Famous French Artists

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Find out more about the greatest French Artists, including Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Brittany, Marcel Duchamp and Henri Matisse.
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 1 
Marc Chagall
(Jewish-French Artist Who was a Pioneer of Modernism)
Marc Chagall
6
Birthdate: July 6, 1887
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lizona, Belarus
Died: March 28, 1985

Russian-French artist Marc Chagall, a key figure of modernism, had explored a wide range of media as an artist, from paintings and drawings to stained glass and ceramics. His major projects included the ceiling of the Paris Opéra, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Jerusalem Windows of Israel.

 2 
Françoise Gilot
(French Painter Best Known for Her Relationship with 'Pablo Picasso')
Françoise Gilot
5
Birthdate: November 26, 1921
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

Françoise Gilot is a French painter whose professional career was overshadowed by her long and turbulent relationship with Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. After breaking up with Picasso, with whom Gilot had two children, the former deterred galleries from buying her work. He even tried blocking the release of her memoir Life With Picasso which was released in 1964.

 3 
Henri Rousseau
5
Birthdate: May 21, 1844
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Laval, France
Died: September 2, 1910
 4 
Henri Cartier-Bresson
(Photographer and Painter)
Henri Cartier-Bresson
5
Birthdate: August 22, 1908
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chanteloup-en-Brie, France
Died: August 3, 2004

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French humanist photographer. Considered a master of candid photography, he pioneered the genre of street photography. He was among the earliest users of the 35 mm film. In 1947, he became one of the founding members of Magnum Photos, an international photographic cooperative. In his later years, he explored drawing and painting. 

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 5 
Gustave Doré
(Artist Best Known for His Prolific Output of Wood-Engravings and Illustrated Texts)
Gustave Doré
6
Birthdate: January 6, 1832
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France
Died: January 23, 1883

Best known for his wood-engraving, Gustave Doré was a child prodigy who began his artwork at the tender age of 5. A master lithographer and caricaturist, he began his career with Journal pour Rire. He also worked on commissions from authors such as Cervantes, Milton, and Dante.

 6 
Dora Maar
(French Photographer and Painter Known for Her Nine-Year Relationship with 'Pablo Picasso')
Dora Maar
4
Birthdate: November 22, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 16, 1997

Born to a French mother and a Croatian father, Dora Maar spent her childhood in Argentina and later studied art in Paris. The renowned surrealist artist and photographer later gained fame as Pablo Picasso’s lover and muse, and was featured in his paintings such as Weeping Woman.

 7 
Marie Tussaud
(French Wax Sculpture Artist and Founder of 'Madame Tussauds', the Wax Museum in London)
Marie Tussaud
4
Birthdate: December 1, 1761
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France
Died: April 16, 1850

Marie Tussaud was a French artist and sculptor best remembered for her wax sculptures. She founded Madame Tussauds, a wax museum, in London in 1835. The museum is a major tourist attraction today. As a young girl, she learned wax modeling from doctor cum wax modeler Philippe Curtius. In the ensuing years, she became a prominent sculptor.

 8 
Georges Braque
(Painter Best Known for Inventing Cubism with Pablo Picasso)
Georges Braque
4
Birthdate: May 13, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Argenteuil, France
Died: August 31, 1963

French painter Georges Braque is considered one of the pioneers of Cubism. His 1908 masterpiece Large Nude is one of his most celebrated pieces. Critics often argue whether Braque or Picasso had first begun developing Cubism, and many of their works are very similar in nature.

 9 
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
(French Sculptor and Painter Best Known for Designing the 'Statue of Liberty')
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
4
Birthdate: August 2, 1834
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Colmar, France
Died: October 4, 1904

Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi was a French painter and sculptor remembered for designing the Statue of Liberty. He is also credited with designing other iconic statues like The Lion of Belfort and Marquis de Lafayette. In addition to being a sculptor, Bartholdi also played an important role in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, serving as a liaison officer to Giuseppe Garibaldi.

 10 
Berthe Morisot
4
Birthdate: January 14, 1841
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bourges, France
Died: March 2, 1895
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
4
Birthdate: August 29, 1780
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montauban, France
Died: January 14, 1867
 12 
Claude Cahun
(French Photographer Known for Her Self-Portraits and Tableaux That Incorporated a Surrealist Style and Gender Fluidity)
Claude Cahun
3
Birthdate: October 25, 1894
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nantes, France
Died: December 8, 1954

Claude Cahun was a French sculptor, surrealist photographer, and writer. He is best remembered for his work as a self-portraitist and writer. Apart from his primary career, Claude Cahun also played a major role in the Second World War, serving as a propagandist and resistance worker.

 13 
Rosa Bonheur
(French Artist and Sculptor Known Best as a Painter of Animals)
Rosa Bonheur
3
Birthdate: March 16, 1822
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: May 25, 1899

Rosa Bonheur was a French artist and sculptor whose paintings have been preserved in popular museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Musée d'Orsay. An influential personality, Bonheur was widely regarded as the 19th century's most popular female painter. An open lesbian, Rosa Bonheur stood out as a groundbreaking individual both in her personal life and her career.

 14 
Nicolas Poussin
(French Painter)
Nicolas Poussin
4
Birthdate: June 15, 1594
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Near Les Andelys, Normandy, Kingdom of France (now France)
Died: November 19, 1665

The founder of the French Classical tradition, painter Nicolas Poussin was initially influenced by Venetian art but later deviated to antiquity. Most of his paintings showcased historical, mythological, biblical elements but some were also inspired by landscapes and poetry. The Death of the Virgin remains one of his best-known works.

 15 
Joseph Ducreux
(Former Painter who was a successful portraitist at the court of Louis XVI of France)
Joseph Ducreux
3
Birthdate: June 26, 1735
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nancy, France
Died: July 24, 1802
 16 
Jean-François Millet
3
Birthdate: October 4, 1814
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gréville-Hague, La Hague, France
Died: January 20, 1875
 17 
Mr. Brainwash
4
Birthdate: 1966 AD
Birthplace: Garges-lès-Gonesse, France
 18 
Suzanne Valadon
3
Birthdate: September 23, 1865
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bessines-sur-Gartempe, France
Died: April 7, 1938
 19 
Andre Derain
(French Artist, Painter, Sculptor and Co-founder of 'Fauvism')
Andre Derain
3
Birthdate: June 10, 1880
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Garches, France
Died: September 8, 1954

Andre Derain is considered a co-founder of Fauvism, along with fellow artist Henri Matisse, who was one of his classmates at the Académie Carriere. He also created theatrical décor for Ballets Russes and woodcut book illustrations for authors such as Antonin Artaud and André Breton.

 20 
Niki de Saint Phalle
4
Birthdate: October 29, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Died: May 21, 2002

Niki de Saint Phalle was a French-American painter, sculptor, and filmmaker. She gained prominence as a monumental sculptor as not many women were renowned for their skills as monumental sculptors. Also remembered for her social work, Niki was one of the earliest artists to spread awareness about AIDS through art. She also wrote extensively in English and French.

 21 
Tarrare
(Showman)
Tarrare
12
Birthdate: 1772 AD
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: 1798 AD
Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun
3
Birthdate: April 16, 1755
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 30, 1842
 23 
Robert Delaunay
3
Birthdate: April 12, 1885
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 25, 1941
 24 
François Boucher
3
Birthdate: September 29, 1703
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 30, 1770
 25 
Sonia Delaunay
(Ukrainian-French Artist and Co-Founder of the ‘Orphism Art Movement’)
Sonia Delaunay
3
Birthdate: November 13, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hradyz'k, Ukraine
Died: December 5, 1979

A pioneer of abstract art and Orphism, French artist Sonia Delaunay was the first living female to have an exhibition at the Louvre Museum. Her art extended to stage sets, pottery, and fabrics. She and her husband, Robert Delaunay, collaborated on various public projects, including murals.

André Le Nôtre
3
Birthplace: Paris

André Le Nôtre was a 17th-century French landscape architect. Born into a family of gardeners, he later became the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France. He is credited with designing the gardens of the Palace of Versailles. His other works include the design of gardens and parks at Saint-Cloud, Chantilly, Fontainebleau, and Saint-Germain. 

 27 
Yves Klein
(French Artist Who Was Known for His Daring Experiments and Monochrome Paintings)
Yves Klein
4
Birthdate: April 28, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: June 6, 1962

Known for his blue monochrome paintings, French artist Yves Klein was a major figure of the Nouveau réalisme art movement. Though born to artist parents, he initially mastered judo and even taught it. His experiments included fire paintings and his Anthropométries, which involved naked models covered in paint pressing against canvases.

 28 
Gustave Moreau
(French Symbolist Painter Known for His Erotic Paintings of Mythological and Religious Subjects)
Gustave Moreau
3
Birthdate: April 6, 1826
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 18, 1898

French Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau is best remembered for his erotic paintings of mythological and religious figures. His works were deeply influenced by Théodore Chassériau, his teacher, and later by the Italian Renaissance. The Apparition and Jupiter and Sémélé remain two of his best-known works.

 29 
Chris Marker
(Film producer, Film critic, Film director, Photographer, Artist, Screenwriter, Film editor, Television producer, Multimedia artist, Journalist, Cinematographer, Teacher, Poet)
Chris Marker
3
Birthdate: July 29, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine
Died: July 29, 2012

Chris Marker was a French photographer, writer, multimedia artist, film director, and film essayist. He is considered an exponent of the Left Bank subgroup of the French New Wave that came into existence in the 1950s and 1960s. After starting his career by working with members of the Left Bank Film Movement, Marker went on to help popularize the genre.

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin
3
Birthdate: November 2, 1699
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 6, 1779
 31 
René Goscinny
(Cartoonist who created the Astérix comic book series)
René Goscinny
3
Birthdate: August 14, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, French Third Republic France
Died: November 5, 1977
 32 
Francis Picabia
(French Avant-Garde Painter and Poet Who was One of the Early Major Figures of the 'Dada Movement')
Francis Picabia
3
Birthdate: January 22, 1879
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 30, 1953
Francis Picabia was a French avant-garde painter, typographist, and poet. He is best remembered for his highly abstract planar compositions, which are rich in contrasts. One of the most influential figures of the Dada movement, Francis Picabia helped popularize Dadaism in France and in the United States of America. 
 33 
Alexandre Cabanel
(Former Painter, who painted historical, classical and religious subjects in the academic style)
Alexandre Cabanel
3
Birthdate: September 28, 1823
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montpellier, France
Died: January 23, 1889
 34 
Théodore Géricault
3
Birthdate: September 26, 1791
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rouen, France
Died: January 26, 1824
 35 
Jacques Charrier
(French Actor, Film Producer, and Artist)
Jacques Charrier
3
Birthdate: November 6, 1936
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Metz, France

Jacques Charrier is a French actor, film producer, and artist. He achieved popularity in the late-1950s and early-1960s, thanks to his highly publicized marriage and subsequent divorce with popular film actress Brigitte Bardot. Jacques Charrier is also known for his art work, which has been exhibited in Paris, San Francisco, and Geneva.

 36 
Jean Dubuffet
(Painter, Sculptor)
Jean Dubuffet
3
Birthdate: July 31, 1901
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Le Havre, France
Died: May 12, 1985

French painter and sculptor Jean Dubuffet pioneered what is known as art brut, or raw art. He halted his painting classes to be a wine merchant for a while and returned to painting after almost two decades. He had also experimented with music, study of languages, and poetry.

 37 
Jean Louis
(Artist, Screenwriter, Costume designer)
Jean Louis
3
Birthdate: October 5, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris
Died: April 20, 1997

Jean Louis was a French-born costume designer who worked predominantly in Hollywood. In an illustrious Hollywood career that spanned more than four decades, Louis designed outfits for almost every Hollywood star including Rita Hayworth, Lucille Ball, and Judy Garland. Jean Louis is also credited with designing Marilyn Monroe's iconic dress worn at President John F. Kennedy's 45th birthday celebration.

 38 
Odilon Redon
(Painter)
Odilon Redon
3
Birthdate: April 20, 1840
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: July 6, 1916
 39 
Georges de La Tour
3
Birthdate: March 13, 1593
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vic-sur-Seille
Died: January 30, 1652
 40 
Balthus
(Biography)
Balthus
3
Birthdate: February 29, 1908
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 18, 2001
 41 
Jean Metzinger
3
Birthdate: June 24, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nantes, France
Died: November 3, 1956
Isabelle Collin Dufresne
3
Birthdate: September 6, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: La Tronche, France
Died: June 14, 2014
 43 
Brassaï
(Photographer, Artist and Writer Known for His Dramatic Photographs of Paris at Night)
Brassaï
3
Birthdate: September 9, 1899
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brașov, Romania
Died: July 8, 1984

Gyula Halász, or Brassaï, derived his pseudonym from the city of his birth, Brassó, then in Hungary. Later, he moved to Paris, where he began his career as a photographer. He published his works in volumes such as Paris de nuit. He was also a sculptor and a poet.

 44 
Tsuguharu Foujita
(Japanese–French Painter and Printmaker)
Tsuguharu Foujita
3
Birthdate: November 27, 1886
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: January 29, 1968

Tsuguharu Foujita was a Japanese expatriate painter, known for his nude paintings, portraits, city scenes and painting of cats. Moving to Paris at the age of 25, he made friends with many aspiring artists including Picasso and Matisse, shortly becoming famous for his Reclining Nude with Toile de Jouy. He turned to more religious subjects towards the end of his lucrative career.  

 45 
Victorine Meurent
3
Birthdate: February 18, 1844
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 17, 1927
 46 
Édouard Vuillard
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1868
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cuiseaux, Saône-et-Loire, France
Died: June 21, 1940
 47 
Max Jacob
(Poet)
Max Jacob
3
Birthdate: July 12, 1876
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Quimper, France
Died: March 5, 1944
 48 
Maurice Utrillo
3
Birthdate: December 26, 1883
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Montmartre, Paris, France
Died: November 5, 1955
 49 
Paul Delaroche
(Former painter whose painstakingly realistic historical subjects made him one of the most successful academic artists of mid-19th-century France)
Paul Delaroche
3
Birthdate: July 17, 1797
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 4, 1856
 50 
Sophie Calle
(French Writer, Photographer, Installation Artist, and Conceptual Artist)
Sophie Calle
3
Birthdate: October 9, 1953
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France

Sophie Calle is a French photographer, writer, conceptual artist, and installation artist. Her work is associated with and evokes a popular French literary movement called Oulipo which came into existence in the 1960s. Renowned for her ability to investigate strangers, Calle’s work often depicts human vulnerability. Also an educator, Calle has taught at popular educational institutions like European Graduate School.