Edouard Leon Cortes was born at Lagny (Seine et Marne), a few miles east of Paris on 26 August 1882. It was an exciting epoch into which Edouard Cortès was born. Art, Literature, music and political thought reached a pinnacle of creativity, allowing new schools of artistic expression to evolve. With this revitalized attitude towards new ways of seeing art, experimenting with colour, depth and perspective, Edouard Cortès became enraptured with the idea of becoming a professional painter. At the young age of 17 Cortès began formal studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and for five years he expanded his horizons in the fields of classical and impressionistic art. He was a Member of the Society of French Artists and made his debut in Paris in 1907, introducing a style which was considered to be a breath of fresh air and highly individual.
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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