French Paintings: 12 Most Famous Works of Art From France

French paintings can be found in galleries around the world, highlighting the talent of many of the best French artists. Today we’re going to introduce you to some of the best paintings from French painters, all of which have inspired generations of artists.

12 Most Famous French Paintings

Liberty Leading the People By Eugène Delacroix

Liberty Leading the People By Eugène Delacroix
Eugène Delacroix, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Liberty Leading the People was created to commemorate the July Revolution of 1830. This event removed King Charles X from the throne, and this famous painting depicts this historical occasion.

The Rue Montorgueil In Paris By Claude Monet

The Rue Montorgueil In Paris By Claude Monet
Claude Monet, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Rue Montorgueil in Paris by Claude Monet is an impressionist painting which dates back to 1878. It showcases the celebration of June 30, 1878, and makes you feel like you are right there in the streets of Paris.

Water Lilies By Claude Monet

Water Lilies By Claude Monet
Claude Monet, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Water Lilies by Claude Monet is one of the most beloved paintings of all times. This peaceful scene offers you the chance to reflect, and each time you look at it, you’ll be sure to notice something new.

Dance At Le Moulin De La Galette By Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Dance At Le Moulin De La Galette By Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Dance At Le Moulin De La Galette is considered to be one of the most important works from Renoir in the middle of the 1870’s. It was displayed at the 1877 impressionist exhibition, and has inspired artists throughout history.

Luncheon Of The Boating Party By Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Luncheon Of The Boating Party By Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Another popular French painting by Renoir is Luncheon of the Boating Party. It was added to the Seventh Impressionist Exhibition in 1882, with three critics choosing it as their top painting at the show.

A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte By Georges Seurat

A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte By Georges Seurat
Georges Seurat, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

From 1884 to 1886, Georges Seurat painted this popular French painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, which went on to become his most famous work. It showcased the pointillist technique and was one of the first paintings in the neo-impressionist movement.

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The Coronation Of Napoleon By Jacques-Louis David

The Coronation Of Napoleon By Jacques-Louis David
Jacques-Louis David, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As the official painter of Napoleon, Jacques-Louis David completed the painting, The Coronation Of Napoleon, in 1807. It shows the coronation of Napoleon, which took place at Notre-Dame de Paris.

The Absinthe Drinker By Edgar Degas

The Absinthe Drinker By Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Degas painted The Absinthe Drinker from 1875 to 1876. Degas was previously planning title the painting Dans un Café (in a café), and and this name is still used today. We see a couple sitting by each other in the café, looking like they are struggling after a long night out.

Portrait of Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud

Portrait of Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud
Hyacinthe Rigaud, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Portrait of Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud is a prime example of what a state portrait should look like. It has inspired many artists over the years who’ve been tasked with the job of painting the monarch.

The Card Players by Paul Cézanne

The Card Players by Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Card Players by Paul Cézanne is a series of five paintings that were created from 1890 to 1895. They show peasants smoking pipes and playing cards, as was a popular activity in the country at the time.

The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David

The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David
Possibly Gioacchino Giuseppe Serangeli, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The 1793 painting, The Death of Marat, shows the Jacques-Louis David‘s friend and leader, Jean-Paul Marat. This French revolutionary leader was murdered during his career, and this is a tribute to his life and work.

Danse by Henri Matisse

Danse by Henri Matisse
Andrew Milligan sumo, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Henri Matisse created Dance for the Russian businessman Sergei Shchukin, who was also a patron of the arts. It can be seen at The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, but is also reproduced on clothing and other items around the world.

French Paintings – Conclusion

All of these French paintings are great examples of the talent we’ve seen come out of France over the years. They’ve inspired future generations of French artists and only continue to impress art lovers around the world when seen in galleries.

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About David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site, FrenchLearner.com, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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