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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: 88 of 431 Total Artists
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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.

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French-German 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.

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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.

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French Painter, Illustrator, and Theatrical Set Designer

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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French Painter and Sculptor

Movements and Styles: Realism, Romanticism, Symbolism, Naturalism

Born: March 16, 1822 - Bordeaux, Gironde, France

Died: May 25, 1899 - Thomery (By), France

Considered to be one of the most famous female painters of the nineteenth century, Rosa Bonheur was a staunch realist, and her tableaus are lauded for their lifelike detail.

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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.

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French Painter, Draughtsman and Etcher

Movement: Rococo

Born: September 29, 1703 - Paris

Died: May 30, 1770 - Paris

Boucher's idyllic tableaus of classical mythology, pastoral landscapes which were some of the most popular artists of the eighteenth century.

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French Painter

Movements and Styles: Neoclassicism, Naturalism

Born: November 30, 1825 - La Rochelle, France

Died: August 19, 1905 - La Rochelle, France

Bouguereau was a French Academic painter that epitomized the Neoclassical tradition in his idealized bodies and setting. His work was later derided by the Impressionists, who found oldfashined his artistic style and his continued instistance on the Neoclassical approach to art.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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French-Romanian Painter, Sculptor, and Illustrator

Movements and Styles: Dada, Surrealism

Born: June 15, 1903 - Piatra Neamt, Romania

Died: March 12, 1966 - Paris, France

Victor Brauner was a French-Romanian painter, art photographer, and sculptor. A friend to, and member of the Surrealists, Brauner's works drew on many favorite Surrealist themes: criticism of bourgeois conventions, warped human figures, and mutilated body parts.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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French: 88 of 431 Total Artists

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Abstract Artists
Abstract Artists
Artists that specialized in abstraction.
African-American Artists
African-American Artists
Artists of African-American background.
Music and Sound Artists
Music and Sound Artists
Artists that were inspired by or tried to recreate aspects of music, or somehow worked with sound.
Erotic Artists
Erotic Artists
Artists whose depictions had a significant erotic component.
Satirical Artists
Satirical Artists
Artists that used humor, satire, wit, exaggeration, and ridicule in a significant part of their work.
Jewish Artists
Jewish Artists
Artists central to Jewish Art or made art that is connected to Jewish experience.
Landscape Painters
Landscape Painters
Artists that painted various types of landscapes. Dont miss our pages on landscape movements such Luminism, Tonalism, Hudson River School, The Barbizon School, Peredvizhniki, Naturalism, and Impressionism.
LGBT Artists
LGBT Artists
Artist that identified as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender, or otherwise associated with LGBT topics.
Modern Architects
Modern Architects
Artists central to Modern Architecture. Dont miss our pages on architecture such as Early Renaissance, Arts and Crafts Movement, The Vienna Secession, and Wiener Werkstatte, and the International Style.
Modern Designers
Modern Designers
Artists that influenced the various types of design we see today. From posters, to theater, to furniture and topography. Dont miss our pages that have a major design component including Arts and Crafts Movement, Aesthetic Movement, Art Nouveau, Wiener Werkstatte, Art Deco, The Bauhaus, De Stijl, and Neo-Plasticism.
Modern Sculptors
Modern Sculptors
Artists central to Modern Sculpture.
Political Artists
Political Artists
Artists whose work was particularly political in nature and aspiration.
Portrait Artists
Portrait Artists
Artists that practiced portraiture.
Religious Artists
Religious Artists
Artists that have particularly deep religious, spiritual, and ideological basis for a significant part of their work.
Self-Portrait Artists
Self-Portrait Artists
Artists that practiced self-portraiture.
Proto-Feminist Artists
Proto-Feminist Artists
Artists that inspired the Feminist Art movement of the 1960s.