Modern Artists Full List French Modern Artists


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French Modern Artists

Below are biographies and analysis of the achievements of French artists. We are adding more artists every week, so stay tuned as the most important artists in modern art are given proper coverage.

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French: 77 of 356 Total Artists

French-American Artist

Movement: Nouveau Réalisme

Born: November 17, 1928 - Nice, France

Died: October 22, 2005 - New York, NY, USA

Born Armand Pierre Fernandez, Arman is a French painter who moved from using the objects as paintbrushes, to using them as the painting itself. He is best known for his "accumulations" and destruction/recomposition of objects.


French-German-American Sculptor, Painter, and Collagist

Movements and Styles: Dada, Surrealism

Born: September 16, 1886 - Strasbourg, Alsace

Died: June 7, 1966 - Basel, Switzerland

Hans Arp (also known as Jean Arp) incorporated chance, randomness, and organic forms into his sculptures, paintings, and collages. He was involved with Zurich Dada, Surrealism, and the Abstraction-Creation movement.


French Photographer

Movements and Styles: Modern Photography, Straight Photography, Documentary Photography

Born: February 12, 1857 - Libourne, France

Died: August 4, 1927 - Paris, France

Eugène Atget was a French photographer who in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century carefully and comprehensively documented the street scenes, architecture and artists of Paris. Atget, whose work was characterized by long exposure, famously sold his photographs to a great number of Parisian artists, including Man Ray, which were used as visual aids for painting.


French Painter, Illustrator, and Theatrical Set Designer


Born: February 29, 1908 - Paris, France

Died: February 18, 2001 - Rossiniere, Switzerland

Balthus was a Paris-based modern artist whose controversial paintings explored degrees of voyeurism, innocence, and childhood sexuality.


French Painter

Movements and Styles: Realism, Impressionism

Born: December 5, 1841 - Montepellier, Hérault, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Died: November 28, 1870 - Beaune-la-Rolande, France

Frédéric Bazille was an Impressionist and Realist painter who came from a wealthy background and was able to help his fellow artists, including Monet, Sisley, and Manet with money and materials. His career and life were cut short, dying in battle during the Franco-Prussian War at just 29 years old.


British Illustrator and Author

Movements and Styles: Art Nouveau, Aesthetic Art, Decadent Movement

Born: August 21, 1872 - Brighton, Sussex, England

Died: March 16, 1898 - Menton, France

Aubrey Beardsley was a nineteenth-century English illustrator and author. In black ink he created highly erotic, grotesque, and decadant drawings, much in the style of Japanese woodcuts. Beardsley's work was part of the Aesthetic movement, and was highly influential to the subsequent Art Nouveau movement of the early-twentieth century.


German Artist, Sculptor and Photographer

Movements and Styles: Dada, Surrealism, Modern Photography

Born: March 13, 1902 - Katowice, German Empire (now Poland)

Died: February 24, 1975 - Paris, France

Hans Bellmer was a twentieth-century German avant-garde photographer and draughtsman, commonly associated with the Surrealism movement. Bellmer is best known for creating a series of pubescent female dolls in the 1930s, which were designed as a direct criticism of Nazi-controlled Germany and its idealization of the perfect human form. Bellmer eventually fled Germany for Paris and was embraced by Breton and the French Surrealists.


French Painter, Engraver, Poet, Writer, and Art Critic

Movements and Styles: Post-Impressionism, Cloisonnism, Synthetism, Symbolism

Born: April 28, 1868 - Lille, France

Died: April 16, 1941 - Paris, France

Émile Bernard was a Post-Impressionist painter who had artistic friendships with Van Gogh, Gauguin, Eugene Boch, and Cézanne. He is also associated with the art movements Cloisonnism and Synthetism. Bernard also produced plays, poetry, and art criticism.


French Painter and Printmaker

Movements and Styles: Post-Impressionism, Les Nabis, Symbolism

Born: October 3, 1867 - Fontenay-aux-Roses, France

Died: January 23, 1947 - Le Cannet, France

The French artist Pierre Bonnard, although dismissed as old-fashioned by some of the avant-garde in his lifetime, was esteemed by contemporary colorists like Matisse. A member of the Nabis group in his youth, his innovative paintings play with light, decorative surfaces, and Impressionist techniques.


French-American Sculptor

Movements and Styles: Surrealism, Body Art, Installation Art, Proto-Feminist Artists

Born: December 25, 1911 - Paris, France

Died: May 31, 2010 - New York, New York, USA

Louise Bourgeois is a French contemporary artist whose work adds a feminist perspective to Surrealism's themes of sex, childhood, and the uncanny. She is best known for her installation 'Cells' and her large-scale spider sculptures.

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French Painter

Movement: Impressionism

Born: December 1, 1840 - Argenton-en-Landunvez, France

Died: January 17, 1916 - Sèvres, France

The Impressionist Marie Bracquemond was a student of the classical master Ingres, and built upon the work of other Impressionist greats such as Monet, Degas, and Gauguin. As the other female Impressionists, Bracquemond was limitted in her choice of subject matter, and thus explored domestic themes and scenes of "polite" society.


French-Romanian Photographer and Sculptor

Movements and Styles: Dada, Cubism

Born: February 19, 1876 - Hobitza, Romania

Died: March 16, 1957 - Paris, France

Constantin Brancusi, a Romanian artist working in Paris, was one of the founders of modern sculpture. His abstracted animals, portrait busts, and totem-like figures revolutionized the traditional relationship between the sculpture and its base.


French Painter, Collagist, Draftsman, Printmaker, and Sculptor

Movement: Cubism

Born: May 13, 1882 - Argenteuil, France

Died: August 31, 1963 - Paris, France

Georges Braque was a modern French painter who, along with Pablo Picasso, developed analytic Cubism and Cubist collage in the early twentieth century.


French Theoretician and Writer

Movements and Styles: Dada, Surrealism

Born: February 19, 1896 - Normandy, France

Died: September 28, 1966 - Paris, France

André Breton, author of the 1924 Surrealist Manifesto, was an influential theorizer of both Dada and Surrealism. Born in France, he emigrated to New York during World War II, where he greatly influenced the Abstract Expressionists.


French Photographer, Writer, and Political Activist

Movements and Styles: Modern Photography, Dada, Surrealism, Proto-Feminist Artists

Born: October 25, 1894 - Nantes, France

Died: December 8, 1954 - St Helier, Jersey, Great Britain

Cahun's photographs are renowned for blurring the lines between gender and sexuality, as illustrated in her Surrealist-inspired and non-gender specific photomontages and self-portraits.


French Painter

Movements and Styles: Realism, Impressionism

Born: August 19, 1848 - Paris, France

Died: February 21, 1894 - Gennevilliers, France

Gustave Caillebotte was a nineteenth-century French painter and one of the Impressionist artists, though his style resembled Realism more than Impressionism. Caillebotte was also an early practitioner of using photography for composing his images, a prominent art patron, and an outspoken supporter of other Impressionists like Pissarro, Monet, and Renoir. His vast wealth also allowed Caillebotte to fund several exhibitions of Impressionist art, and to convince the Louvre to acquire many important works.


French Photographer and Filmmaker

Movements and Styles: Modern Photography, Straight Photography, Photojournalism, Documentary Photography

Born: August 22, 1908 - Chantelop-en-Brie, France

Died: August 3, 2004 - Montjustin, France

The French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson defined the field of photojournalism and created some of the most memorable photos of the greatest world events of his era. He also brilliantly captured "the decisive moment", the split second when an intersting and powerful composition is best photographed.


American Draftsman, Painter, and Printmaker

Movements and Styles: Impressionism, Proto-Feminist Artists

Born: May 22, 1844 - Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, United States

Died: June 14, 1926 - Mesnil-Theribus, Oise, France

Mary Cassatt was an American painter and printmaker active in France in the late nineteenth century. She was closely associated with Impressionism, and her signature subjects were intimate, domestic scenes of women, mothers, and children.


French Draftsman and Painter

Movement: Post-Impressionism

Born: January 19, 1839 - Aix-en-Provence, France

Died: October 22, 1906 - Aix-en-Provence, France

Paul Cézanne was an influential French Post-Impressionist painter whose depictions of the natural world, based on internal geometric planes, paved the way for Cubism and later modern art movements.


French-Russian Draftsman, Painter, and Printmaker

Movements and Styles: Expressionism, Cubism

Born: July 7, 1887 - Vitebsk, Russian Empire (present day Belarus)

Died: March 28, 1985 - Saint-Paul, France

Marc Chagall was a Russian-born, Jewish-French artist that reached great popularity during the 20th century. Although his art is associated with several movements, Chagall is commonly grouped in with the German Expressionists. Much of his early work was credited with synthesizing visual elements of Cubism, Symbolism and Fauvism.

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French: 77 of 356 Total Artists

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