Description: Maximilien LUCE – 1858-1941 BOATS ON THE EDGE OF SEINE Oil on canvas signed lower right. 36×46
Notes: This work took place in the archives of Denise Bazetoux for catalog raisonné.
Maximilien Luce (13 March 1858 – 6 February 1941) was a prolific French Neo-impressionist artist, known for his paintings, illustrations, engravings, and graphic art. Starting as an engraver, he then concentrated on painting, first as an Impressionist, then as a Pointillist, and finally returning to Impressionism.
Luce shifted his focus to painting full-time in about 1883. Gausson and Cavallo-Péduzzi introduced Luce in about 1884 to the Divisionist technique developed by Georges Seurat. This influenced Luce to begin painting in the Pointillist style. In contrast to Seurat’s detached manner, Luce’s paintings were passionate portrayals of contemporary subjects, depicting the “violent effects of light”. Luce joined the Société des Artistes Indépendants and participated in their third spring exhibition, where Paul Signac purchased one of his pieces, La Toilette. Camille Pissarro and critic Félix Fénéon were also impressed by the seven Luce works displayed in the show. In addition to Pissarro and Signac, he met many of the other Neo-impressionists, including Seurat, Henri-Edmond Cross, Charles Angrand, Armand Guillaumin, Hippolyte Petitjean, Albert Dubois-Pillet, and Pissarro’s son Lucien. A New York Times critic declared this Pointillist period to be the pinnacle of Luce’s artistic career, singling out the radiant 1895 painting On the Bank of the Seine at Poissy as an example. He described the skillfully executed painting as “a lyrical celebration of nature”.
With the exception of the years 1915 to 1919, Luce exhibited in every show at Les Indépendants from 1887 until he died in 1941, including a thirty-year retrospective held in 1926. Luce had his first solo exhibition, arranged by Fénéon, in July 1888, exhibiting ten paintings at the La Revue indépendante offices. He showed six paintings at the 1889 Les XX exhibition in Brussels. Luce’s work was also featured in the ninth Les XX exhibition, in 1892.
Luce depicted a diverse range of subjects in his works over a long career. He most frequently created landscapes, but his other works include portraits, still lifes (especially florals), domestic scenes, such as bathers, and images of welders, rolling mill operators, and other laborers.