The eye of the collector by Jean-luc Ferrand

Antonio CORTES

Tuesday 17 May 2016, by Barbara Cogollos

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Painter to the royal court of Spain, he came to France for the Universal Exhibition of 1855.
Former pupil of Constant Troyon and excellent painter of rural life, his talent is exercised in farmyards. He became friendly with the painters of the region and is the origin of the group of Lagny.

Born in Seville in 1827, Antonio Cortés came to France in 1855 for the Universal Exhibition. Before that he had been a painter at the Spanish Royal Court where his talent brought him fame and the favors of art lovers.

When he settled in Lagny-sur Marne in 1865, the town was booming, the technological advances boosted all the activity sectors. Society as a whole was swinging irrevocably into the industrial era.

Lagny was a little town located in the heart of Ile de France on the banks of the Marne river twenty kilometers away from Paris, Lagny was with troyes, Provins and Bar-sur-Aube one of the most popular market places in Champagne and boasted then the signs of its incredible mutations.

The Paris-Strasbourg railway line had been open since 1849. This had triggered an amazing expansion of manufactures, but the tanneries remained the driving economic force when schools, slaughter houses, and a large scale hospital were built.

La Belle Epoque” followed on from the fatal war of 1870 when the town was completely destroyed. Almost everywhere, magnificent houses were built for the Parisian bourgeoisie, eager to enjoy the charm of the pleasant and relaxing setting. Restaurants flourished, boatmen bustled on the Marne river, and sporting events attracted a public hungry for leisure and shows, as countless intellectuals, writers, actors, scientists and artists flocked to the Lagny area.

Particularly active in this circle of artists eager to reveal the truth of nature, is Antonio Cortés whose oeuvre is fully in keeping with the Barbizon school. It is not surprising to fine his name on the list of Salon des Artists Francais during 1868 as part of pleinairisme. His main topics are not sheep but in the manner of Constant Troyon, herds of cows and oxen.

He was not only an authentic landscape painter but also a significant painter of animals. He excels in painting cattle, but this does not exclude other participants of the rural life. He was as much famed in Lagny where he lived at #7 Bld Carpentier, with his wife, born Angeline Celile Berger, and their son Andre Corte’s Aguilar born in Paris in 1866. During the 1870 war, they went back to Paris, where his wife was to die the year after.

After the tragic events, which occurred during the Commune de Paris, the family returned to Lagny at 32 rue du Pont-Neuf. Antonio Cortes resumed his landscape paintings and took time to teach his art.

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