signed "Edouard Cortes." (lower right)
This painting depicts the Boulevard de la Madeleine in Paris; with the Place de la Madeleine on the right and a glimpse of the department store Trois Quartiers on the left. Towards the end of the nineteeth century, several large buildings in Paris were emptied and transformed into department stores. Parisians were in awe of the new grands magasins de nouveautes. Some of these large stores were conservative while others were more luxurious fitted with grand staircases, offering find dining at restaurants, tea rooms, and offering a shopping experience with fantastic displays and a wide selection of goods. As time went by, these grands magasins competed with each other in elegance of design. Also part of this composition is The Madeleine a monumental building situated in Paris' financial district that was designed in its present form as a temple to the glory of Napoleon's army. Twenty-eight steps lead to fifty-two immense Corinthian columns. The site of the Madeleine was at times intended to become a bank, a parliament building, a railway station, and the Paris stock exchange. Today the edifice is a parish of the Archdiocese of Paris.
Provenance: Private collection, USA
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We are actively seeking to acquire paintings by Edouard Cortès.
Édouard Leon Cortès, of French and Spanish ancestry, was born in 1882. As an adolescent, he became fascinated with the arts and at seventeen began his studies at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1901 he contributed a dramatic Parisian street scene at dusk to the Salon des Artistes Français, which brought him immediate fame. Later, as an active member of the prestigious Société des Artistes Français, Cortès exhibited his works yearly at the Société Nationale and the Salon des Independants in Paris.
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; and, the viewer’s eye is most often caught by fascinating details – the play of lights on wet pavement, shadows on streets and glowing windows and street lamps. On any one of Cortès’ canvases, one can find an array of tones ranging from soft gray hues and ambers to vivid reds, yellows and oranges. A splash of purple may be a man’s tailored dinner jacket or a stroke of blue, a woman’s cloak. The viewer cannot help but marvel at the overall effect of the artist’s composition.
After a life long dedication to seizing the magic of Paris during its transition from the romantic Belle Epoque to the modern, twentieth century metropolis as we know it, Cortès has left the world a legacy of master paintings. Now found in the most prestigious collections throughout the world, his work continues to awe collectors.
Odon Wagner Gallery, Toronto, Canada