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 Edouard Leon Cortes  (1882 - 1969)

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Lived/Active: France      Known for: street-scene painting

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Ad Code: 2
Edouard Cortes
from Auction House Records.
RUE ROYAL, PARIS
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Rehs Galleries, Inc.:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Cortès was born in Lagny, France on April 26, 1882. During his early lifetime, Paris was the center of the art world. Artist from across the globe traveled there to study and paint it’s beautiful countryside and cities; views of Paris, or as it became known ‘the City of Lights’, were in great demand by both collectors and tourists. Édouard Cortès, along with other artists like Eugene Galien-Laloue (1854-1941), Luigi Loir (1845-1916) and Jean Beraud (1849-1936) answered their call.

Specializing in Paris street scenes, each of these artists captured the city during its heyday and continued with these scenes well into the 20th century.Édouard was the son of Antonio Cortès – the Spanish Court painter – who was himself the son of the artisan André Cortès. Antonio was born in Seville in 1827 and established himself as a painter of rural genre. In 1855 he traveled to Paris for the Exposition Universelle and was drawn to the town of Lagny-sur-Marne – where he settled. He continued to paint scenes reminiscent of Troyon, Jacque and Van Marcke.

Antonio had three children - Édouard, Henri and Jeanne - and while all had artistic talent, it was Édouard who had the passion. Antonio began teaching Édouard at an early age and enrolled him in a private elementary school where he continued his schooling until the age of 13. From this point on he devoted his life to art – working and studying with both his father and older brother.

In 1899, at the age of 16, he exhibited his first work at the Société des Artistes Français entitled La Labour. The work was well received by the critics and the public - helping establish Édouard’s favorable reputation in Paris.It was at the turn of the century, c.1900, that he began to paint the scenes that he would become most famous for – Paris’ streets and monuments. One of the more prolific artists of his time, Cortès found his niche and stayed with it. His views of Paris are among the most telling and beautiful images of this genre; capturing the city during all it’s seasons for more than 60 years.

Édouard married Fernande Joyeuse in 1914 and had a child – Jacqueline Simone in 1916. Fernande died in 1918 and shortly thereafter Édouard decided to marry his sister-in-law Lucienne Joyeuse. They settled in Paris and Édouard continued to paint views of Paris. By the mid 1920’s, Édouard and his family moved back to Lagny (in Normandy) and he began painting scenes of country life - including landscapes, interior scenes and still lives.

He was an active member of the Union des Beaux-Arts de Lagny and was the Unions first president. Their inaugural exhibition was held in 1927 and Cortès continued to exhibit there until the late 1930’s. During this period he received many awards, gained great notoriety and was a frequent exhibitor at the exhibition halls in Paris, including the Salon d’Automne, Salon d’Hiver, Salon de la Société Nationale de l’Horticulture and Salon des Indépendants.

During the years of World War II, Cortès and his family spent their time in Cormelles-le-Royal (in Normandy) in an attempt to remove themselves from the harsh realities of war. By the early 1950’s he had relocated to Lagny, where he would remain for the rest of his life.

A.P Larde makes the following observation about Cortès in his book on Antoine Blanchard: [he] "was preeminently the painter of Paris of the Nineties, which he had loved and known well; his qualities as a painter, in addition to his sensitivity, allowed him to paint the street scenes of that time under their most charming, attractive and real light.Transposed by his brushes, each spot of Paris becomes a veritable sparkling jewel. The most ordinary scene, through a sensitive, generous and elaborate palette, irresistibly fascinates and moves us. Only through a detailed study of his canvases can we understand how this artist, with apparently simple means, could obtain such gripping effects. His bold touch never lingers over a superfluous detail. What best proves his talent is the accuracy of his drawing and the naturalness of the scene he paints, his extraordinary use of sun or rain, with reflections in the puddles in the streets.It was therefore natural for such a talent to be recognized in France and throughout the world as that of a first class artist with great sensitivity and high artistic qualities. It is not surprising that his works, more valuable each day, were appreciated by many collectors."

Cortès’ beautiful depictions of Paris were always in demand and he continued to paint them until his death in 1969.

This essay is copyrighted by Rehs Galleries, Inc. and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from Rehs Galleries, Inc.

Biography from Odon Wagner Gallery:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Édouard Leon Cortès, of French and Spanish ancestry, was born in 1882. As an adolescent, he became fascinated with the arts and at seventeen began his studies at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.  In 1901 he contributed a dramatic Parisian street scene at dusk to the Salon des Artistes Français, which brought him immediate fame. Later, as an active member of the prestigious Société des Artistes Français, Cortès exhibited his works yearly at the Société Nationale and the Salon des Independants in Paris.

On the topic of Cortès and his relationship to Paris, biographer David Klein writes: “Paris changed during the years that Cortès painted it, and the changes appear in his paintings.  Horses and carriages disappear in favor of cars and trams; women’s hourglass silhouettes and picture hats give way to boyish figures in short skirts and little furs, gas streetlights turn into neon signs and glaring headlights.  But despite two world wars and the introduction of the machine age, the Paris of Cortès remains primarily the city of the Belle Epoque.  His paintings are often filled with nostalgia for the period.

The period we know today as La Belle Époque lasted from about 1880 to 1914. Many revolutionary ideas in politics, technology, science, poetry, music, literature and the fine arts emerged in Paris during this vibrant time. Paris was the cosmopolitan, fashionable stage on which the drama of the Belle Epoque was enacted.  The city itself was in a state of dramatic change. The campaign of rebuilding undertaken by Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann in the 1850’s, 60’s, 70’s yielded wide tree-lined avenues, extensive parks, and elegant golden-gray stone buildings. Parisians thronged the new boulevards, parks and theatres to see and to be seen.  In 1888 the Figaro Illustré devoted a special issue to this “spectacle de la rue”, calling the boulevards “the true theatre of Paris”.

His paintings express the romance, energy and charm of old Paris through his masterly application of bold brush strokes and intriguing colors. His works display the profound knowledge he held of perspective and composition; and, the viewer’s eye is most often caught by fascinating details – the play of lights on wet pavement, shadows on streets and glowing windows and street lamps. On any one of Cortès’ canvases, one can find an array of tones ranging from soft gray hues and ambers to vivid reds, yellows and oranges. A splash of purple may be a man’s tailored dinner jacket or a stroke of blue, a woman’s cloak. The viewer cannot help but marvel at the overall effect of the artist’s composition.

After a life long dedication to seizing the magic of Paris during its transition from the romantic Belle Epoque to the modern, twentieth century metropolis as we know it, Cortès has left the world a legacy of master paintings. Now found in the most prestigious collections throughout the world, his work continues to awe collectors.”

Excerpts from Edouard Cortès, reprinted with the kind permission of Mr. David Klein.

Biography from Anderson Galleries, Inc.:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Edouard Cortes was born into a family of artists and artisans in Paris, 1882. His grandfather, Andre Cortes, was famous for his work on the stained glass windows of the Cathedral of Seville and his father, Antonio Cortes, was a painter at the royal court of Spain. In this artistically conducive atmosphere, Edouard showed exceptional talent early and decided at a young age that he was destined to be a painter. He once stated, "I was born from and for painting."

In his youth, Cortes trained at his father's studio and was also given advice and encouragement from his brother (also a painter) and other local artists. Surprisingly, before undergoing his formal education at the National French Art School in Paris, a sixteen-year old Cortes first exhibited his work at the national exhibition of the Societe des Artistes Francais in Paris, 1899. His large painting, Le Labour, was a great success and the French press lauded the young phenomenon of the French art scene.

Edouard eventually became a member of the French Artists' Society, exhibiting his works every year as his reputation began to grow. In 1901 Cortes began his long tradition of painting different vignettes of Paris. He also painted familial interiors, landscapes, and seascapes but achieved his greatest fame through these masterly and expressive Parisian scenes. In 1915, he was awarded the Silver Medal at the Salon des Artistes Francais and the Gold Medal at the Salon des Independents. He also received numerous awards at the Salon d'Hiver during his artistic career.

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