(Paris, 1858 - Paris, 1941)
In 1872, Maximilien Luce was in apprenticeship with the engraver Henri Theophile Hildibrand, following in the same time drawing evening class. In 1876, he entered as qualified worker at Froment’s studio, where were engraved numerous French illustrations and some foreign periodicals.
In 1877, he went to London with Froment, where he gave drawings to the revue Graphic . Back in Paris, he was called in 1879 to national service, first in Bretagne, then in Paris where he continues his engraver activity. He was a student of Carolus Duran maybe at the Swiss Academy, and worked at the Gobelins Academy, but he essentialy educated himself by study of nature. Camille Pissaro, friend of the painter, also gave him few advices. In 1887, he joined the Independent Artists Society and participated to avant-garde exhibitions of the Group. He exhibited in Brussels with Le Groupe des Vingt, in 1889 and 1892.
He collaborated with anarchist newspapers: Le Père Peinard (he drew the cover), L’Assiette au beurre, Hommes d’aujourd’hui, Illustration, La Révolte and Les Temps Nouveaux. In 1894, he was involved in “Le Procès des Trentel” and had a prison term. After that, he took refuge in Belgique (Charleroi).
After the death of his friend Signas, he accepted to succeed him at the Independent Artists Society’s Chairmanship, post he resigned during German occupation to protest against the interdiction to Jewish to expose.
Luce was, with Seurat and Signac, one of the creators of Neo-Impressionist movement, based on scientific study of light and colours decomposition analyse.
He applied technique of divided touch called Divisionism or Pointillism. This technique preserves radiance of colours composition defining light and shadow of volumes in space. During his stay in Belgium, he contributed to make known Neo-Impressionism outside France.
During many years, strict pointillist, he adopted next a technique freer, calmer, leaving Neo-Impressionism strictness to return to lately Impressionism. Landscapes occupy the main part of his work, painted in France or abroad. Urban landscapes occupy a particular place, often worker district, and often painted during night-time, composing documentation on worker world of the time.Figures are elements that distinguish him from other Neo Impressionism painters. Sincerely attached to share worry and pain of population, he described attitudes of daily labour.
Current view of Saint-Tropez
Côte de la Citadelle, 1892 - oil on canvas - 52 x 63 cm.
Musée de l'Annonciade, Saint-Tropez