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Édouard Cortès

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Édouard Cortès

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Biography of Édouard Cortès ( 1882-1969 )

Edouard Cortès was the son of Antoine Cortès, a reputed painter of the Spanish court and grandson of André Cortès, a craftsman. In 1895 after having got his leaving certificate, Edouard joined his father’s studio at the age of thirteen. This encouraged his vocation to become a painter. Alongside the training he received from his father, Edouard Cortès worked in the Froment studio (artists and engravers who were linked to the family through marriage). In 1899 he was admitted to the Exhibition at sixteen years of age, with his painting Le Labour . From then on, he was praised by the international press and began to earn himself a reputation. He regularly participated in this event throughout his whole life. He also exhibited at the Artistic and Literary Union of the canton of Lagny. As the years went by, the critics did not stop to confirm the talent of this artist at each new exhibition. In 1905 Cortès presented his work at the Exhibition of the Society of French Artists with a canvas entitled "La Place de Rennes à Paris le soir" (Rennes Square in Paris by evening). This greatly attracted the attention of the critics, especially the English press. The following year his Boulevard de la Madeleine, soir d’Automne (Boulevard de la Madeleine on an autumn evening) was applauded by the public and published as a postcard.

In 1907, aged twenty-five, he organised an auction of his Vues de Paris (Views of Paris) at the Hôtel Drouot, which was a great success. In 1908, he was nominated a member of the ‘Friendly Association of French Landscape Painters’. As a specialist of Parisian views, Cortès also brought back many studies from each of his trips. Therefore, in parallel to his activity as a Parisian painter, he regularly went to Brittany to paint coastal scenes. For example, in 1910, he painted several sketches of the North coastline and the Finistère region. The critics loved him and he worked non-stop, exhibiting his work at numerous exhibitions during this period (Salon d’Automne de la Société des Artistes Girondins à Bordeaux ; Salon des Indépendants ; Salon d’Hiver ; Salon de la Société Nationale de l’Horticulture ; Union artistique des Ardennes ; Société des Amis des Arts de l’Avalonnais ; Société artistique de Charenton ; Société des Amis des Arts de Bordeaux ; Société des Amis des Arts de la Côte d’Or ; Société des Amis des Arts de la Manche ; Société artistique de Roubaix-Tourcoing ; Société des Amis des Arts de la Ville d’Hyères ; Salon de l’Ecole Française ; Salon de la Société Havraise des Amis des Arts ; Salon de la Société des Beaux-Arts d’Eure-et-Loir ; Société des Amis des Arts de Douai ; Société Artistique de l’Aube ; etc…).

In 1915, Edouard Cortès voluntarily signed up for the war and was assigned to the Infantry. In the trenches he did several drawings of the enemy position. He also did a great number of studies on military life and war scenes which he encountered. Once back in Paris in 1919, he sent his work once again to various exhibitions. In 1920 the Austrian art dealer, Hugo Arnot, who had exhibited Monet’s paintings in 1911 and 1912, began buying Edouard Cortès’ work. In 1921, Cortès’ ‘Views of Paris’ and ‘Brittany Interiors’ were bought by famous collectors. He participated in three exhibitions which took place the following year at the Grand Palais on the Champs-Elysées , where once again, his work was praised by critics. In 1927 Cortès chaired the first exhibition of the Union of Fine Arts of Lagny, which was very successful with the public. Between two exhibitions, he travelled with his wife and daughter to Normandy, to Annecy in the Haute-Savoie region, and to the Channel coastline. In 1931, the Conseil Supérieur de la Ligue d’Enseignement et d’Education Sociale (Education authority) awarded him with a prize called the Croix d’Honneur de Chevalier de l’Education Sociale . He won many awards at this time and enjoyed fame. During the Second World War, he lived in Normandy with his family in Cormelles-Le-Royal. During the fifties, he returned to Lagny and never left. Up until the end of his life, Edouard Cortès never stopped exhibiting his work at numerous exhibitions, presenting views of Paris above all, having become a specialist in this area and his work was in great demand. He portrayed them at all angles, describing squares and boulevards, at every instant of the day and night. However, he also regularly presented landscapes taken from his travels, especially from the Atlantic coast. Edouard Cortès is known above all for his street scenes and Paris monuments. These were also painted by Galien-Laloue and Luigi Loir during this period.

He was one of the most prolific artists of his time. He used bright colours, even in night scenes, and never forgot to add tinted colours (reds, yellows or blues) to windows, shop signs or lampposts. His views of Paris are among the most beautiful and graphic of this kind. Cortès knew how to capture this city in all seasons over more than sixty years.

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