Cordey, Frédéric



Impressionism: partaking the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition

Frédéric-Samuel Cordey


A great, but forgotten, Impressionist

Was Frédéric-Samuel Cordey an Impressionist?
Cordey only joined the 3th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877. In that sense he did not belong to the ‘impressionist’ art-movement. But Cordey had several contacts within the impressionist circles. He was one of the closest friends of Renoir. He attended his studio in the Rue Saint-Georges and his house in Rue Cortot and belonged to a circle of inseparable friends, including Franc-Lamy.  Cordey several times modelled for Renoir: in Moulin de la Galette (1876), The artist’s studio (1876), Conversation (1879ca). Renoir also made a pastel of Madame Cordey (R88). Cordey also was a model for Norbert Goeneutte (1885ca). Cordey regularly visited Café de la Nouvelle-Athènes . He also joined the meetings in the restaurant of Murer. Cordey painted with Cézanne, Guillaumin and Vignon in Auvers-sur-Oise, Eragny and Moret-sur-Loing (see pictures). In this sense Cordey clearly was a member of the ‘impressionist’ art-movement.
Cordey used many elements of the impressionist painting style. Except for his early years, he mostly used bright colours. He often used juxta-posed brushstrokes, but also more smooth or thick and broad brushstrokes. For the shadows he often used blues, purples and dark-greens. He often rendered the effect of the sunlight on the colours. In this sense you can call him an Impressionist. This makes it all the more sad, that he is almost forgotten.

Frédéric Cordey joined only the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877:
At the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition Cordey showed 4 works. There were just 2 reviews.
Cordey was invited by his close friend Renoir for who’s famous painting ‘Moulin de la Galette‘ he also modelled (iR69;iR3;R1,p391;R3,p199). See link for his pictures. See link for an account.


Frédéric-Samuel Cordey at the Salon and other exhibitions:
Cordey only exhibited at the Salon in 1876 with a portrait of a child (iR1). Probably in 1884 and 1887 Cordey exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants (iR3;iR22;R16;iR250;iR251;iR77;R88). In 1890 he exhibited with the Salon des Cent (R230;iR19). Cordey was a partaker from the beginning of the Salon d’Automne in 1903 and a Sociétaire from 1904-08; in 1906 he also was part of the jury for the paintings (R239).
See link for his pictures. See link for an account.

Frédéric-Samuel Cordey as an artist:
From 1872-75 Cordey was a pupil of Isidore Pils, together with Franc-Lamy and Goeneutte (iR1;R9;R88;iR69;iR3;iR4;iR5). In 1875, after the death of Pils, Franc Lamy, Cordey and Goeneutte became pupil of Henri Lehmann (iR4;iR5;R16;iR22;R1,p384). Probably in 1876 they switched classes and became pupil of Jean-Léon Gérôme (iR4;iR5). Ohter sources mention that Cordey also was a pupil of Gustave Boulanger (R9;R88;iR69;iR3) and Péquegnot (iR1). Together with his friend Franc-Lamy (and Norbert Goeneutte) he resisted against the classical teachings of the Ecole des Beaux-arts and asked Manet to be his pupils in a ‘free studio’; Manet refused (R1,p384/5;R88;R3;iR5).
Cordey was one of the most close friends of Renoir (R88;iR3;iR69). Together with Frank-Lamy, Rivière, Lestringuez, Duret, Chocquet and Edmond Maître (a writer / musician), Cordey gathered in the garden of Renoir’s house in the Rue Cortot and in his studio on the Rue Saint-Georges. Many of them helped to carry everyday the canvas on which Renoir would paint his famous ‘Moulin de la Galette‘, on which most of them also were portrayed (R1,p384-6;R16;R8,p246;R88;R89,p60;R82,p22-3). According to Sue Roe, it was Lamy who stimulated Renoir to do the painting on the spot (R4,p163). Sue Roe writes that Lamy and Rivière painted side by side with Renoir (R4,p164) and Cordey and Lamy also would paint the scenery of his brightly coloured garden (R4,p166). Sue Roe claims that Renoir knew Cordey, Frank-Lamy and Norbert Goenuette from his time at Atelier Gleyre (R4,p161), this was from 1861-64, but by than they were less than 11 years old.
Cordey regularly visited Café de la Nouvelle-Athènes (R3;iR5;R88). Cordey and Frank-Lamy later joined the wednesday dinners at Eugène Murer, which were also frequented by Cézanne, Guillaumin, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley and also Guérard (Eva Gonzalès‘ husband), the etcher Bresdin (Redon’s master), Cabaner (a musician), Champleury, Hoschedé and Père Tanguy (with whom he was intimate) (R1,p414;R88). Cordey also would visit Murer in Auvers and in his hotel in Rouen and would write the preface of the auction of Murer his collection in 1900 (R88).
Duret wrote in 1878 that he is one of the artists closely linked to the 5 key Impressionists (R142,p131/2), but in a later edition he left him out (R7). In a letter to Pissarro (1881/01/24) Caillebotte included Cordey in the groupe (of Impressionists) opposite to the group of Realists around Degas (R102,p275;R116I,p170;R1,p448;R88). In March / April 1881, when Renoir was in Algiers, he met Cordey (and Lhote and Lestringuez) (R1,p454;iR3;iR5;R31,p300); other sources claim they travelled together to and in Algiers (R89,p60;R3;R88;iR251).
Cordey had a personal fortune and was financially independend (R3;R88;iR4;iR116;iR250); it is interesting to know if he collected art-works and if they were auctioned after his death. Cordey painted mainly landscapes (R3;R88). He painted in the style of Pissarro, Renoir and Sisley (R16;R88). He also did portray Renoir in his ‘Le peintre Renoir au travail’; Nina de Callias in ‘Le jardin de Mme de Callias; ‘Léon Dierx prince des poètes’ (former docteur Viau collection) (R88;iR3). Cordey received positive critics from Geffroy, Paul Alexis and Tabarant (R88). See also the thematical overview of his pictures.

Where did Cordey live and paint?
Cordey lived in Eragny-sur-Oise and Neuville-sur-Oise after 1890 (iR77;iR116;R88); this is about 35km nort-east of Paris. But he first visited Pontoise in 1873 and was a friend of Dr. Gachet, who lived in Auvers-sur-Oise (R89,p60). Cordey painted with Cézanne, Guillaumin (to whom he dedicated a work in 1901↑) and Vignon in the surroundings of Auvers-sur-Oise and Eragny. He produced works titled: ‘Vielle route à Auvers’; ‘L’Oise débordée’; ‘Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône’; ‘Clocher de Cergy’; ‘Péniches à Eragny’ (R88). When we regard his activities in the surroundings of Pontoise, it is strange that Cordey is not mentioned as part of the School of Pontoise (R17,p178/9) and that he is just one time mentioned in the biography of Pissarro (R116I,p170), although Adler mentions that Cordey and Pissarro remained on ‘cordial terms’ and Cordey visited him in Éragny-sur-Epte (R89,p60).
Cordey also painted in the surroundings of Moret-sur-Loing, which lies east of Paris (R3;R88;iR5); see his work ‘Garage à Moret’ (R88). Sisley lived in these surroundings from 1880 till his death in 1899. Cordey also painted in Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme in the summer of 1898 together with Degas; see ‘Rue des Moulins à Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme’ (R89,p60;R88). See these and other places (with links to maps) where Cordey painted in the topographical and thematical overview of his pictures.

Biography of Frédéric-Samuel Cordey:

  • 1854/07/09: Frédéric-Samuel Cordey was born in Paris (iR24;iR69;R88;iR77)
  • 1876: Cordey lived 35, Rue Forest, Paris (Montmartre) (iR1)
  • 1877: Cordey lived at 14, Rue Le Chapelais, Paris (Montmartre) (R2,p204;iR1)
  • 1881/05/14: exhibited ‘Le Grog’ at the auction in Hôtel Drouot to support the musician Cabaner, organized by his friend Franc Lamy (iR40;iR3;R88I,p88)
  • 1884 (and or 1887): Cordey exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants (iR3;iR22); Spiess mentions he did so 1887 onwards (R16;iR250;iR251;iR77); Monneret writes he did so much later than 1881 (R88).
  • 1887: exhibited at the Salon des Independants (iR260;aR7;iR262)
  • 1903-08: exhibited at the Salon d’Automne (iR3;iR1;iR116;iR251;iR77;iR260;aR7;iR19;iR6).
  • 1903+1904 (at least): Cordey lived at route nationale, 4, Éragny-sur-Oise (Seine-et-Oise) (iR1;iR77); the Salon database renders only the 1904 catalogue (iR1).
  • 1904: exhibited at the Salon d’Automne, of which his was called ‘sociétaire’, 6 works, among them:  ‘Auvers (bords de l’Oise)’, ‘Chômage de péniches sur l’Oise’, ‘Temps gris (bords de l’Oise)’ (iR77;iR256)
  • 1906: exhibited at the Salon d’Automne 10 works, including 6 depicting the banks of the Oise and including ‘Plat de pêches’ (iR77;iR260)
  • 1907: Cordey lived at the 61, Rue Orfila, Paris (R239;iR19;iR6)
  • 1911/02/18 Cordey died in Paris (iR24;iR69;R88;iR77)
  • 1913-14 winter: a retrospective exhibition of Cordey at the Choiseul Gallery, with a preface of Gustave Geffroy and later on an article of Thalasso (iR77;R88;R3;iR3;iR116)


There is not much known about Frédéric Cordey. Most sources on Impressionism don’t mention him at all (R5;R6;R14;R15;R17;R19;R21;R22;R86;R94;R95;iR19;iR26;iR40). Others just mention that he exhibited at the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exhibition in 1877 and that he was a friend of Renoir. Even the information in Adler’s ‘Unknown Impressionists’ is limited (R89,p43+60). My other main sources are the (short) monographs of Walther (2013=R3,p655), Schurr & Cabanne (2008,R9,p194), Spiess (1992=R16,p105), Monneret (1878-81=R88I,p149/150). Other sources are Rewald (1973=R1,p384-6+391+414+448+454), Moffett (1986=R2), Walther (2013=R3,p199), Roe (2006=R4,p161+164+166), Denvir (1992=R8,p246), Pissarro&Durand-Ruel (2005=R116I,p170), the Salon database (iR1), Benezit (iR69) and xx. See link for other general references (=R) and for other references to internet sites (=iR). For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings. See link for the main sources on the pictures.
For further reading see:
Bénézit (1976,IIIp164=R75), Busse (1977,p261=R77), Witt (1978,p66=R78).
Thalasso, Adolphe: Frédéric Samuel Cordey; L’art et les artistes. Rendu exposition à la galerie Choiseul, 1914.
Duvivier, Christophe: Entre Ciel et Terre. Camille Pissarro et les peintres de la Vallée de l’Oise, exhibition catalogue. Musée Tavet-Delacour, Paris, 2003. (iR250;iR251)
Duvivier, Christophe: Les peintres et l’Oise, les peintres-graveurs de la Vallée de l’Oise; exhibition catalogue (26/02/2007 to 23/09/2007).  Pontoise, Musée Tavet-Delacour, 2007 (iR116)

Additional references:

  1. (website on Cordey; =iR251, part of Zibelius =iR250)
  2. (short article on Cordey and a painting of him; =iR116)
  3. (short article on Cordey and a painting of him; =iR250)
  4. (short article on Cordey and a painting of him, being a summary of the Duvivier catalogue of 2007; =iR77)
  5. (info on Cordey; =iR260)
  6. (overview of works that Cordey exhibited at the Salon d’Automne from 1903-08; = iR261)
  7. (info and overview of works of Cordey)


Recommanded citation: “Impressionism: Frédéric-Samuel Cordey, a great, but forgotten impressionist, only joining the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition. Last modified 2024/01/02.”