Maximilien Luce

1858 - 1941

Biography

Maximilien Luce began an apprenticeship with the wood engraver Henri Théophile Hildibrand in 1872, and simultaneously studied drawing at evening class. In 1876, having qualified as an engraver, he joined a workshop where illustrations were engraved for many French magazines and some foreign periodicals. He went to London in 1877, where he sold some drawings to the magazine Graphic. When he returned to Paris he was called for national service in 1879, first in Brittany, and later in Paris, where he was able to pursue his career as an engraver. During his time in the army he studied under Carolus Duran, probably at the Swiss academy, and worked at the École de Dessin in Les Gobelins. He was mostly self-taught from his observations of nature, and also received guidance from his friend Camille Pissarro. In 1887 he joined the Société des Artistes Indépendants and took part in their exhibitions, which were avant-garde at the time. He also exhibited with the Groupe des Vingt in Brussels in 1889 and 1892.

In his youth, the events of the Paris Commune had made an impression on him and he worked on anarchist publications such as Le Père Peinard, founded in 1889, whose cover he designed, La Feuille by Zo d’Axa, and Le Chambard by Gérault-Richard. He also worked on L’Assiette au beurre, Les Hommes d’aujourd’hui, L’Illustration, La Révolte, Les Temps nouveaux.

In 1894 he was implicated in the ‘Procès des Trente’ (Trial of the Thirty), which earned him a prison sentence. These events inspired a collection of lithographs entitled Mazas. He then took refuge in Charleroi in Belgium. From 1920 he was active in the area around Rolleboise.

He became president of the Société des Artistes Indépendants, as successor to his friend Signac after his death in 1935. He renounced his presidency at the beginning of the German occupation as a protest against Jewish artists being forbidden to exhibit. He corresponded with many other painters, including Charles Angrand, Georges Seurat, Théo Van Rysselberghe and his friend Louis Valtat.

With Seurat and Signac he was one of the founders of the Neo-Impressionist school, which was based on the scientific study of light and the analysis of the decomposition of colours. As such he used the technique known as Divisionism or Pointillism, using individual points of colour to interpret the complexity of the composition of the colours, while preserving their vibrancy and defining the light and shadow of the elements in the picture. During his stay in Belgium he played a part in establishing Neo-Impressionism outside France. For many years he was a strict Pointillist, but he then adopted a more relaxed, more fluid technique, which can be seen in his landscapes in Rolleboise, departing from the rigour of Neo-Impressionism and returning to a late Impressionist style.

The majority of his works are landscapes, mainly of France. He painted a smaller number of urban landscapes, often of working class districts, and often painted at night, providing a snapshot of the world of work at that time. His figures set him apart from other Neo-Impressionists, as he genuinely wanted to share the cares and troubles of the people, and showed this in the attitudes of the road workers, the dockers and the builders going about their daily work.

Solo exhibitions and retrospectives of his work include: 1966, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Charleroi; 1977, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi; 1983, Musée Marmottan, Paris; 1987, Musée Pissarro, Pontoise; 1995, Maximilien Luce (1858-1941): Anarchist Painter ( Maximilien Luce (1858-1941): peintre anarchiste), Charleroi; 2000, Maximilien Luce. Painting the Human Condition ( Maximilien Luce. Peindre la condition humaine), Musée de l’Hôtel-Dieu, Mantes-la-Jolie.

Museum and Gallery Holdings

Fécamp (Mus. des Arts et de l’Enfance): The Maas in Rotterdam (1908, oil/card)
Geneva (Petit Palais): View of Paris from Montmartre (1887); Camaret-sur-Mer (1894)
Otterlo (Kröller-Müller Mus.): View of Montmartre (1887)
Paris (MNAM-CCI): Portrait of the Painter H.- E. Cross; The Seine at Rolleboise
Paris (Mus. d’Orsay): Studies for Factories near Charleroi
St-Tropez (Mus. de l’Annonciade): Coast near the Citadelle, St Tropez

Available Artworks

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Appareilleurs Maximilien Luce

c. 1910
Oil on panel

£28,000.00

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Appareilleurs
by Maximilien Luce

Bords De Seine Maximilien Luce

c. 1922
Oil on canvas

£5,950.00

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Bords De Seine
by Maximilien Luce

Figures on Beach – Treport Maximilien Luce

1931
Oil on canvas

£14,500.00

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Figures on Beach – Treport
by Maximilien Luce

Guernes, la passerelle sur le bras de la Seine Maximilien Luce

c. 1924
Oil on canvas

£23,000.00

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Guernes, la passerelle sur le bras de la Seine
by Maximilien Luce

La Vallée Industrielle de la Sambre Maximilien Luce

1898
Oil on board

£16,500.00

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La Vallée Industrielle de la Sambre
by Maximilien Luce

Portrait of a Gentleman Maximilien Luce

c. 1908
Oil on canvas

£12,800.00

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Portrait of a Gentleman
by Maximilien Luce

Steamer at Sunrise Maximilien Luce

c. 1915
Oil on board

£5,900.00

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Steamer at Sunrise
by Maximilien Luce

Study for Notre Dame Maximilien Luce

1899
Oil on paper laid on canvas

£19,950.00

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Study for Notre Dame
by Maximilien Luce

Sur La Plage – Riva Bella Maximilien Luce

c. 1919
oil on paper laid on panel

£6,200.00

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Sur La Plage – Riva Bella
by Maximilien Luce

Sur Les Berges Maximilien Luce

c. 1933
Oil on canvas

£12,500.00

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Sur Les Berges
by Maximilien Luce

The Seine – Paris Maximilien Luce

c. 1910
Oil on panel

£9,950.00

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The Seine – Paris
by Maximilien Luce

Working on the banks of the Seine Maximilien Luce

c. 1916
Oil on panel

£3,450.00

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Working on the banks of the Seine
by Maximilien Luce

Previously Sold Artworks

Carriage on the road to Rolleboise Maximilien Luce

1932
Oil on canvas

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Carriage on the road to Rolleboise
by Maximilien Luce - Sold

L’Execution de Varlin Maximilien Luce

c. 1910
Oil on paper laid on canvas

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L’Execution de Varlin
by Maximilien Luce - Sold

Le repos a Rolleboise Maximilien Luce

1932
Oil on canvas

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Le repos a Rolleboise
by Maximilien Luce - Sold

Les Baigneuses Maximilien Luce

c. 1920
Oil on panel

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Les Baigneuses
by Maximilien Luce - Sold

Pont Des Saint Pares & Louvre – Paris Maximilien Luce

c. 1928
Oil on paper laid on board

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Pont Des Saint Pares & Louvre – Paris
by Maximilien Luce - Sold

Rouen Maximilien Luce

c. 1910
Oil on panel

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Rouen
by Maximilien Luce - Sold

Soldiers in Paris Maximilien Luce

c. 1916
Oil on panel

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Soldiers in Paris
by Maximilien Luce - Sold

Sur La Cote Maximilien Luce

c. 1920
Oil on paper

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Sur La Cote
by Maximilien Luce - Sold

The Seine Maximilien Luce

c. 1920
Oil on panel

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The Seine
by Maximilien Luce - Sold