1882 - 1969
Edouard Léon Cortès, the son of the painter Antonio Cortès, was sent to the front during World War I to sketch enemy positions. In civilian life, his base was in Lagny in the former studio of Cavallo-Peduzzi, although he travelled extensively in France, notably in Normandy, Brittany, the Champagne region and Savoy, painting as he went.
Edouard Cortès exhibited in Paris at the Salon des Artistes Français (of which he became a member in 1907), the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, the Autumn and Winter Salons, and the Salon des Artistes Indépendants. As a lifelong resident of Lagny, he also set up and presided over the Groupe de Lagny. Cortès was the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including nomination in 1929 to the rank of Officier de l’Académie des Beaux-Arts, the award of the Croix d’Honneur as a Chevalier de l’Education Sociale (1931), and elevation to the rank of Chevalier of the Order des Arts et des Lettres.
Little is known about Cortès private life and there may even be some grounds for suspicion that paintings attributed to him could be the work of André and/or Antonio Cortès. When Edouard Cortès’ paintings first went on sale in 1919-1921 (and even much later, on 25 September 1968 in Nice), they included Breton interiors and, above all, landscapes with figures and animals (often in pairs or pendants) that are distinctly at odds with the bulk of his output and, moreover, are decidedly more like the work of André Cortès. It is also a fact that, on the evidence of public auctions between 1903 and 1908 and, above all, after 1924, the vast majority of paintings by Edouard Léon Cortès are cityscapes of Paris (a subject that would appear as inexhaustible as it is commercially viable). What can be said with some degree of certainty, however, is that Edouard Cortès was an accomplished heir of Impressionism, notably in terms of his ability to render the effects of changing light and the passage of the seasons