In France arts are the lifeblood of the country

Joan Miro Steinlen - Chat NoirMatisse - Icarus

In France arts are considered to be so important, and many a painter has moved to Paris to become an artist, live in Montmartre, fall in love with the light, fall in love, paint to their heart’s content, or write the best-selling novel … and be discovered.

In reality, and from history, it seems many artists become famous after they’ve died, so on the one hand not a lot of light at the end of that tunnel. :-)

On the other hand, the atmosphere of Paris, living in a garret, a studio, holds such appeal and has been romanticised for decades, that it is a dream many wish for.

Art in Paris

When I hear the phrase ‘art in Paris’ I think of the Mona Lisa, the Louvre, the Jeu de Paume, the Orangerie.  I too succumbed to my arty side when I first lived in Paris, and I learnt to paint on silk – something I’d never heard of before.  Many years later I am still painting on silk, teaching it, creating gorgeous wearable art and selling on my handpainted silk website … so yes, Paris is for artists of all kinds.

I fell in love with Paris, heart and soul

… and wanted to drink it in, to absorb it by osmosis if that was possible – the incredible history [so much older than my own in Australia], the fabulous café lifestyle [which I adore], the appreciation of everything from the smallest piece of delicious Brie cheese to a sip of the best champagne … I learnt to love Paris in little bites, you might say, and feel the richer for it today. [Am I gushing? I can’t help it – I want everyone to love Paris like I do!]

I came to enjoy many famout French artists’ works when I visited the Louvre, l’Orangerie and other museums – as well as other artists from around the world. Here is a small selection of some of my favourites – from all over.  While you’re in Paris you might also consider visiting Artist Studios.

There are ‘open door’ studios at different times of the year which you can find on the Calendar of events.

Joan Miro

The great use of colour and wonderful shapes first drew me to Miro’s work, and I enjoyed it so much I actually found a computer font for my Macintosh – a Miro font – which I adore!

Below L to R:  Composition, Femme Assise, Affiche Lithographie

Joan Miro Joan Miro Joan  Miro -

Rembrandt van Rijn [Dutch]

Although the colours are very dark and sombre, there was something about Rembrandt’s lifelike paintings which really called out to me.  I attended an art class in my 20’s and chose the amazingly difficult Old Man in an Armchair as my class project, to try to reproduce it.  Oh yes it was very amateurish, but I enjoyed the process and the result very much.

Below:  Old Man in an Armchair

Rembrandt Old Man in an Armchair

Toulouse Lautrec

I always loved these wonderful paintings which gave me an ‘idea’ of Paris in the golden days … so beautiful and colourful, I love the life which springs forth from Lautrec’s paintings.

Below:  Aristide Bruant

Toulouse Lautrec - Aristide Bruant

Théophile Alexandre Steinlen

One of my all time favourites is Le Chat Noir – there’s something about the funky outline of the cat which is really appealing to me, like it really has some attitude.

Below:  Le Chat Noir, Compagnie Francaise des Chocolats et des Thes

Steinlen - Chat Noir Steinlen - Compagnie Francaise


The bold raw colours and sharp yet whimsical designs are quite fetching. It’s as though they’ve been cut out of cardboard by children – fresh and bright, I find Matisse’s style quite refreshing.

Below:  Icarus, Thousand and One Nights

Matisse - Icarus Steinlen - Compagnie Francaise


Manet’s realist paintings are sensual – I especially like the Folies Bergere one on the left – it evokes memories of a bygone era, bon vivant, joie de vivre.  Olympia on the other hand has very little background details, but still it is one which appeals to me greatly.

Below:  Folies Bergeres, Olympia

Manet - Folies Bergere Manet - Olympia

Paris Art Prints

While you’re in Paris, take a walk along the Seine near Boulevarde Saint Michel [also called BoulMiche] and St Germain des Pres, and pick up some really inexpensive Paris art prints.  When you get them home you can frame your Paris France arts and have a little splash of Paris in your home.