Edouard Leon Cortes



Artist's Biography & Works For Sale


Edouard Leon Cortes was born on August 6, 1882, in the town of Lagny, thirty kilometers east of Paris in the Seine-et-Marne region of France, into a family of artists and artisans. 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 for the Spanish Royal Court. Cortes was baptised Henri Edouard Leon Cortes and used the name Henri for some years and some of his earlier paintings may be signed Henri, Henri Edouard or Edouard H. 

Cortes attended a private elementary school and already knew that he was destined to be a painter. He showed exceptional artistic talent and with additional training from his father and others exhibited his first painting at the Salons at the age of sixteen titled ‘le labour’ to great critical acclaim. The German critic Erich Korner recounted, ‘The press in the French capital adopted the young phenomenon, awarded him the status of a legend and placed crowns of victory on his head’.Cortes continued to exhibit in his home town and at the National Exhibitions of the Société des Artistes of which he was now a member. In 1901 he exhibited a Paris view painting  ‘Aspect de la Porte Saint Martin’. This was a precursor to many that he would paint for over six decades.  

On a personal level, Cortes married Fernande Jeanne Joyeuse in 1914 and they had a daughter 2 years later named Jacqueline Simone.  In 1918 however, Cortes lost his wife and shortly thereafter married his sister in law Lucienne Joyeuse.  Cortes joined the war efforts in a French Infantry regiment at the age of 32 and whilst undertaking a dangerous mission as a contact agent on the front lines, was injured by a bayonet and evacuated to a military Hospital. He was subsequently awarded the Croix de Guerre and demobilized in 1919.

Edouard Cortes’s paintings were first exhibited in North America in 1945 and he achieved worldwide acclaim in the following years for his scenes of Parisian life depicting many iconic landmarks such as the Notre Dame, the Moulin Rouge, Café de la Paix and the Champs Elysees. His winter scenes are particularly vivid and his late works used an immense amount of colourto contrast against the rather grey and wintry conditions.

An obituary by Raoul Gayou that appeared in ‘Le Marne’ on December 4, 1969 explains Cortes paintings perfectly, ‘ one needs to spend time studying his canvases in order to realise how he obtained such striking effects with such seemingly simple means. The large touch of his brush never lingered over unnecessary details, but the accuracy of the drawing, the liveliness of  the scenes and the postures, the tormented skies, the effect of rain and shine give his paintings an incomparable charm. Part of his secret lies in the science of the tones and the sparkling of lights, with dazzling results. At a time when so many styles compete in search of an elusive and uncertain truth, it seems that an answer was provided by the very personal style of Edouard Cortes’. 

Principle art exhibitions included Principaux Salons, Salon des Artistes Français, Salon de l’Union, Artistique et Littéraire de Lagny, Salon de l’Ecole Française, Salon d’Hiver, Salon d’Automne, Salon des Indépendants and Salon de l’Union des Beaux-Arts de Lagny. During his life time, Cortes was also awarded Officer de l’Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1920, Croix d’Honneur de Chevalier de l’Education Sociale in 1939 and Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 1959.

Works by Edouard Cortes are and always have been very highly collectable.

We also wish to buy original oil paintings by Edouard Cortes so if you have one to sell, please contact us.