Famous French Artists

Find out more about the greatest French Artists, including Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Brittany, Marcel Duchamp and Henri Matisse.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite French Artists

 1 Juliette Binoche

Juliette Binoche
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 9, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
French actor Juliette Binoche began her career with stage productions. She soared to fame with her Academy Award-winning role of Hana in The English Patient and her Academy Award-nominated role of Vianne in Chocolat. She has also been a marked political activist and has supported the Cambodian charity Enfants d'Asie.

 2 Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall
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Famous As: Artist
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.

 3 Édouard-Henri Avril

Édouard-Henri Avril
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: May 21, 1849
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Algiers [El Djazaïr], Algeria
Died: July 28, 1928

Before he revolutionized 19th-century erotica as Paul Avril, Édouard-Henri Avril was a soldier. An injury sustained in the Franco-Prussian War cut short his military life, and he was pushed into Paris sex salons to study art. His most notable works, such as the illustrations for Fanny Hill, were largely banned.

 4 Françoise Gilot

Françoise Gilot
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Famous As: Is a French Painter, Best known for her relationship with Pablo Picasso
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.

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 5 Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson
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Famous As: Photographer and Painter
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. 

 6 Henri Rousseau

Henri Rousseau
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: May 21, 1844
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Laval, France
Died: September 2, 1910

 7 Gustave Doré

Gustave Doré
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Famous As: Artist
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.

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 8 Marie Tussaud

Marie Tussaud
4
Famous As: Visual Artist, Wax Sculptor
Birthdate: December 7, 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.

 9 Georges Braque

Georges Braque
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Famous As: Painter
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.

 10 Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 14, 1841
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bourges, France
Died: March 2, 1895

 11 Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: August 29, 1780
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montauban, France
Died: January 14, 1867

 12 Claude Cahun

Claude Cahun
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Famous As: Former surrealist photographer, sculptor best known as a writer and self-portraitist, who assumed a variety of performative personae
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

Rosa Bonheur
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Famous As: Artist known best as a painter of animals
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

Nicolas Poussin
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Famous As: French Painter
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 Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi

Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
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Famous As: Sculptor
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.

 16 Mr. Brainwash

Mr. Brainwash
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: 1966 AD
Birthplace: Garges-lès-Gonesse, France

 17 Niki de Saint Phalle

Niki de Saint Phalle
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Famous As: Sculptors
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.

 18 Joseph Ducreux

Joseph Ducreux
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Famous As: Former Painter who was a successful portraitist at the court of Louis XVI of France
Birthdate: June 26, 1735
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nancy, France
Died: July 24, 1802

 19 Jean-François Millet

Jean-François Millet
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: October 4, 1814
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gréville-Hague, La Hague, France
Died: January 20, 1875

 20 Suzanne Valadon

Suzanne Valadon
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: September 23, 1865
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bessines-sur-Gartempe, France
Died: April 7, 1938

 21 René Goscinny

René Goscinny
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Famous As: Cartoonist who created the Astérix comic book series
Birthdate: August 14, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, French Third Republic France
Died: November 5, 1977

 22 Tarrare

Tarrare
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Famous As: Showman
Birthdate: 1772 AD
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: 1798 AD

 23 Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun

Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: April 16, 1755
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 30, 1842

 24 François Boucher

François Boucher
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: September 29, 1703
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 30, 1770

 25 Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay
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Famous As: Artist
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.

 26 André Le Nôtre

André Le Nôtre
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Birthdate: 0000 AD
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 Victor Vasarely

Victor Vasarely
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Famous As: Artist, who was known as the grandfather of the short-lived op art movement in the 1930s
Birthdate: April 9, 1906
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pécs, Hungary
Died: March 15, 1997

Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely pioneered the Op Art movement, using geometric angles and depth in works such as Vega-Nor. He initially worked as a graphic artist in advertising agencies and then created masterpieces influenced by Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. His work Zebra remains one of his best-known pieces.

 28 Robert Delaunay

Robert Delaunay
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: April 12, 1885
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 25, 1941

 29 Andre Derain

Andre Derain
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Famous As: Artist
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.

 30 Gustave Moreau

Gustave Moreau
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Famous As: Illustrator
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.

 31 Chris Marker

Chris Marker
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Famous As: Film producer, Film critic, Film director, Photographer, Artist, Screenwriter, Film editor, Television producer, Multimedia artist, Journalist, Cinematographer, Teacher, Poet
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.

 32 Alexandre Cabanel

Alexandre Cabanel
3
Famous As: Former Painter, who painted historical, classical and religious subjects in the academic style
Birthdate: September 28, 1823
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montpellier, France
Died: January 23, 1889

 33 Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: November 2, 1699
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 6, 1779

 34 Théodore Géricault

Théodore Géricault
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: September 26, 1791
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rouen, France
Died: January 26, 1824

 35 Jean Dubuffet

Jean Dubuffet
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Famous As: Painter, Sculptor
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.

 36 Georges de La Tour

Georges de La Tour
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: March 13, 1593
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vic-sur-Seille
Died: January 30, 1652

 37 Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: April 20, 1840
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: July 6, 1916

 38 Balthus

Balthus
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Famous As: Biography
Birthdate: February 29, 1908
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 18, 2001

 39 Jean Louis

Jean Louis
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Famous As: Artist, Screenwriter, Costume designer
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.

 40 Jacques Charrier

Jacques Charrier
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 6, 1936
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Metz, France

 41 Jean Metzinger

Jean Metzinger
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: June 24, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nantes, France
Died: November 3, 1956

 42 Brassaï

Brassaï
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Famous As: Photographer
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.

 43 Isabelle Collin Dufresne

Isabelle Collin Dufresne
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: September 6, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: La Tronche, France
Died: June 14, 2014

 44 Sophie Calle

Sophie Calle
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Famous As: Writer
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.

 45 Victorine Meurent

Victorine Meurent
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: February 18, 1844
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 17, 1927

 46 Édouard Vuillard

Édouard Vuillard
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: November 11, 1868
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cuiseaux, Saône-et-Loire, France
Died: June 21, 1940

 47 Prosper Mérimée

Prosper Mérimée
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Famous As: Former writer in the movement of Romanticism, and one of the pioneers of the novella, a short novel or long short story
Birthdate: September 28, 1803
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 23, 1870

Prosper Mérimée was a French writer and one of the pioneers of narrative prose, which came to be known as a novella. A multi-talented personality, Mérimée was also a historian and archaeologist; he played a key role in the development of the process of architectural preservation. He was responsible for safeguarding several historic sites, such as the Cité de Carcassonne. 

 48 Paul Delaroche

Paul Delaroche
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Famous As: Former painter whose painstakingly realistic historical subjects made him one of the most successful academic artists of mid-19th-century France
Birthdate: July 17, 1797
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 4, 1856

 49 Gao Xingjian

Gao Xingjian
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Famous As: Novelist, Playwright, Painter
Birthdate: January 4, 1940
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ganzhou, China

 50 Maurice Utrillo

Maurice Utrillo
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: December 26, 1883
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Montmartre, Paris, France
Died: November 5, 1955