As Immanuel Kant noted in 1763, the French have a feeling for the beautiful. But that’s not the whole story.
Aristocrats and intellectuals were not “purged” during the French Revolution (many sided with the Revolution). The post Napoleonic Restoration brought such groups back into positions of influence. But Napoleon himself was keenly interested in the arts and the major Academies were reorganized under his munificent care. Modern art (“autonomous art” as per T. W. Adorno) emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century via a rejection of “academy art.”
What occurred in post-revolutionary Russia and China, the emergence of various politicized aesthetics, was aggressive hyper-Philistinism combined with an ugly streak of raging Puritanism.