La Porte St Martin

by Edouard Leon Cortes

P.O.A.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 15 x 18 in./ 38.1 x 45.7 cm.
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘Edouard Cortes’ lower left
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Nicknamed ‘le poête Parisien de la peinture’(the Parisian poet of painting) Cortès’s Paris is very much one to be celebrated and remembered, with his works highlighting the beauty and intrigue of the city’s hustle and bustle with an ever-present nostalgia shown by the horse drawn carriages.

Catalogue No: 4882 Categories: ,

This evening scene of the Gare de l’Est in Paris showcases Cortes’ deft use of colour and composition to capture a moment in Parisian life.  In this extraordinary painting, Edouard Léon Cortès captures the beauty of la porte St Martin in Paris, a bustling square in the heart of the city. Pedestrians are dressed warmly on this cold and rainy autumn night, the pavement glistening in the downpour. Carriages and automobiles move along the lane towards the famed arch of la porte St Martin, erected at the order of Louis XIV in honour of his victories on the Rhine and in Franche-Comté. Though the painting is entitled La Porte St Martin the focus is on the hustle and bustle of life with the illumination emanating from the light of the shops adding a lovely orange and red glow to the scene. Cortès’ ability to master light, as well as his lifelong love of Paris, are on full display in this incredible oeuvre.

Though Cortès painted this area time and time again, each depiction remains unique and portrays the changes brought by time and the seasons. In response to a question asking him why he painted Paris so much, Cortès replied, “Because I adore Paris, and because wherever one turns there is something to put on canvas.” This admiration is seen in his vibrant depictions of the capital, like here, full of life and light.

Provenance

From the George & Virginia Ablah Estate, United States;
Private Collection, United Kingdom

 

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Biography

Edouard Léon Cortès was born in 1882 at Lagny a few miles east of Paris. It was an exciting epoch: 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 École 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 Cortès windows shine brightly, blazing with his lamps glowing, signs shimmer and streets appear wet from a sultry nocturnal rain.

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