Realist Painters

The Realism art movement in painting originated in France in the middle of the 19th century, following the 1848 Revolution. Painters like Gustave Courbet revolted against the set ideals of the prevalent Romantic Movement and adopted a more independent style of unidealized painting which soon became known as the Realism art movement. Realism, which favored depiction of “real life” found many eager adherents in painters who wished to break free of the exaggerated drama of the Romantic Movement. Jean-François Millet, a realist painter who gained fame for his scenes of peasant farmers, went on to found the Barbizon school of realistic art in rural France. Realism also offered the artists the freedom of depicting social situations in an unidealized manner, thereby bringing to mainstream attention the challenges faced by the underprivileged sections of the society. Honoré-Victorin Daumier was one such artist who through his realistic depictions offered commentary on social and political life in France in the 19th century. He was best known for his unflattering caricatures of political figures and satires on the behavior of his countrymen. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Édouard Manet, and Jules Breton were some other prominent artists of the movement. Read on for more information about the life and works of famous Realist painters.

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

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 1 Diego Rivera

Diego Rivera
4
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: December 13, 1886
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Guanajuato, Mexico
Died: November 25, 1957
Mexican painter Diego Rivera is best remembered for his association with the mural movement and had created masterpieces such as The History of Mexico and the Detroit Industry Murals. He was inspired by cubism and post-impressionism. He had married, divorced, and remarried Frida Kahlo, the third of his four wives.

 2 Édouard Manet

Édouard Manet
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 23, 1832
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 30, 1883

Édouard Manet was a French painter who played a key role in the transition to Impressionism from Realism in the 19th-century. Manet was one of the first artists from his generation to paint modern life. His early masterworks, such as Olympia, served as rallying points for young and aspiring impressionist painters. His works continue to influence painters around the world.

 3 Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper
4
Famous As: Realist painter
Birthdate: July 22, 1882
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Upper Nyack, New York, United States
Died: May 15, 1967
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 4 Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 19, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States
Died: April 6, 2012

Painter Thomas Kinkade is remembered for his realistic and idyllic themes. He gained fame by selling printed copies of his art through the Thomas Kinkade Company. He called himself the "Painter of Light” and copyrighted the phrase, too. The movie Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage was based on his life.

 5 Will Sampson

Will Sampson
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: September 27, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Okmulgee, Oklahoma, USA
Died: June 3, 1987

 6 Gustave Courbet

Gustave Courbet
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: June 10, 1819
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ornans, France
Died: December 31, 1877
Born to a farmer in eastern France, Gustave Courbet was initially gearing up to study law but later deviated to art. He started by copying Spanish painters and later rebelled against Romanticism, focusing on real-life subjects around him instead and thus developing 19th-century Realism.
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 7 Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth
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Birthdate: July 12, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania,, United States
Died: January 16, 2009
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 8 William-Adolphe Bouguereau

William-Adolphe Bouguereau
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: November 30, 1825
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: La Rochelle, France
Died: August 19, 1905

William-Adolphe Bouguereau was a French academic painter who enjoyed significant popularity in the United States and France. Renowned for his realistic genre paintings, which focused on the beauty of the female human body, Bouguereau received top prices for his paintings and numerous official honors during his lifetime. 

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 9 Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: February 24, 1836
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: September 29, 1910

 10 Ilya Repin

Ilya Repin
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Famous As: Realist painter
Birthdate: August 5, 1844
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chuhuiv, Ukraine
Died: September 29, 1930

Born amid poverty in Ukraine, Ilya Repin earned himself an art scholarship and later devoted his life to historical painting. A major figure of the realist movement in painting, he had also been the subject of controversies, such as the withdrawal of his painting of Ivan the Terrible murdering his own son.

 11 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

 12 Joseph Ducreux

Joseph Ducreux
3
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

 13 Thomas Eakins

Thomas Eakins
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: July 25, 1844
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 25, 1916

 14 Henry Ossawa Tanner

Henry Ossawa Tanner
3
Birthdate: June 21, 1859
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died: May 25, 1937

 15 Gustave Caillebotte

Gustave Caillebotte
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: August 19, 1848
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 21, 1894

 16 Camille Corot

Camille Corot
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: July 16, 1796
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 28, 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.

 17 James Tissot

James Tissot
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: October 15, 1836
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nantes, France
Died: August 8, 1902

 18 Isaac Levitan

Isaac Levitan
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: August 30, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kibartay, Lithuania
Died: August 4, 1900

Isaac Levitan was a Russian landscape painter remembered for his work that popularized the mood landscape genre. One of the most important landscape painters of his generation, Levitan was elected to the Russian Academy of Arts in 1897. The following year, Levitan was chosen as the head of the Landscape Studio at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.

 19 George Catlin

George Catlin
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: July 26, 1796
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: December 23, 1872

 20 Anton Mauve

Anton Mauve
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Famous As: Former realist painter whose best-known paintings depict peasants working in the field
Birthdate: September 18, 1838
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Zaandam, Netherlands
Died: February 5, 1888

 21 Michael Whelan

Michael Whelan
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: June 29, 0000
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Culver City, California, United States

 22 František Kupka

František Kupka
3
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: September 23, 1871
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Opočno, Czech Republic
Died: June 24, 1957

 23 George Inness

George Inness
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: May 1, 1825
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Newburgh, New York, United States
Died: August 3, 1894

 24 Carl Bloch

Carl Bloch
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: May 23, 1834
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: February 22, 1890

Carl Bloch was a Danish artist. His parents wanted him to become a naval officer, but he went against their wishes to pursue painting. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Art (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi) under Wilhelm Marstrand and went on to become a well-known painter. He made 23 paintings for the King's Chapel at Frederiksborg Palace. 

 25 Peder Severin Krøyer

Peder Severin Krøyer
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: July 23, 1851
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Stavanger, Norway
Died: November 21, 1909

Peder Severin Krøyer was a Danish painter best remembered for painting beach scenes featuring local fishermen as well as recreation life on the beach. Some of his paintings are preserved at the Skagens Museum in Denmark.

 26 Jules Bastien-Lepage

Jules Bastien-Lepage
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: November 1, 1848
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Damvillers, France
Died: December 10, 1884

 27 Ivan Albright

Ivan Albright
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: February 20, 1897
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: North Harvey, Illinois, United States
Died: November 18, 1983

 28 Adolph Menzel

Adolph Menzel
3
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: December 8, 1815
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Poland
Died: February 9, 1905

 29 Mati Klarwein

Mati Klarwein
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: April 9, 1932
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: March 7, 2002

 30 Théodore Rousseau

Théodore Rousseau
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: April 15, 1812
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 22, 1867

 31 Clara Peeters

Clara Peeters
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: 1594 AD
Birthplace: Antwerp, Belgium
Died: 1659 AD

Clara Peeters was a Flemish painter from Antwerp known for her still-life works. Active in both the Spanish Netherlands and the Dutch Republic, she is the most famous female Flemish artist of her era. She was one of the few women artists working professionally in 17th-century Europe. She is believed to have been a wealthy and successful artist.  

 32 Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau

Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain

Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau Nieto is a Spanish hyperrealist painter, who developed a passion for oil painting and an interest in military activities and horses early in his life. He, continued to paint while serving as a textile designer and later while undergoing national service in the Spanish Army. He now specializes in historical military paintings, which portray various epochs of the Spanish Armed Forces.

 33 Vasily Perov

Vasily Perov
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Famous As: Painter, a key figure of the Russian Realist movement and one of the founding members of Peredvizhniki
Birthdate: January 2, 1834
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tobolsk, Russia
Died: June 10, 1882

Vasily Perov was a Russian painter who played an important role in the Realist movement in Russia. He is credited with co-founding one of the most popular groups of Russian realist artists called Peredvizhniki. Over the course of his career, Vasily Perov received several prestigious awards and honors like the grand gold medal from the Russian Academy of Arts.

 34 Beryl Cook

Beryl Cook
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: September 10, 1926
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Egham, Surrey, England
Died: May 28, 2008

 35 Antonio López García

Antonio López García
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Famous As: Painter and sculptor, known for his realistic style
Birthdate: January 6, 1936
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tomelloso, Spain

Antonio López García was initially expected to join his family farm but was later introduced to art by his painter uncle. One of the greatest Spanish realist painters and sculptors, he is sometimes referred to as a hyper-realist artist. He excels in a variety of media, including pencil and oil.

 36 Hans Gude

Hans Gude
2
Famous As: Former painter who painted landscapes and who was a proponent of Norwegian National Romanticism
Birthdate: March 13, 1825
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oslo, Norway
Died: August 17, 1903

Hans Gude was a Norwegian romanticist painter best remembered for his landscape paintings. Counted among Norway's leading landscape painters along with Johan Christian Dahl, Gude is also considered the backbone of Norwegian National Romanticism. Over the course of his illustrious career, Hans Gude won several honors and medals.

 37 Antonis Mor

Antonis Mor
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Famous As: Netherlandish painter
Birthdate: 1517 AD
Birthplace: Utrecht, Netherlands
Died: 1577 AD

 38 Peder Mørk Mønsted

Peder Mørk Mønsted
2
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: December 10, 1859
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Grenaa, Denmark
Died: June 21, 1941

Peder Mørk Mønsted was a Danish realist painter best remembered for his portrayal of landscapes in a realistic style. Some of his favorite motifs were forests, still water, and snowy winter landscapes. A habitual traveler, Peder Mørk Mønsted presented his paintings at several international exhibitions. Today, many of his works are being treasured by private collectors around the world.

 39 William Glackens

William Glackens
2
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: March 13, 1870
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: May 22, 1938

 40 Jules Pascin

Jules Pascin
2
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: March 31, 1885
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vidin, Bulgaria
Died: June 5, 1930

 41 Christian Krohg

Christian Krohg
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Famous As: Naturalist painter
Birthdate: August 13, 1852
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Vestre Aker, Oslo
Died: October 16, 1925

Christian Krohg was a Norwegian painter, author, illustrator, and journalist. From 1909 to 1925, he served at the Norwegian Academy of Arts as its first professor, apart from serving as the academy's director. Inspired by realism, Christian Krohg produced several portraits of people including that of his wife Oda Krohg. He received several international and national awards during his career.

 42 Adriaen van Ostade

Adriaen van Ostade
2
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: December 10, 1610
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Haarlem, Netherlands
Died: May 2, 1685

 43 John Randall Bratby

John Randall Bratby
2
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: July 19, 1928
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wimbledon, England
Died: July 20, 1992

 44 Almeida Junior

Almeida Junior
2
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: May 8, 1850
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Itu, São Paulo, Brazil
Died: November 13, 1899

 45 George Luks

George Luks
1
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: August 13, 1867
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Williamsport, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 29, 1933

 46 Yasuo Kuniyoshi

Yasuo Kuniyoshi
1
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: September 1, 1889
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Okayama, Japan
Died: May 14, 1953

Born in Japan, Yasuo Kuniyoshi moved to the U.S. to avoid military school and began studying painting in Los Angeles and New York instead. His works such as I’m Tired depict women. He was the first living artist to earn a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

 47 Émile Friant

Émile Friant
1
Famous As: Former Artist known for painting, sculpture
Birthdate: April 16, 1863
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dieuze, France
Died: June 9, 1932

 48 Giovanni di Paolo

Giovanni di Paolo
1
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: 1403 AD
Birthplace: Siena, Italy
Died: 1482 AD

 49 Philip Pearlstein

Philip Pearlstein
2
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: May 24, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

 50 Carle Vernet

Carle Vernet
1
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: August 14, 1758
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: November 17, 1836