Edouard Cortès may not be a painter's name that slips off the tongue like Van Gogh, Monet or Constable but there is a fair chance you may well recognise some of his his work as it features heavily in puzzles and on biscuit boxes. These are the paintings he did of Paris from the turn of the last century to his death in 1969. He was born in born Lagny-sur-Marne east of Paris in 1882 and spent much of his life in that area but he also spent time in Normandy where he painted some of his less well known paintings.
The library in our local town of Condé-sur-Noireau houses an art museum and the first floor sees regular temporary exhibitions. At the moment it has an exhibition of the Normandy paintings by Edouard Cortès.
Below is an example of a painting of Paris you may recognise as one of his typical Paris street scenes. This one was actually painted in his later years but harps back to the time just before motor engines in Paris, the so called Belle-Epoque. In many of the paintings he did of this time, horses feature prominently, pulling carriages of all shapes and sizes.
However, it is when he is away from Paris that more of his works include horses. His Normandy scenes feature them in many roles.
The next painting is of the beach at Le Tréport in Haute-Normandy where horse are pulling carts piled high with seaweed or wrack which would have been used to fertilise the fields. Cortès painted this when he was just 18 years old, clearly illustrating what a talent he had.
In this next painting we see the hard working cart horses taking a rest, although the machinery in this farming scene might also serves to indicate that the time for horses working the land is nearing it's end.
Other paintings in the exhibition that include horses show them pulling agricultural carts filled with the harvest and with hay, pulling horse drawn roulottes, standing alongside gypsy basket makers (vanniers), at a trotting race meeting and pulling canal barges. He also painted horses on their own including this beautiful study of a percheron.
Apologies for the quality of the photos - I was not supposed to be taking them at all so I rushed a bit!
I have searched the internet for more examples of paintings with horse without success as many are housed in private collections and these particular ones were just on show for the current exhibition. However, if you search for Edouard Cortès online you will see many of his iconic images of Paris during La Belle Epoque which will often include horses. Interestingly though, I have seen no other animals of any sort in any of his paintings.
The exhibition in Condé-sur-Noireau run until October 24th and is free. If you can't make this before it closes, next year Normandy is celebrating The Normandy Impressionist Festival from 16th April to 26th September 2016. Whether the work of Cortès will be included as he painted in the Post Impressionist style, I cannot say but I hope some of his works will be there as he really was a very prolific and high quality painter with his works now hanging in well known museums around the world.
What do you think of his work? Do you recognise any of the paintings and have you seen any including animals other than horses? Please do leave a comment.
This post will be linked to the weekly Animal Tales blog linky which opens on Tuesday 29th September here on the blog. Do pop back and link up your animal blog posts or come and have a read of the lovely animal posts that get linked up.