by ArtFacts.Net

We all have a sense of our identity, but it’s not easy to measure exactly how we’re perceived. When you look in a mirror, is the person staring back at you the person others see? 

The art world faces the same dilemma. The reputation of a country’s art is defined by what is shown and where, but does an outsider’s perspective compare to an insider’s?

How does a country see its artists? Does the rest of the world agree?

We directed our attention to France; home of revolution, the cancan and over 629 cheeses.

So, which French artists were shown most frequently within France compared with those on the international stage? Our findings weren’t entirely unexpected, but our numbers spoke volumes about taste. 

France’s top picks are contemporary artists. But the world’s most exhibited French artists are deceased.

Take these facts: 

The top exhibiting artist in France is Francois Morellet, a contemporary painter, sculptor, and light artist. 

The top exhibiting French artist worldwide is Louise Borgeouis, an installation artist who migrated to the United States and died in 2010.

Mathieu Mercier is France’s second most exhibited artist domestically, with 113 shows in his home country and an ArtFacts.Net ranking of 465.

Henri Matisse has had only 38 exhibitions in France in the same period, but 488 shows around the world, and is ranked 41 by ArtFacts.Net.

Contemporary art collective Claire Fontaine had twice as many shows in France between 2004 – 2015 than Henri Cartier-Bresson – 60/29

On the international circuit Cartier-Bresson pips Fontaine with 262 exhibitions to 244

What we clearly see here is that while the world idolizes a French past, France focuses on the contemporary. Classics remain classics; the rest as they say is, ‘histoire’.

To make up your own mind, see the list of the top 25 artists exhibited inside and outside of France, here.

We like France. We’ll be at the following French art fairs this month:

Director Marek Claassen will be speaking about “Pop Life: Art in a Material world” at Slick:

Thursday, 22nd October, 14:15
/The Platform/
Pont Alexandre III
Port des Champs-Elysées
75008 Paris, France

See you there.

Cut the crap – get the facts.