Edouard Léon Cortès was born at Lagny (Seine et Marne), a few miles east of Paris on 26 August 1882 into a family of artists and artisans. His grandfather Andre Cortès was famous for his work on the stained glass windows of the Cathedral of Seville and his father, Antonio Cortès, was a painter at the Royal Court of Spain. In this artistically conducive atmosphere, Edouard showed exceptional talent early and decided at a young age that he was destined to be a painter. He once stated “I was born from and for painting”.
In his youth, Cortès trained at his father’s studio and was also given advice and encouragement from his brother (also a painter) and other local artists. Surprisingly, before undergoing his formal education at the National French Art School in Paris, a sixteen year old Cortès first exhibited his work at the national exhibition of the Société des Artistes Français in Paris in 1889. His large painting ‘Le Labour’ was a great success and the French press lauded the young phenomenon of the French art scene.
Cortès eventually became a member of the French Artists’ Society, exhibiting his works every year as his reputation began to grow. In 1901 Cortès began his long tradition of painting different vignettes of Paris. He also painted familial interiors, landscapes and seascapes but achieved his greatest fame through these masterly and expressive Parisian scenes. In 1915 he was awarded the Silver Medal at the Salon des Artists Français and the Gold Medal at the Salon des Independents. He also received numerous awards at the Salon d’Hiver during his artistic career.