguste Rodin
3. Paul Cezanne
4. Pierre-Auguste Renoir
5. Adelaide labille-guiard
6. Edouard Manet

Q3. Name two famous female French artists.

The two famous female French artists are: Adelaide labille-guiard and Berthe Morisot.

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