10 most famous french artists

To celebrate Bastille Day, we would like to share the 10 most famous french artists and their masterpieces

Artist 1/10

Edgar Degas - THE SPACE gallery

EDGAR DEGAS

 

July 19, 1834 - September 27, 1917

Known For: Painting & Sculpture

Edgar Degas is considered as one of the founders of Impressionism.

From the 1870s till his death, he continuously explored the subject of dance which accounts for a large portion of his work.

He captured movement like never before which is one of the reasons for the legendary status of his dance paintings.

Other Famous Works:

  • Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (1881)
  • The Dance Class (1874)

 

EDGAR DEGAS MASTERPIECE

The Absinthe Drinker - Edgar Degas

The Absinthe Drinker (1876)

The work portrays a woman and man sitting side-by-side, drinking a glass of absinthe. They appear lethargic and lonely.

 

Artist 2/10

EUGENE  DELACROIX - THE SPACE gallery

EUGENE DELACROIX

April 26, 1798  - August 13, 1863

Known For:  Painting & Lithography

Eugene Delacroix was the leading artist of the French Romantic era of the 19th century and he is regarded as the greatest French painter of his time.

His expressive brushstrokes and his brilliant use of colour strongly influenced Impressionism.

Other Famous Works:

  • The Death of Sardanapalus (1827)
  • The Massacre at Chios (1824)

EUGENE DELACROIX MASTERPIECE

 Liberty Leading the People

Liberty Leading the People (1830)

A half-nude female figure dominates the monumental painting as she charges forward, a crowd of determined revolutionists in her wake.

She is a personification of liberty, a classical symbol used throughout the history of art.

 

Artist 3/10

PAUL GAUGUIN - THE SPACE gallery

PAUL GAUGUIN

June 7, 1848 - May 8, 1903

Known For: Painting & Sculpture

Paul Gauguin is one of the most celebrated Post-Impressionist painters.

He first moved to the French colony of Tahiti in 1891 and he spent a major part of his remaining life there.

Many among Gauguin’s most famous masterpieces are paintings which are directly and symbolically inspired by the life, practices and people of Tahiti.

Other Famous Works:

  • Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (1897)
  • The Yellow Christ (1889)

PAUL GAUGUIN MASTERPIECE

Tahitian Women on the Beach - Paul Gauguin

Tahitian Women on the Beach (1891)

He shows two women sitting in the sand, one facing the viewer, one facing away. The young woman on the left sits with her back towards us, her head down, indifferent to the viewer.

He shows them with distorted proportions, faces that can resemble masks, and colours separated by dark outlines.

 

Artist 4/10

Auguste Rodin

AUGUSTE RODIN

November 12, 1840 - November 17, 1917

Known For: Sculpture

Auguste Rodin turned away from the idealism of the Greeks and decorative beauty.

Instead, he modelled the human body with realism and suggested emotion through his mastery in inter-playing between light and shadow; and through detailed, textured surfaces. 

Other Famous Works:

  • The Kiss (1889)
  • The Hand of God (1907) 

AUGUSTE RODIN MASTERPIECE

The Thinker 

The Thinker (1902)

The Thinker is a bronze sculpture placed on a stone pedestal.

The work shows a nude male figure of heroic size sitting on a rock with his chin resting on one hand as though deep in thought, often used as an image to represent philosophy.

 

Artist 5/10 

PIERRE-AUGUSTE LENOIR



PIERRE-AUGUSTE LENOIR

February 25, 1841 - December 3, 1919

Known For: Painting

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a prolific artist who was among the leading painters of Impressionism. However, he later distanced himself from the movement and drew inspiration from classical art.

His paintings are notable for their vibrant light and saturated colour, most often focusing on people in intimate and candid compositions.

Other Famous Works:

  • Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881)
  • The Large Bathers (1887)

PIERRE-AUGUSTE LENOIR MASTERPIECE

Dance at Le moulin de la Galette 

Dance at Le moulin de la Galette (1876)

The painting depicts a typical Sunday afternoon at the original Moulin de la Galette in the district of Montmartre in Paris.

In the late 19th century, working-class Parisians would dress up and spend time there dancing, drinking, and eating galettes into the evening.

 

Artist 6/10

PAUL CEZANNE
PAUL CEZANNEJanuary 19, 1839 - October 22, 1906

Known For: Painting

Paul Cezanne is the most famous French Post-Impressionist artist. His work formed the bridge between Impressionism and the dominant style in early 20th century, Cubism.

Cezanne explored ‘geometric simplification’ like tree trunk as a cylinder, apple as a sphere, etc. 

Other Famous Works:

  • The Card Players Series (1890s)
  • The Baskets of Apples (1890)

 

PAUL CEZANNE MASTERPIECE

 The Bathers

The Bathers (1905)

Cézanne's scene, with its tranquil lake and church tower is not an exact representation of a real village. Cézanne created this image using his imagination and drawing from nature.

The artist enjoyed painting landscapes and was inspired by nature but he wanted to understand it and paint more than what was on the surface.

 

Artist 7/10 

HENRI MATISSE
HENRI MATISSEDecember 31, 1869 - November 3, 1954

Known For: Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture & Collage

Henri Matisse is considered one of the most influential figures of modern art. Matisse worked in a variety of media including sculpture and paper cut-outs.

He is considered the greatest colourist of the 20th century and is most known for his works in Fauvism.

Other Famous Works:

  • The Joy of Life (1906)
  • The Red Studio (1911)

HENRI MATISSE MASTERPIECE

the dance - Henri Matisse 

Dance (1910) 

The painting shows five dancing figures, painted in a strong red, set against a very simplified green landscape and deep blue sky. It reflects Matisse's incipient fascination with primitive art, and uses a classic Fauvist colour palette.

 

Artist 8/10

CLAUDE MONET

CLAUDE MONET

November 14, 1840  - December 5, 1926

Known For: Painting

Claude Monet was a founder of the art movement Impressionism.

Monet was dedicated to finding improved methods of painterly expression. He broke tradition and thought in terms of colours, light and shapes.

Other Famous Works:

  • Water Lilies series (1896 – 1926)
  • Rouen Cathedral series (1892 – 1893)

CLAUDE MONET MASTERPIECE

 Impression, Sunrise - Claude Monet

Impression, Sunrise (1872)

Impression, Sunrise depicts the port of Le Havre at sunrise, the two small rowboats in the foreground and the red Sun being the focal elements.

In the middle ground, more fishing boats are included, while in the background on the left side of the painting are clipper ships with tall masts.

 

Artist 9/10

HENRI TOULOUSE-LAUTREC

HENRI TOULOUSE-LAUTREC

November 24, 1864  - September 9, 1901

Known For: Illustration, Painting & Printmaking

Toulouse-Lautrec is most known for depicting the personalities and features of the nightlife in Paris in late 19th century.

Toulouse-Lautrec was the first artist to elevate advertising to the status of a fine art. 

Other Famous Works:

  • In the Salon of the Rue des Moulins 
  • In Bed The Kiss (1892)

HENRI TOULOUSE-LAUTREC MASTERPIECE

Moulin Rouge: La Goulue

Moulin Rouge: La Goulue (1891) 

Moulin Rouge: La Goulue is a bold, four-colour lithograph depicting the famous cancan dancer La Goulue and her flexible partner Valentin le désossé made to advertise the popular French club, Moulin Rouge. Their audience is reduced to silhouettes in order to focus attention on the performers.

 

Artist 10/10

GEORGES BRAQUE
GEORGES BRAQUEMay 13,1882 - 
August 31, 1963

Known For: Painting, Sculpture & Printmaking

His most important contributions to the history of art were in his alliance with Fauvism from 1905, and the role he played in the development of Cubism.

Other Famous Works:

  • Fruit Dish and Glass (1912)
  • Houses at l'Estaque (1908)

GEORGES BRAQUE MASTERPIECE

 Bottle and Fishes

Bottle and Fishes (1910)

Ordinary objects – a bottle and fishes on a plate, laid on a table with a drawer – have been dramatically fragmented to form a grid-like structure of interpenetrating planes.

 

Reference:

https://www.metmuseum.org/

https://www.eugene-delacroix.com/

https://www.tate.org.uk/

http://www.henritoulouselautrec.org

https://www.claude-monet.com/

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