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A clever boy artist

There is a young man living at Lagny, a village no great distance from Paris, since an hour at  the most in the train will enable you to view its sylvan beauties, who may some day attain to great eminence as a painter.
Other young artists who have been filled, like himself, with a profound love of Nature have won fame. Why not M. Henri Cortès ? Certainly he has not made a bad start, for in this year's Salon can be seen the first picture which he has had received at a really important exhibition, and it must be remenbered he is not yet seventeen years of age.

A number of celebrated painters have had work received at important exhibitions when younger than seventeen. Turner was only fifteen years of age when, in 1790, he had on view at the Academy a water-colour of Lambeth Palace. But there is not great difference between fifteen an seventeen - the noteworthy fact to be observed is that a creditable piece of work has been done before manhood has been reached. And I think anyone who has seen M. Henri Cortès "Le Labour" will agree with the French crities in declaring it to be a picture of wich many older and more experienced artists might well be proud. There is something about this picture of a ploughman and his horses which reminds one of the Barbizon School. The same flat, straight horizon is there as in Millet's pictures painting on the Chailly Plain, and the upper part of the figure of the man specially reminds us of the work of the painter of the "Angelus". This is no "studio picture", but a work of a discipline of the plein-air school to whom Nature is "un livre toujours ouvert devant mes yeux et où il y a toujours a approfondir ses mystères" - " a book ever open before my eyes and in which the mysteries of Nature are ever to be fathomed".

The painter of "Le Labour" was born on Aug.6, 1882. He  went to school at five years of age and left at the age of thirteen, after having obtained the elementary education certificate. While at school, his playthings were not tops and marbles, but paint-brushes and a palette. It was evident, in fact, in wich direction his tastes lay, so his parents encouraged him en every possible way. The boy entered the atelier of his father, also an artist, and from that day to this he has had no other master than he, unless that master be the book of mysteries of wich the young artist writes so reverently in one of his letters to me.

I have said that Henri Cortès may some day attain to great eminence as a painter.

Many who have become celebrated in art have shown less promise than he shows at seventeen, and there is a modesty about him which indicates that he is hardly likely to be so well satisfied with early successes as to give up making greater efforts the older he gets. Like the doyen of French landscape-painters, Henri Harpignies, may he ever stive to paint better and better as time advances !


1882 : Born on 6 August in Lagny-sur-Marne
1899 : Admitted to the Salon of the Artistes Français
1907 : Member of the Société des Artistes Français
1908 : Death of his father Antonio Cortès
1914 : Marriage with Fernande Joyeuse in Paris
1916 : Birth of his daughter Simonne, Jacqueline
1918 : Death of his wife in Paris
1919 : Second marriage with his sister-in-law Lucienne Joyeuse
1922 : Member of the Société des Artistes Indépendants
1926 : Président-Founder of l'Union des Beaux-Arts de Lagny
1929 : Officer of the Beaux-Arts Académy
1931 : Chevalier de l'éducation Sociale (decoration  of social education)
1955 : Honorary President of the Union des Beaux-Arts de Lagny until 1969
1969 : Death on 26 november in Lagny-sur-Marne


Salons in Paris, France
Salon des Artistes Français : 1899 à 1920
Salon des Indépendants :
1922 à 1930
Salon d’Hiver
Salon de l’école Française :
1911-1913-1914-1920 to 1926 - 1928 to 1931-1934-1935
Salon de la Société Nationale d'Horticulture de France

International Exhibitions
Exhibitions : Austria, Canada, England, France, Switzerland, United States