Top 10 Most Famous French Artists

Added by Nicola Porrill on Dec 16, 2016
famous french artists

France is a country of passion. French is the language of love and Paris is one of the fashion capitals of the world. How does this all link? Creativity. Expression. Beauty. And, most importantly, art.

France has been one of the most influential countries in the world when it comes to exploring art and creativity. There is a stereotype of a French man wearing a beret and holding a paintbrush and an artist's palette for a reason! Since the dawn of time France has churned out artist after talented artist. Let's take a look at ten of the most famous and talented painters and sculptors ever to have called France home. Allons-y!

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Henri Matisse

Born: December 31, 1869, Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France
Artist Type: Painter

You may have learned about Matisse at school, long before you ever realized what you were learning. I know I certainly did! Matisse was a painter who is also known for his collage-style paper cut-outs, which are copied by kindergarten-age kids around the globe. With regards to his paintings, they often had unconventional, unnatural colors, in a style which was unusual at the time. As a result, he became known as one of the 'Fauves', or 'wild beasts', which does seem like a bit of an overreaction! His most famous works include Portrait of Madame Matisse and Le bonheur de vivre, both of which were created relatively recently. Matisse may have been born in the 19th Century but he only died in 1954.

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Édouard Manet

Born: January 23, 1832, Paris, France
Artist Type: Painter

As if the distinction between Manet and Monet (who we'll get to later) wasn't confusing enough, this painter was both a Realist and an Impressionist. He may be one of the most famous French artists of all time in his own right, but it cannot be ignored that many of his paintings were influenced by other classics which had been created some years previously. For example, Olympia (which is his most famous painting) bears an uncanny resemblance to Titian's work entitled The Venus of Urbino. I can't help but feel that if Manet had put as much effort into developing his own images and scenes as he did into referencing other people's, the evidence of his talents and skills would have been even greater! Nevertheless, his last major work was A Bar at the Follies-Bergère, which also ended up becoming one of his most recognizable paintings.

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