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 Claude Monet

Claude Monet.
4
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: November 14, 1840
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris
Died: December 5, 1926

Claude Monet was a French painter. The founder of French Impressionist painting, Monet's painting Impression, soleil levant gave rise to the term Impressionism. Often dubbed the driving force behind Impressionism, Monet mastered the art of painting the same scene several times so as to capture the changing of the light. Since his death, his paintings have sold for record prices.

 2 Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse.
4
Famous As: Painter, Sculptor
Birthdate: December 31, 1869
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Nord
Died: November 3, 1954

Henri Matisse was a French artist. Although he was known for his skills as a painter, Matisse was also a renowned sculptor, printmaker, and draughtsman. Along with Picasso, Matisse is regarded as one of the artists who contributed immensely to the revolutionary developments in visual arts. His works also influenced other painters who would adopt a technique called intense colorism.

 3 Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin.
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Famous As: Artist - Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Engraving
Birthdate: June 7, 1848
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris
Died: May 8, 1903
French Post-Impressionist artist, sculptor, and writer Paul Gauguin was a major figure in the Symbolist movement. He had worked as a stockbroker and businessman before gaining fame as an artist. He influenced the French avant-garde and modern artists such as Pablo Picasso and also led the way for Primitivism.

 4 Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: November 24, 1864
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Albi
Died: September 9, 1901
French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was one of the most significant figures of the Post-Impressionist period. He was also an illustrator and poster painter, who was known for his colorful depictions of cabaret from Paris's Moulin Rouge. His painting The Laundress sold for US$22.4 million at a 2005 Christie’s auction.
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 5 Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier.
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Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: October 6, 1887
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: La Chaux-de-Fonds
Died: August 27, 1965

Le Corbusier was a Swiss-French designer, painter, architect, writer, and urban planner. He was one of the pioneers of modern architecture. During his illustrious career, which spanned 50 years, Le Corbusier designed buildings in India, Japan, Europe, and North and South America. He is also credited with revolutionizing urban planning.  

 6 Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas.
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Famous As: Impressionist Painter
Birthdate: July 19, 1834
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 27, 1917

French Impressionist artist Edgar Degas is best remembered for his oil paintings and pastel drawings and for his signature use of dancers and bathing women as themes in his works such as Fin d'Arabesque and Woman in a Tub. He had also experimented with bronze sculptures and called himself a realist.

 7 Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp.
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: July 28, 1887
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Blainville-Crevon
Died: October 2, 1968
French-American painter and sculptor Marcel Duchamp is remembered for his association with movements such as Cubism and Dadaism. A significant figure in conceptual art, he was against art that was meant to just cater to the eyes. He was also a skilled chess player and carved his own chess set.
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 8 Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall.
4
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.

 9 Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: February 25, 1841
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Limoges
Died: December 3, 1919

French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, father of actor Pierre Renoir and director Jean Renoir, was a key Impressionist painter. His best-known works include The Swing, Diana, and Seated Girl. He was known for his use of vibrant colors and feminine sensuality in his works. He also painted landscapes and portraits.

 10 Eugène Delacroix

Eugène Delacroix.
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: April 26, 1798
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Charenton-Saint-Maurice, Île-de-France, France
Died: August 13, 1863

Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist who is widely regarded as the patriarch of the French Romantic school. As a muralist and painter, Delacroix's study of the optical effects of color inspired the work of the Impressionists. In fact, his work inspired a generation of impressionists.

 11 Jacques-Louis David

Jacques-Louis David.
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Famous As: Neoclassical Style Painter
Birthdate: August 30, 1748
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris
Died: December 29, 1825

Jacques-Louis David was a French painter. Widely regarded as the greatest painter of the Neoclassical era, David's works had a strong influence in France in the early-19th century. His works are often linked to the birth of Romanticism. Many of his pupils, such as Antoine-Jean Gros and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, went on to become successful and popular painters.

 12 Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro.
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Famous As: Painter, Printmaker
Birthdate: July 10, 1830
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas, Danish West Indies (now US Virgin Islands)
Died: November 13, 1903

Camille Pissarro was a Danish-French painter best remembered for his contributions to Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism. He is credited with establishing a group of 15 aspiring artists, for which he served as a pivotal figure. He was regarded as a father figure to several important painters, including Vincent Willem van Gogh.

 13 Françoise Gilot

Françoise Gilot
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Famous As: Painter, Choreographer, Model
Birthdate: November 26, 1921
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine

 14 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. 

 15 Édouard-Henri Avril

Édouard-Henri Avril.
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: May 21, 1849
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Algiers, 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.

 16 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

 17 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.

 18 Dora Maar

Dora Maar
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Famous As: Photographer, Artist, Painter, Poet, Choreographer, Sculptor, Model
Birthdate: November 22, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris
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.

 19 Marie Tussaud

Marie Tussaud.
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Famous As: Artist
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.

 20 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.

 21 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

 22 Mr. Brainwash

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

 23 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

 24 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.

 25 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.

 26 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

 27 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

 28 Jean Marais

Jean Marais
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Famous As: Film actor, Actor, Sculptor, Painter, Theatre director, Film director, Autobiographer
Birthdate: December 11, 1913
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cherbourg-Octeville
Died: November 8, 1998

French actor Jean Marais was not only a long-time collaborator of director Jean Cocteau but was also his lover. After being rejected by the Paris Conservatory, he studied photography and later got only small roles, until Cocteau roped him in for lead roles in films such as Beauty and the Beast.

 29 Raymond Loewy

Raymond Loewy
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Famous As: Designer, Automotive designer, Postage stamp designer
Birthdate: November 5, 1893
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris
Died: July 14, 1986

 30 Tarrare

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

 31 Odilon Redon

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

 32 Joseph Ducreux

Joseph Ducreux
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: June 26, 1735
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nancy
Died: July 24, 1802

 33 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

 34 Balthus

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

 35 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

 36 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. 

 37 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

 38 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.

 39 Fernand Léger

Fernand Léger.
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Famous As: Cubist Painter
Birthdate: February 4, 1881
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Argentan
Died: August 17, 1955

Fernand Léger was a French sculptor, painter, and filmmaker. Widely regarded as the forerunner of pop art, Léger was also active as a teacher for several years. He is also credited with establishing his own Académie Fernand Léger, where he taught for many years. Many of his pupils went on to establish themselves as successful artists.

 40 Camille Corot

Camille Corot.
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Famous As: French painter
Birthdate: July 16, 1796
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 22, 1875

French painter Camille Corot is remembered for his landscape paintings that paved the path for the Impressionist movement. Born into a milliner’s family, Corot was a poor student and shunned his family business to learn painting at 25. His works, however, were easy to replicate and led to many forgeries.

 41 Paul Signac

Paul Signac.
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: November 11, 1863
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris
Died: August 15, 1935

Paul Signac had initially aspired to become an architect but later deviated to painting. A major figure of the post-Impressionist period, he, along with Georges Seurat, pioneered the technique called pointillism. A sailor and an avid traveler, he mirrored the beauty of the European coasts in his works.

 42 Victor Vasarely

Victor Vasarely
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Famous As: Painter, Visual artist, Sculptor
Birthdate: April 9, 1906
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pécs
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.

 43 Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay.
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: November 14, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: 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.

 44 Albert Uderzo

Albert Uderzo
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Famous As: Comics artist, Painter, Screenwriter
Birthdate: April 25, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fismes

 45 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

 46 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

 47 Honoré Daumier

Honoré Daumier
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Famous As: Painter, Draftsperson, Caricaturist, Sculptor, Lithographer, Engraver
Birthdate: February 26, 1808
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Marseille
Died: February 10, 1879

Honoré Daumier is best remembered for his satirical cartoons on the French society and politics. Born to a glazier father in Marseille, he later began studying art under Alexandre Lenoir and developed a love for sculptures, too. He later made a fortune, working on commissions of lithographs.

 48 Claude Lorrain

Claude Lorrain
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: 1600 AD
Birthplace: Vosges
Died: November 23, 1682

 49 Alexandre Cabanel

Alexandre Cabanel
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Famous As: Painter, University teacher
Birthdate: September 28, 1823
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montpellier
Died: January 23, 1889

 50 Jean Dubuffet

Jean Dubuffet
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Famous As: Painter, Sculptor, Visual artist, Writer
Birthdate: July 31, 1901
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Le Havre
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.