French Artists

French Artists
  • Paul Cézanne
  • Gustave Courbet
  • Jacques-Louis David
  • Edgar Degas
  • Eugène Delacroix
  • Paul Gauguin
  • Claude Monet
  • Auguste Renoir
  • Nicolas Poussin
  • Henri Matisse
  • Antoine Watteau
  • Jean-François Millet
  • Charles Le Brun
  • Jean Fouquet

Antoine Watteau (1684 - 1721)

Famous French painter Antoine Watteau, was regarded one of the most prominent artists of the Rococo period in France and an important forerunner of Impressionism which emerged later in the 19th century. He was born in 1684 in the city of Valenciennes, which the French king had recently annexed to French territories.

His interest in painting sprouted at an early age and he started out as an apprentice to a local painter named Jacques-Albert Gérin. He soon left for Paris, however, where he began working in a Pont Notre-Dame workshop, making copies of cheap devotional paintings. Claude Gillot, a stage designer and engraver, became his next mentor. This is where he first came into contact with the commedia dell’arte, a subject that was to be one of his favourites for his paintings.

Watteau also worked with Claude Audran III, an interior decorator who was curator of the Palais du Luxembourg. Here Watteau see the magnificent works by Peter Paul Rubens, who was to have considerable influence in his later paintings. In 1709 Watteau took the second prize in a competition for the Prix de Rome and this triggered numerous important commissions.

In 1720 he became ill and moved to England, however his health was frail and he ended up with tuberculosis, eventually dying in Nogent-sur-Marne on July 18, 1721, at the young age of 37.

Some of his most famous paintings include:

  • Pilgrimage to Cythera
  • Pierrot or "Gilles"
  • Fêtes venitiennes
  • Love in the Italian Theater
  • Love in the French Theater
  • "Voulez-vous triompher des belles?"
  • Mezzetin
  • The Shop-sign of Gersaint