Top 10 Most Famous and Greatest French Artists and Painters Ever

Take a look at the below list of Top 10 Most Famous and Greatest French Artists and Painters Ever until 2017. It has been said over and over, ‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ and from one side of the globe to the other, it is the French Impressionists who truly impacted the art world. France produced hundreds of painters, each with his own style and his own interpretation of life, but it was the French painter who brought light into his work as seen in many paintings as the ‘sun’ streams into a room.

Many a renowned photographer has offered sincere thanks to the french artist either alive or dead who gave him the inspiration to capture a photo with just the right amount of light. Many of the French artist’s works hang on the walls of museums and galleries worldwide. Presented is a collection of 10 of some of the most revered French painters.

Presented is a collection of 10 of some of the most revered, the most famous and greatest of the French Artists and painters.

List of Top 10 Most Famous and Greatest French Artists and Painters Ever until 2017

10. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

jean-auguste-dominique-ingres, Greatest French Artists and Painters Ever

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres had 87 years during which he endured critical responses to his work. He produced some works that had faceted opinions that flicked from unabashed scorn to fervent praise. The changeability and the opinions of his admirers fluctuated throughout Ingres’ career but eventually he became a highly respected, much sought after artist who as a respected portraitist was commissioned to do work for the royal family.

9. Edgar Degas

edgar-degas, Greatest French Artists and Painters Ever

Edgar Degas who was not partial to the label of “Impressionist” deemed himself a “Realist”. From his academic training, he favoured scenes in theaters and cafés using the incandescent artificial light to contour the figures in his work. With a modern approach, his passion was evident in his paintings of ballet dancers, laundresses, milliners and residents of Parisian slums. But his first true love was in ballet dancers and he painted some 1,500 works on the subject. The Dancer Adjusting Her Slipper (1873) is one sketch most familiar.

8. Henri Matisse


Henri Matisse died in November 1954 but not before, with his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship did he leave a legacy of art and sculpture. He was a traditional painter, a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor who was regarded as being in the same league as Picasso and Marcel Duchamp. His paintings were expressive which having spanned over a half-century, won him recognition as one of many French leading artists.

7. Henri Rousseau


Rousseau never had a formal art education but instead taught himself to paint as he copied from paintings in Parisian art museums. Creating his own unadulterated style, without the influence of teachers, Rousseu’s portraits and landscapes portrayed a childlike quality. He used vivid colours on an unrealistic scale with such intensity that he was referred to as the dreamer. Almost as though his imagination was tangible, what he had seen in magazines and books would be transferred to canvas as his own interpretations. The first of one of his ‘Jungle’ themes was the “Tiger in a Tropical Storm” which he painted in 1891 and is famous for. With colour unashamedly used throughout, the painting hangs in the National Gallery in London.

6. Pierre Bonnard



Pierre Bonnard loved yellow and throughout his life, he spoke of trying to understand the secret of white. But the colour of light that gave his later paintings a signature which was yellow that he associated with his model and mistress Renée Monchaty. He began a painting in 1921, using Renée and his soon to be wife Marthe as models. When Bonnard and Marthe were married four years later, Renée committed suicide. Bonnard turned the picture to the wall and did not return to finish it until after Marthe’s death. It was then he added the brilliant yellow, the light that draws the eye and thus Young Women in the Garden was finished.

5. Berthe Morisot


Female figures were Berthe Morisot’s passion and are recognised as such in the last few decades of the 19th Century. She was one of few French women who graced the company of a collection of French Impressionists like Monet, Renoir and Pissarro. Interestingly, her work was overlooked for many, many years until only now when her paintings were recognised as some of the most refreshing art ever to emerge.

4. Jacques-Louis David



Jacques Louis David had a style known as Neoclassicism, meaning that he drew inspiration from the ancient classics of Greece and Rome. This style prospered in France until the early nineteenth century and by the 1820s, was overtaken by a new Romantic trend that with the artists adopting a liberated use of paint, offered an alternative to Neoclassicism. But it was here that the two merged and blurred which produced a hybrid style that fused David’s classicism with the new Romantic style, thus giving the result a quiet contradiction. He is one of Top 10 Most Famous and Greatest French Artists and Painters Ever until 2017.

3. Édouard Manet


Édouard Manet was brought up with the upper-class but led a bohemian lifestyle. With an avid eagerness to give older genres new life thus provoking many scandals, he was still credited with giving alla prima painting a new appreciation as he experimented with layering rather than building colours. This new technique that captured light and ambiance when painting outdoors was embraced as was his loose use of paint.

2. Pierre-August Renoir


August Renoir is The Impressionist. His works are famous and much appreciated as are his sensual nudes and innocent pretty women. Renoir, he became one of the most highly regarded artists of his time. He had a penchant for the female form and painted all of his subjects with charm and affection. He also enjoyed painting still life’s and his work hangs in museums and galleries all over the world.

1. Claude Monet


Claude Monet was the famous French painter whose artistry gave the word Impressionism a new meaning. His paintings captured light and natural forms. He preferred to work outdoors and sometimes invited Renoir, Sisley and Bazille to accompany him. Though much of his work was appreciated, Monet struggled financially and would become frustrated with his paintings. According to early reports by those who knew him, he destroyed a number of works and although it has not been confirmed, the paintings that are no longer could be in as high as the 500’s. Monet burned, slashed or kicked the offending pieces whilst buoyed by a bout of depression brought on by self-doubt.

These are the Top 10 Most Famous and Greatest French Artists and Painters Ever until 2017. And it is without a doubt, France introduced its fair share of renown artists who with the stroke of a brush, changed the world forever. Whilst many paintings are available to view throughout the world’s galleries and museums there are still much more hidden away in private collections.

Whatever their taste, their style and their interpretation, with the use of a brush, a vivid imagination, a canvass and the will to paint, France put the breath of life into the world of impressionism.

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