Thursday, December 19, 2013


Edouard Cortes

Post-Impressionist Édouard Cortès is best known for his lively and colorful scenes of bustling Parisian streets. Views that depict the activities at the cafes, flower stalls, theatres, carriages with elegantly dressed passengers were quite the rage. Paintings of fashionable Parisians in chic settings replaced historical and mythic themes on drawing room walls. The feeling in the land at least among the burgeoning middle classes was one of prosperity and joie de vivre. This mirror on their lives was indeed a testament of that spirit. Paris at the time had any number of meeting places for all spectrum of society.
At age seventeen, Cortès began his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The year 1901 marked the artist's first exhibition at the Salon des Artistes Francais of one of his works, a dramatic Paris street scene at dusk, which brought him immediate fame. Later, as an active member of the prestigious Societe des Artistes Francais, Cortès exhibited his works yearly in Paris at the Society's salon as well as at the Salon des Independants and the Salon de l'Hiver. With the tremendous success that his Paris scenes brought him during his lifetime, Cortès continues to delight art-lovers today and is considered to be one of the greatest masters of French impressionism. 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.



Flower Market At La Madeleine

Boulevard de la Madeleine

Rue de Rivoli

Place de la Concorde
Images from

A Spring Day

Boulevard a Paris

Theatre de Vaudeville

Rue Dulm Pantheon

Although Cortès was a pacifist, when war came close to his native village he was compelled to enlist in a French Infantry Regiment at the age of 32. As a contact agent Cortès was wounded by a bayonet, evacuated to a military hospital, and awarded the Croix de Guerre. After recovery he was the reassigned to utilize his artistic talent to sketch enemy positions. Later in life his convictions led him to refuse the Légion d'Honneur from the French Government. In 1919 he was demobilized.
At the age of 17, Édouard began his studies at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His first exhibition in 1901 brought him immediate recognition. Cortès stressed his independence. Once in responding to a journalist whom asked if he was a student of Luigi Loir; he replied in pun, "Non, elève de lui tout seul." ("No, a student of myself only.") His works were first exhibited in North America in 1945 and he subsequently achieved even greater success. In his last year of life he was awarded the prestigious Prix Antoine-Quinson from the Salon de Vincennes.
(Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


Place de la Madeleine

Paris street

As an artist, Edouard Cortès sought to discover the unperceived aspects of nature and man; those special atmospheric qualities of mist in the air, the afternoon sun, evening shadows, rattling carriages and bookstalls along the quays of the river Seine. Cortès captured in oils the unique and magical light of Paris. In some paintings his stonework seems almost to “weather” before our eyes and in others it glistens like pearls against a summer sky. In evening compositions night falls like a gentle veil, wistful and wreath-like, holding intact shadows of the night.
Edouard Cortes windows shine brightly, blazing with his lamps glowing, signs shimmer and streets appear wet from a sultry nocturnal rain. Clearly evident is Cortès’ talent for creating the perfect composition, every angle giving way to a new look.
Living in the heart of Paris, Cortès was surrounded by the many famous landmarks: Notre Dame, La Madeleine, L’Opera, the Café de la Paix, Place de la Concorde, La Place Vendome, the Eiffel Tower and more. Cortès deliberately chose these sights, studying each from different points of view, at certain times of the day and in varying seasons. The dramatic facades of winter versus summer resulted in entirely different compositions, crystalline white snow, chilled air and buildings standing triumphant in a winter wonderland, versus the sweet smell of summer, flower vendors and book sellers, blazing shadows and glistening white fountains. Unique to Cortès was his impressionistic flair with the brush. With strict precision in the use of his brush and oils, each movement of the paint on canvas made its impact.

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