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 Paul Cornoyer  (1864 - 1923)

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Lived/Active: New York/Missouri      Known for: atmospheric painting, urban landscape, portrait and mural painting

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Ad Code: 2
Paul Cornoyer
from Auction House Records.
Rainy Day, Columbus Circle
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Paul Cornoyer was born in 1864 in St. Louis, Missouri.  He studied there at the School of Fine Arts in 1881.  His first works were in a Barbizon mode, and his first exhibit was in 1887.  In 1889, he went to Paris for further training, studying at the Academie Julien, and returned to St. Louis in 1894.

By the early 1890s, his work was more lyrical and Tonal, and he applied this style to subjects such as cityscapes and landscapes.  In 1894, he painted a mural depicting the birth of St. Louis for the Planters Hotel in that city.  His activities during the next six years were not particularly profitable, however, and the whereabouts of his St. Louis paintings are scarcely known.  One exception is the triptych, A View of Saint Louis, with its strong urban realism.  It shows the Eads Bridge, which opened in 1874, and became the symbol of Saint Louiss urban modernity, a gateway to the West, and a marvel of engineering.  Many other St. Louis artists also celebrated its construction.

In 1899, Cornoyer traveled to New York City, upon the encouragement of William Merritt Chase, who had acquired some of his work (probably the Parisian scene shown at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts annual in 1896-97).

In New York, Cornoyer became a specialist in Tonal urban scenes, especially after rain with its blurred effects, his masterwork being The Plaza after Rain, purchased in 1910 by the new art museum of St. Louis.  He was able to capture the wet, mirrored pavements with precision, streets with horse drawn carriages, trees, aligned buildings and streets.

In addition, Cornoyer taught at the Mechanics Institute in New York, and later was an instructor in Massachusetts, moving there in 1917.  He painted and exhibited his works up until his death in 1923.

Michael David Zellman, 300 years of American Art
Spanierman Gallery
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from Heritage Auctions:
Paul Cornoyer is best known for his elegant and atmospheric paintings of turn-of-the-century New York. Born in Saint Louis, Cornoyer began his artistic education at the Saint Louis School of Art, painting in the Barbizon style then in vogue.

By 1889 he had saved enough money to study in Paris, where he attended the Académie Julian under Jules-Joseph Lefebvre, Louis Blanc, and Benjamin Constant. Like many students of Constant and Lefebvre, Cornoyer adopted elements of a Tonalist style, but the Impressionists, and later the Ash Can School, also influenced him, especially in his preference for urban scenes.

He returned to Saint Louis in 1894, but moved to New York in 1898 at the encouragement of William Merritt Chase. There Cornoyer associated with the leading artists of the day, including Thomas Wilmer Dewing, John Henry Twachtman, Julian Alden Weir, and Childe Hassam, and made his reputation as a painter of the city's fashionable districts.

Biography from Owen Gallery:
Best remembered for depictions of New York City, Paul Cornoyer was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He studied painting in Paris under Jules Lefebvre, Benjamin Constant, and Louis Blanc. He based his studio in New York, and his work was aligned with the Ash Can School aesthetic although his work was less gritty than the street scenes of Robert Henri, William Glackens, John Sloan, George Bellows, George Luks, and Everett Shinn.

"Approaching New York as Place, cityscape artists [such as Cornoyer] were primarily concerned with representing the city's physical envelope and the impact of its built environment. Scene painters [including Henri, et. al.] on the other hand, were chiefly concerned with urban humanity."

Cornoyer died in 1923 in East Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Owen Gallery credits "New Century Cityscapes: Or Painting the 'New Metropolis" by Jan Seidler Ramirez in "Culturefront" (winter 1997-98).

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Paul Cornoyer is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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