Howard Rehs has confirmed this painting as a later work by Édouard Léon Cortès.
Edouard Cortès was born in Lagny-sur-Marne, France in August of 1882. He was the son of Antonio Cortès, the Spanish court painter, who was himself the son of the painter, André Cortès. He attended a private elementary school until age thirteen. Thereafter, he devoted himself to painting, working and studying with his father and older brother. In 1899, at the age of 17, he began his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and exhibited his first work, entitled La Labour, at the Société des Artistes Français. The work was well received by both the critics and the public. The year 1901 marked the artist’s first exhibition at the Salon des Artistes Français. One of his works, a dramatic Paris street scene at dusk, brought him immediate fame. Later, as an active member of the prestigious Societe des Artistes Français, he exhibited his works yearly in Paris at the Society’s salon as well as at the Salon des Independants, and the Salon de l’Hiver.
It was at the turn of the 19th century that Cortes began to paint the scenes he would become most famous for: Paris’ streets and monuments. Views of Paris, or, as it became known, “the city of lights,” were in great demand by both collectors and tourists. Cortes, along with other artists, such as Eugene Galien-Laloue (1854-1941), Luigi Loir (1845-1916), and Jean Beraud (1849-1936), captured the city during its heyday and continued painting these scenes well into the 20th century. His poetic Parisian scenes are often imbued with nostalgia for belle époque France. Even into the 1950s, he often painted horse-drawn omnibuses and people in fashions preceding 1920. Cortes commented that, at least in his paintings, he wished to stop history in 1939, before the Second World War. The window he provides into this earlier period of Parisian life offers the viewer a visual history of France.
Cortes’ views of Paris are amongst the most telling and beautiful images of this genre and continue to delight art lovers today. His paintings express the romance, energy, and charm of old Paris through his masterly application of bold brush strokes and intriguing colors.
In Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle, Paris, Cortès is at his best depicting one of his favorite subjects, Paris. The artist brightens up a dark, cloudy day with bursts of vivid oranges, reds, and pinks. The shimmering quality of the roads and walkways seem to indicate that this has been a rainy day, and the sparse, dark gold leaves of a small tree place the time of year as autumn. The liveliness of the brushstrokes creates a sense of movement within the urban scene, as do the crowds of people bustling along the busy sidewalks. This work is an exceptional example displaying Cortes’ profound knowledge of perspective, and the composition is full of delightful details such as the burst of light from the store windows and their reflection in street.
Cortes’ paintings are exhibited in many French museums and can be found in Belgium, England, Switzerland, Sweden, and Canada.