A student of Othon Friesz, Corton was part of the Scale group which, from 1943 onwards was established with Jacques Busse, Calmettes, Patrix, Geneviève Asse and others. At that time Corton was awarded the "Prix de la Jeune Peinture" followed, in 1954, by the "Menton Union Prize for Mediterranean Modern Art".
Cortot is a distinguished graphic artist and has illustrated numerous books, achieving a notable symbiosis between writing and painting.
Notable works by Cortot include his variations of studies in the shipyard of La Ciotat (1947-1950), the landscape of the Ardèche, Still Life (1955-1956), variations on his Cities Series (1957-1958), his Antiques (1962) and his Combat Series (1967, which follows that of the Scriptures). From 1974 he produced his series of poem-pictures.
Cortot was elected member of the French Academy of Fine Arts on 26 November 2001.
Cuban art critic Severo Sarduy has said of Cortot, in the introduction to his Inscription and intention: "While the conceptual history of writing in the West is vast, its graphic history remains extremely poor. The concern for elegance in the stroke, for the projection of the line, for curves and flourishes, we assigned to the civilizations of ideograms and arabesques, leaving our script with a purely informative role, a role devoid of ornament, script reduced to its austere legibility .... and it is precisely in its contradiction thereof that Jean Cortot's work derived its singularity."
- Rolando Pérez, (2011), Severo Sarduy and the Neo-baroque Image of Thought in the Visual Arts, Purdue University Press, p.259.
- "Jean Cortot, painter and poet: Member of the Academy of Fine Arts" at canalacademie.com (in French)
- JEAN CORTOT, PAINTED WRITING at lesfilmsduhorla.com/
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