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.
Louise Bourgeois was a French-American artist best remembered for her large-scale installation art and sculpture. Also a prolific printmaker and painter, Bourgeois explored a variety of themes, such as sexuality and death. In 1997, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In 2009, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
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.
French sculptor Camille Claudel is also popularly known as legendary sculptor Auguste Rodin’s student, mistress, and muse. Claudel also contributed to many of Rodin’s masterpieces but never got any credit for it. After her relationship with Rodin soured, she became alienated and eventually died in an asylum.
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.
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.
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 Jean Arp
Jean Arp was born in Strasbourg, to a German father and a French mother. After studying art in Paris and Switzerland, he co-created The Modern Alliance and participated in the Dada and Abstraction-Création movements. An avant-garde painter and sculptor, he also experimented with media such as embroidery.
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.
12 Jean Marais
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.
13 Andre Derain
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.
14 Rosa Bonheur
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.
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.
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.
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.
Best known for his female nude statues, Aristide Maillol had started his career as a tapestry painter. He was 40 when failing eyesight forced him to quit painting and take to sculpting. He was influenced by the French group of artists named the Nabis. Many of his artworks were later looted by the Nazis.
French-born American artist Armand Fernandez, better known as Arman, was initially inspired by Dadaism, while he later created a niche form of art, which consisted of collections of objects, such as axes or guitars. He had also mastered judo and had appeared in an Andy Warhol film.
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.
21 Hans Bellmer
German Surrealist artist Hans Bellmer is best known for his life-sized female dolls and erotic photography. He released the anonymous book Die Puppe. It is believed some of his dolls featured grotesque additions to reflect the Nazi obsession with perfection. He also collaborated with Unica Zürn for a bizarre photo series.
Pierre Soulages is a French painter, sculptor, and engraver. His works have influenced several prominent personalities like François Hollande, who called him the greatest living artist in the world, in 2014. Over the course of his illustrious career, Pierre Soulages has won several prestigious awards like Carnegie Prize, Rembrandt Award, and the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art.
Christian Boltanski was a French sculptor, painter, photographer, and filmmaker. Best remembered for his contemporary French conceptual style and photography installations, Boltanski took part in more than 150 art exhibitions around the world. He also won several prestigious prizes like the Praemium Imperiale Award.
Marie Laurencin was a French printmaker and painter. An important member of the Cubists within the Groupe de Puteaux, Laurencin was an influential figure in the Parisian avant-garde. Today, her works can be seen at popular museums like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in the USA, the Tate Gallery in the UK, and the State Hermitage Museum in Russia.
Paul Landowski was a French sculptor remembered for designing the Christ the Redeemer statue, which has become a symbol of Christianity around the world. Landowski is also remembered for winning the gold medal at the 1928 Summer Olympics where he won the art competition for sculpture.
Antoine-Louis Barye was a French sculptor best remembered for his work as a sculptor of animals. He also served as a professor at the Museum of Natural History and was inducted into the Académie des beaux-arts in 1868. Antoine-Louis Barye is credited with mentoring his son Alfred Barye, who went on to become a respected sculptor in his own right.
27 Daniel Buren
Daniel Buren is a French conceptual artist, visual artist, sculptor, and painter. He is credited with creating many world-famous installations, such as Les Deux Plateaux. One of the most active and renowned artists on the international scene, Daniel Buren is the recipient of several prestigious awards like the Golden Lion and the Premium Imperiale.
Jean-Antoine Houdon was a French sculptor best remembered for his statues and portrait busts of philosophers, political figures, and inventors. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, his sculptures were used as a reference for imprinting portraits of prominent personalities on various U.S. postage stamps.
François Rude was a French sculptor best remembered for sculpting the Departure of the Volunteers on the Arc de Triomphe, which is counted among the most prominent monuments in Paris. His work often expressed the transition from neo-classicism to romanticism. François Rude is also credited with mentoring Charles-Auguste Lebourg and Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, who became prominent sculptors in their own right.
30 Nicole Farhi
Known for her elegant, unstructured designs, fashion designer Nicole Farhi began her career as a freelancer in Paris before moving to London. Eventually she joined French Connection as the head of its design studio in Bow, very soon launching her own label under the company’s umbrella. She gradualy expandied it to include shoes, accessories, home décor, opening shops and even restaurants.
Antoine Bourdelle was a French sculptor and teacher. A prominent personality in the Art Deco movement, Bourdelle played a major role during the transition to modern sculpture from the Beaux-Arts style. A prolific and influential teacher, Antoine Bourdelle is credited with mentoring several future sculptors like Alberto Giacometti, Athanase Apartis, and Josefina de Vasconcellos.
Bruno Catalano is a French sculptor best known for creating such sculptures that showcase artistic expression through missing elements. Ten of his life-size sculptures were exhibited in Marseille as part of the Marseille-Provence 2013, a series of cultural events to celebrate Marseille's status as the European Capital of Culture.
César Baldaccini was a French sculptor who had occupied the most important position among other sculptors of the Nouveau Réalisme movement. Baldaccini, who had become one of France's most prominent sculptors by 1960, was renowned for his experimental works. He is credited with creating the César du cinéma trophy, which is regarded as the most prestigious award in French cinema.
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux was a French painter and sculptor who worked during Napoleon III's reign. Impressed by his early works, which included a bust of Princess Mathilde, Napoleon III commissioned several works to Carpeaux which established his reputation as an important sculptor. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux is credited with mentoring future sculptors like Olin Levi Warner and Jules Dalou.
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska was a French sculptor and artist who developed a primitive style of carving that leaves the tool marks on the final work. His unconventional style was viewed as the exact opposite of the highly polished style of ancient Greece. His life and career inspired the book, Savage Messiah, which was adapted into a movie of the same name.
Jacqueline Piatigorsky was a French-American sculptor, chess player, philanthropist, author, and arts patron. As a chess player, Piatigorsky represented the USA in the first Women's Chess Olympiad, in 1957, where she won a bronze medal. An important patron of the arts, Jacqueline Piatigorsky helped raise money for the New England Conservatory of Music to create an award for deserving artists.
Gislebertus was a French sculptor whose decoration of the Cathedral of Saint Lazare represents the indigenous work from that period. The techniques implemented by Gislebertus helped pave the way for the development of the Gothic style. His influence can be seen in many church sculptures across France.
Ludmilla Tchérina was a French prima ballerina, actress, sculptor, painter, author, and choreographer. In 1942, she became the youngest prima ballerina when she made her debut, creating the role of Juliet in Serge Lifar's Romeo and Juliet. Although she had a lifelong passion for sculpting and painting, Ludmilla Tchérina is primarily remembered for her skills as an actress.
Jean-Paul Laurens was a French sculptor and painter. He was one of the last and most important exponents of the French Academic style or academism. One of the most respected painters of his generation, Jean-Paul Laurens was commissioned to paint many public works, including paintings on the life of Saint Genevieve, by the French Third Republic.
Marine Delterme is a French painter, sculptor, actress, and former model. She is best known for her friendship with Carla Bruni; Delterme was one of the guests at Bruni's wedding to Nicolas Sarkozy at the Élysée Palace in Paris. As a sculptor, Marine Delterme has displayed her works in places like New York and Paris.
François-Thomas Germain was a French silversmith who worked for the European royalty, earning the title royal silversmith. His association with financiers in 1765 was considered a breach of guild regulations, resulting in his resignation and bankruptcy. Today, many of his works are showcased in museums across Europe. François-Thomas Germain was portrayed as the main antagonist in Assassin's Creed Unity (2014).
French sculptor Raymond Duchamp-Villon, brother of artist Marcel Duchamp, is remembered for his pioneering work on Cubism in sculpture. While his works such as Baudelaire show him employing geometrical shapes, works such as Seated Woman showed him deviating to abstract shapes. He died while serving the army in World War I.
French symbolist artist Eugène Carrière was a significant figure of the Fin de siècle period. It is believed his works influenced much of his friend Pablo Picasso’s artworks. His signature style included gray shades and soft tones. He also taught art at Académie de La Palette.
French painter and illustrator Ernest Meissonier, part of the Academic art movement, is best remembered for his paintings of Napoleonic battles and other historical events. Though expected to join his family dye business, he left home to become an artist. His works showcase a prominent influence of 17th-century Dutch painters.
Best known for his contribution to geometrical abstract art, François Morellet was a conceptual sculptor and light artist who started his career with figurative paintings and then graduated to abstraction. He used unconventional material such as neon tube lighting for his art and was known for his reliance on minimalism.
Étienne Maurice Falconet is perhaps best remembered for his creation the Bronze Horseman, which depicted Czar Peter I of Russia on a horse. He developed the French Baroque style into Rococo art. Many of his works were made for the Sèvres Porcelain Factory. He also penned Reflections on Sculpture.
Best known for his photographs and installations, Jean-Marc Bustamante had begun his career as an assistant to photographer William Klein. One of his most famous series was Something is Missing. He also produced countless projects with French sculptor Bernard Bazile, as the duo Bazile Bustamante.
48 André Lhote
André Lhote was a French painter of portraits, figure subjects, still life, and landscapes. Lhote is best remebered for his contribution as a teacher; he taught at several prestigious institutions like the Académie Notre-Dame des Champs and Académie de la Grande Chaumière. He is credited with mentoring many future artists like Kuno Veeber, Simon Elwes, and Erich Carl Hugo Adamson.
One of the co-founders of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, Eustache Le Sueur was also one of its first professors. He is best remembered for his religious art that showcased the French Baroque style. Born to a wood sculptor father, he was later trained in painting under Simon Vouet.
50 Jules Dalou
Nineteenth-century French sculptor Jules Dalou, who excelled in bronze art, was initially trained by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. He spent a few years in exile in England after the French government convicted him for participating in the Paris Commune. The Triumph of the Republic remains one of his best-known works.