Frédéric Samuel Cordey studied under Pils and Boulanger at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and also frequented Renoir's studio, where he posed for the figure one of the dancers in the latter's Ball at the Moulin de la Galette). In 1877, at Renoir's suggestion, he featured at the third Impressionist exhibition. From 1887, Cordey exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Indépendants. Cordey was also closely related to Guillaumin, Pissarro and Sisley.
In 1881 he traveled to Algeria with his friend Auguste Renoir.
In 1887 he exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants, and from 1903 onward at the Salon d'Automne.
Cordey frequently painted landscapes of the River Oise near Auvers-sur-Oise, of Pontoise and of Provence. Additionally, he produced portraits and genre compositions such as After Lunch, At the Piano, and Oriental Woman.
A retrospective exhibition of Cordey's work took place in the Galerie Choiseul in Paris in the winter of 1913 / 14.
In February 1914 Alphonse Thalasso praised Cordey's landscapes of Éragny in "L'Art et les Artistes" and mentions his talent as a portraitist.
In the preface to the catalog Gustave Geffroy wrote: "You can pretend not to know the work of Cordey because it was never seen in its entirety. The painter had his livelihood. It is said that one of them [an art dealer] came at the end of his life to him and asked him to give him all of his pictures. Cordey had nothing against it, but laid down such a high price, the price of his entire life, that the visitor did not insist further".
In 2003, examples of his work featured at Between Heaven and Earth: Camille Pissarro and the Painters of the Oise Valley ( Entre ciel et terre, Camille Pissaro et les peintres de la vallée de l'Oise), an exhibition held at the Musée Tavet-Delacour in Pontoise to mark the centenary of the latter's death.
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Paris (Mus. d'Orsay): Madame Cordey at her Tapestry (1879, oil on canvas)
Musée départemental de l'Oise, Beauvais
Leeds Art Gallery, UK - Le chômage sur l'Oise
Les Peintres de l'Oise, Musée Talvet-Delacour at Pontoise, 2003