Maximilien Luce (1858-1941)

No artwork currently available for this artist.


    Maximilien Luce was a French painter, lithographer, draftsman and one of the first Neo-Impressionists. He was born into a poor family in Paris on March 13th, 1858. After an initial training as a wood carver at the Ecole des Arts décoratifs, he began to study engraving in 1872 and took evening courses to develop his knowledge. In 1876 he entered the shop of the engraver Eugène Froment (1844-1900), where he worked on numerous illustrations for French newspapers and foreign periodicals.

    In 1877 Luce left Paris with Froment and went to London. When he returned to France in 1879 he was called for military service, first in Brittany and then in Paris where he continued with his career as an engraver. It was during his military service that Luce met Charles Emile Carolus-Duran (1837-1917), the famous French painter and sculptor whose students included countless artists - both French as well as foreign, who later earned very important positions in art history. His entrance to Carolus-Duran's studio not only gave him painstaking training as a draftsman, but introduced him to the leading painters of the time.

    Through his friendship with Camille Pissarro, Luce came to know Georges Seurat, Paul Signac and Henri-Edmond Cross. Together with them he was one of the founders of Neo-Impressionism (Pointillism). Until 1904 Luce lived in Montmartre, the streets of which he liked to paint. During 1904-1924, he lived in Auteuil, and then moved back to Paris. Besides street scenes, factories and wharfs, he painted numerous landscapes of his travels through the Etampes, Normandy and Brittany. During the First World War he also painted war scenes, such as wounded and homecoming soldiers.

    In 1887, Luce joined the Société des Indépendants, after which time he consistently participated in the avant-garde group's exhibitions. Compared to other Neo-Impresionists, Luce was less bound by the theoretical dicta of optical fusion and his paintings favored a more instinctive approach, which he applied with equal interest to landscapes and portraits. In 1934, Maximilien Luce was elected President of the Société des Artistes Indépendants after Signac's retirement, but soon resigned in a protest against the society's policy to restrict the admission of Jewish artists.

    Luce was always very interested in the worries and pains of ordinary people and attempted to honestly transmit such human plight in his portrayal of dockers, masons and other laborers whose daily work he witnessed. Luce made a significant contribution towards exporting Neo-Impressionism and maintained strong ties with the Belgian Pointillist Théo van Rysselberghe (1862-1926). Maximilien Luce produced a sizable amount of work in various mediums, as he was an indefatigable artist. Luce remains a very important figure in French Post-Impressionist Art, as a Pointillist and a social realist. He died in Paris in 1941.