1959 Édouard Cortès Oil Painting

Value (2008) | $30,000 Auction$50,000 Auction

APPRAISER:
Can you tell me who the artist is of this painting?

GUEST:
Yes, it's Édouard Cortès.

APPRAISER:
And how did you first become aware of him?

GUEST:
I was watching Antiques Roadshow, and in the Feedback Booth, a gentleman stated that he found out his Cortès was a fake. And a light bulb went off, and I ran downstairs, and sure enough, this painting that had been hanging on our wall for 40 years said, "Édouard Cortès."

APPRAISER:
And who was it who owned it originally? Was it your parents?

GUEST:
Yes, grandparents, yes, and they were both artists.

APPRAISER:
They were both painters. And did they paint in Paris at all, do you know?

GUEST:
I don't believe so-- they vacationed there. They brought home things that they liked and enjoyed, so...

APPRAISER:
What do you know about the artist?

GUEST:
I just found his bio on the internet, and that he was from a family of well-known artists. And he was best known for his Parisian street scenes. He was born in 1882 and died in 1969.

APPRAISER:
You've done your research; I commend you. That's absolutely correct. He was born quite near to Paris. His father, in fact, was a Spanish court painter. And the artist was based in Paris, and that's where he would have painted this. And he made Paris pretty much his subject matter from about 1900 onwards until his death. Some people have criticized him in the past for being perhaps a little too prolific and even formulaic, because many of his paintings are exactly this kind of subject. Now, there is a way that can help us to identify whether, in fact, it is by the artist. Do you know what that is?

GUEST:
No, I don't.

APPRAISER:
What he used to do was he would take a little pin and he would stick it in the canvas, and he would do that to establish the vanishing point to determine the perspective in the painting and in the drawing. So, let's see if we can find a little pinhole. Ah, a little pinprick right here. So it could be good news. Do you see that?

GUEST:
Yes, I do; I thought it was a flaw.

APPRAISER:
No. If you look at the lines, they all converge and come to this point. Now, that, of course, is not conclusive. There's a gallery in New York and there's another gentleman who will authenticate his works, but I think there's no question that this work is, in fact, by Édouard Cortès. And we do see a lot of them that aren't right. It's very well done; you've got these wonderful light sources. You see the reflections on the road in the foreground. He worked on similarly sized canvases-- this one's about 18x22; he did smaller ones. For an 18x22-inch canvas, at auction, that should be worth $30,000 to $50,000.

GUEST:
You've got to be kidding me-- $30,000 to $50,000?

APPRAISER:
$30,000 to $50,000. I would feel very confident in saying that. And in fact, I would expect it to make probably the upper... the upper reaches of that estimate-- $40,000 or $50,000.

GUEST:
That's absolutely wonderful. Wow! That's really exciting.

APPRAISER:
I hope those are tears of joy, by the way.

GUEST:
They are tears of joy.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Freeman's Auctioneers
Philadelphia, PA
Appraised value (2008)
$30,000 Auction$50,000 Auction
Event
Grand Rapids, MI (August 09, 2008)
Period
20th Century
Form
Painting
Material
Oil

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