The Famous French Post-Impressionism Painters

There are so many outstanding French artists who, although did not practice impressionism, were highly influenced by them. They are called the Post-Impressionism painters.

Post-impressionism art - Cubism
Painting of Pablo Picasso – one of the post impressionism painters [Public Domain]

What exactly is Post-Impressionism & who are the Post-Impressionism painters?

Post-Impressionism is the umbrella term of a few distinct artistic movements that arose and evolved from impressionism. The post-Impressionism art movement developed in the 1890s.

Post-impressionism is generally characterized by a subjective approach to painting. The post-impressionism painters opted to evoke emotion rather than realism in their work. The following painters belong to the post-impressionism movement:

Starry Night by Van Gogh
Starry Night by the Post-Impressionism painter – Van Gogh [Public Domain]

The Post-Impressionism Painters

Paul Gauguin’s scandalous Art Career

Paul Gauguin was a French post-impressionism painter. Art historians claim that he  is one of the leading pioneers of post-Impressionism. He broke free from Europe’s bourgeois restrictions and went to the French Polynesian Islands in search of creative liberation.

However, he is considered a fraud to others, lying about the exotic life in the French Polynesian islands and instead satisfying his exotic fantasies. I will let you be the judge. Press here to read about Gauguin’s dubious artistic career & view his beautiful paintings.

Paul Gauguin Paintings
Paul Gauguin Painting – post impressionism [Public Domain]

Henri Matisse – Post-Impressionism Painter

Henri Matisse is regarded as the greatest colorist of the 20th century. He emerged as a Post-Impressionist, and achieved ultimate recognition as one of the leaders of the Fauvism art movement. 

Along with his contemporaries such as Pablo Picasso, he played a major role in advancing plastic arts in the early 20th century, and laying the foundations for modern painting and sculpture. Press here for more information.

Henri Matisse painting
Henri Matisse – Post-Impressionism art movement

Neoimpressionism – Pointillism (painting with dots!)

One fascinating post-impressionism movement is neoimpressionism, also called Pointillism. As opposed to the Impressionists who spontaneously captured light and color of landscapes while painting outdoors, neoimpressionism applied scientific optical principles of light and color to create strictly regulated artworks.

The scientific color theory behind neoimpressionism states that by juxtaposing complementary colors one could produce the impression of another color. Instead of mixing colors on the palette or on the canvas, the primary-color components of each color are placed separately on the canvas in tiny dabs (or dots). The mixture of the colors occurs in the spectator’s eye. This is termed “optical mixture”.

Post-impressionism painters, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac were the main founders of pointillism. However, many other artists experimented with these techniques, including the impressionist Pissarro and Van Gogh.

Neoimpressionism - Pointillism
Neoimpressionism – Pointillism

Georges Seurat – Dots Dots & more Dots

Georges Seurat only lived until the age of 31 but left an incredible artistic legacy in his brief career as a neo-impressionism painter. He is most famous for creating Pointillism (paintings created by thousands of dots!!! ) Press here to view some of his beautiful artwork and read about the artist.

Pointillism - neoimpressionism - painted by post-impressionism painters
La Seine à la Grande-Jatte – Seurat [Public Domain]

Paul Signac- Pioneer of Neoimpressionism

Paul Signac was another French painter in the post-impressionism era. In particular, Signac is famous for his pioneering of neoimpressionism. Inspired by the works of Impressionist artist Claude Monet and later on by Georges Seurat, Signac abandoned his initial studies in architecture to pursue painting.

Seurat’s complex studies of the color theory greatly influenced Signac and he embraced the pointillism techniques. Click here to read more about Signac and to view some of his masterpieces.

Paul Signac - painting
Paul Signac – painting / Pointillism

Whimsical Raoul Dufy

Raoul Dufy’s paintings expres the most optimistic aspects of the 20th century with humour and style.

His paintings are full of whimsical bright colors depicting leisure activities and landscapes. He revisited certain themes throughout his lifetime, including those from the French Riviera, opera, seaside, sailing regattas, horse racing and musical events. The joy and lightness conveyed throughout Dufy’s paintings are not only due to the subject matter but also to the artist’s distinct style and exceptional use of colour.

Although influenced by the impressionists in his early days, he was later more influenced by the post-impressionism painters such as Cezanne and Picasso.

Click here for more information about this wonderful painter.

Painting by Raoul Dufy (post-impressionism painter)
Raoul Dufy mural “Electricity Fairy” in the Modern Art Museum Paris
Daniel Hennemand on Flickr

Suzanne Valadon – A Female Painter who Lived by Her Rules Only!

Suzanne Valadon (French, 1865–1938) was a trapeze acrobat, a painter, a sketcher and an artist model for many famous painters. She taught herself painting and rose from the background of a poor, uneducated street child to one of most notable painters of the post-impressionism generation. Valadon is also famous for being the mother of the French artist Maurice Utrillo.

Her determination to succeed as an artist in her own right, as a woman and without any access to formal training, is what makes her story an important one to remember. Press here to read about this remarkable painter.

Reclining Nude - by Suzanne Valadon - one of the few female post impressionism painters
Reclining Nude – by Suzanne Valadon [Public Domain]

Marc Chagall – Russian / French Painter of Longing & Love

Marc Chagall hnever associated himself with any particular art movement. However, when he left Russia for Paris, he absorbed all the different avante garde painting styles of the time. Impressionism, cubism and fauvism art influenced his style.

Chagall’s paintings capture his feelings of deep yearning for his family and the destroyed Jewish life of his childhood village back in Russia. His paintings express his longing, love and connection to his Jewish roots and his love to both Russia and France. Press here for more information about this tormented but incredibly talented artist.

Marc Chagall Painting entitled: Rain - village life in Vitebsk, Belorussia
A scene from his childhood village in Vitebsk, Belorussia – Marc Chagall Painting

The Tragic Italian Painter – Amedeo Modigliani

Amedeo Modigliani, was born into a Jewish family in Livorno, Italy. By the time Modigliani was only sixteen, he had survived near-fatal bouts of pleurisy and typhoid fever. Soon after, Modigliani contracted the early-death-sentence disease – Tuberculosis.

With limited time, sickly Modigliani moved to Paris at twenty-one to follow his dreams of becoming a painter.

Modigliani barely sold any paintings during his life. In desperation, the artist sometimes approached galleries door to door or bartered his paintings for rent and food.

The Italian artist felt constantly frustrated with failure and dealing with health problems. He turns to drugs and alcohol and is addicted.

Modigliani has only one solo exhibition held in Paris. His nude paintings created such a huge scandal, that this exhibition was temporarily shut down by the police….. Press here for more details about Modigliani’s tragic life.

Amedeo Mogdiliani Portraits - one of the Italian post impressionism painters
Amedeo Mogdiliani Portraits – post impressionism painter

Andre Derain – Fauvism, Cubism, Pointillism & Neoclassism – A Master Of All!

Andre Derain was one of the fortunate artists to receive great recognition and success during his lifetime.

Over his long artistic career Derain experimented and adopted a large range of styles. His most notable achievement however, was his significant role in the development of Fauvism art. The unrestrained use of color was a new means of artistic interpretation, influencing generations of future painters.

Andre Derain - French Painter - London cityscape - Fauvism art
Andre Derain – French Painter – London cityscape – Fauvism art

Colorful, Whimsical Pierre Bonnard

Beautiful, bold colors are the signature style of Pierre Bonnard’s paintings. In fact, art historians describe Bonnard as being one the greatest colorists of the 20th century.

Pierre Bonnard was a French colorist, lithographer and poster designer. He is also famous for being one of the founding members of the group of symbolist painters called Les Nabis.

Many of the art movements of his time influenced Bonnards style. However, Bonnard did not align himself with any of them. His beautiful paintings display elements of impressionism, post-impressionism and Japonism.

For more information about this wonderful painter, press here

Pierre Bonnard Painting - nude woman
Pierre Bonnard Painting – Intimism style [Public Domain]

Maximilien Luce – A Neo-Impressionism Painter & Anarchist

Maximilien Luce is a post-impressionism painter. The neo-impressionism painters, Pissarro, Seurat and Signac, greatly influenced him. Luce was also an accomplished lithographer and draftsman.

Coming from poverty himself, Luce felt drawn to paint the lives of the working class. He was an active anarchist and spent time in prison for his activities. His paintings are bold, passionate, raw and truly amazing.

 Maximilien Luce painting - Montmartre, Paris - Pointillism Art
Maximilien Luce painting – Montmartre, Paris – Pointillism Art

Albert Marquet – One of the Forgotten Painters

Albert Marquet (1875-1947) is one of the lesser known French post-impressionism artists of the twentieth century.

Marquet did not align himself with any of the post-impressionism art movements. However in his early days and with his acquaintence with the Fauvists, his early paintings display Fauvism elements. However, quickly he moved on to softer and more natural colors.

Marquet spent the majority of his life traveling the world. His paintings portray many of the places he sailed to, including Italy, Sweden, Germany and North Africa.

Press here to read more about this wonderful French artist.

Albert Marquet - Post Impressionism Painting  [Public Domain]
Albert Marquet – Post Impressionism Painter [Public Domain]

The Neoimpressionism Painter – Henri Martin

As opposed to many others, Henri Martin was a very successful neo-impressionism painter in his lifetime. He had more public commissions in France than he could handle. His paintings are stunning!!

Strangely though, his fame was recognized in France only. For many decades he was virtually unknown outside of France.

What makes an artist internationally famous and another not? Connections? Public relations? Read Henri Martin‘s story & help me work it out why he isn’t up there with the famous others!!

Painting of a woman picking flowers - Henri Martin Painting
Neo-Impressionism Painter – Henri Martin painting [Public Domain]

​Toulouse-Lautrec – One of the Most Famous Post-Impressionism Painters

Toulouse-Lautrec’s ​story is a tragic one. Although today he is well-known and loved worldwide, during his life he lived as an outsider and was unhappy. He suffered with a congenital disease leaving him with deformed body.

He was born in a small town called Albi but moved to Montmartre in Paris to be part of the active art scene. Montmartre was well known for its  ​seedy nightclubs, ​​cabaret clubs, bars and brothels​. 

​It was here in these ​”undesirable” places ​where Toulouse-Lautrec felt most comfortable. Rather than be alone, night after night he hung out in these nightclubs.

Today Toulouse-Lautrec is most famous for his paintings and posters portraying the seedy night life in these famous nightclubs, and in particular, in the Moulin Rouge.​  His story is fascinating but sad.

Toulouse Lautrec painting of prostitutes
Toulouse-Lautrec painting of Prostitutes [Public Domain]

Camille Pissarro – The Painter Who Belonged to Many Art Movements.

Camille Pissarro was a Danish-French artist but lived in France for the majority of his life. In the beginning of his career he painted with the Impressionists and exhibited with them.

Later on, he realigned himself with the younger generation and started painting with post-impressionism techniques, including Neoimpressionism.

Paul Cezanne says of Pissaro:

“The humble and colossal Pissarro” 

Pissarro painted for over 50 years and left behind over 3,000 paintings. These include oils, pastels, watercolors and gouaches. Press here for more information.

Camille Pissarro Painting - Dieppe Port
Camille Pissarro Painting – Dieppe Port [Public Domain]

The French Post Impressionism Painter & Alcoholic – Maurice Utrillo

Maurice Utrillo was a French Post-impressionism artist. He was also the illegitimate son of the famous painter, Suzanne Valadon. Utrillo lived all his life in Montmartre. He was the ultimate bohemian but led a troubled & chaotic life.

At an early age Maurice Utrillo was troublesome at school by his early adult years he was an alcoholic & depressed. He spent many years in and out of mental hospitals. However, in spite of this, Maurice Utrillo painted prolifically throughout his life. His is most famous for his beautiful Parisian cityscapes of Montmartre. Even today, many of his paintings are reproduced onto postcards and posters and sold to tourists visiting Montmartre. His story is incredible. Press here for more information.

Maurice Utrillo painting
Maurice Utrillo Painting [Public Domain]

Maurice Denis – The Post Impressionism Symbolist & Revivor of Religious Art

Maurice Denis belonged to many intertwined post-impressionism art movements of the late 19th century. These movements included Japonism, Neo-Traditionalism, Neo-Classicism, Synthetism, Les Nabis and the Symbolism.  He was a devout Roman Catholic and revived religious art. He trained a group of artists who went all over France to paint contemporary religious-themed murals inside churches, cathedrals & chapels.

Denis is regarded as an influential artist of his time. For more information, press here.

Maurice Denis Painting - Symbolism art

Maurice Denis Painting – Symbolism art