Artist Spotlight: Édouard Leon Cortès

Known as the “Parisian Poet of Painting”, French artist Édouard Leon Cortés is world-renowned for his ability to capture the romantic atmosphere of Paris.

Porte Saint-Denis, Winter



Porte Saint-Denis, Winter, a Post-Impressionistic Paris street scene, was painted in 1930 by Édouard Leon Cortés (1882-1969) at the peak of his career. This striking winter street scene captures the charm and warm winter light of old Paris near the stunning Porte Saint Denis. This important oil painting exhibits the style Cortés chose to portray in the landmarks he painted.

The bold splashes of color common to Cortés’ oeuvre are clear in this street scene, with the lights shining brightly from windows and the rich glow of the street lanterns against the backdrop of an overcast sky. Cortés’ portrayal of the bustling Paris streets, filled with pedestrians and automobiles, evokes the warmth and essence of the City of Lights.

Cortés as a young man


Born in 1882 in Lagny-sur-Marne, France, Cortés’ destiny was to become a painter. His father, Antonio Cortés, was a Spanish court painter, important in his own right, as was his older brother Andre. The young Édouard was greatly influenced and instructed by them both. While growing up, he was surrounded by great Impressionist artists who were family friends, including Maximilian Luce, Camille and Lucien Pissarro, among others. Lagny-sur-Marne was well-known for its picturesque landscape, surrounding Cortés with further inspiration. At seventeen, he began his studies at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His fame was soon earned after he contributed a dramatic Parisian street scene at dusk to the Societe des Artistes Française. Thus began his dedication to capturing the enchantment of Paris on canvas.

Cortés’ signature

Though he repeatedly painted the very same streets of Paris, he never lost his affection for the changing light and seasons, bringing its magic to every canvas he touched. Cortés’ paintings were in high demand throughout his life and continue to be so today, as they are favorites among collectors for their nostalgia and perspective of his beloved City of Lights.

To learn more about Porte Saint-Denis, Winter, click here. To read more Artist Spotlights, click here.

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