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Maximilien Luce
(1858 - 1941)

Landscape at Kermouster



Biography of  Maximilien Luce

Maximilien Luce was born in Paris 1858 and died 1941.  As a youth he apprenticed to become an engraver.  In 1876 he entered the shop of the engraver Eugène Froment (1844-1900), a graduate of the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs, as a qualified craftsman. There, Luce worked on engraving, numerous illustrations for French newspapers as well as some for foreign periodicals.

In 1877, Luce left Paris and went to London. When he returned to France in 1879 he was called for military service.  It was during his military service that Luce met Charles Emile Carolus-Duran (1837-1917), the famous French painter and sculpture whose students included countless artists.  Luce entered Carolus-Duran’s studio, a move which not only gave him meticulous training as a draftsman, but introduced him to the leading painters of the time. Luce met  Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), with whom he became very good friends and who gave Luce much artistic advice.  Along with Pissarro, Georges Seurat (1859-1891) and Paul Signac (1863-1935) Luce was one of the founders of the Neo-Impressionist School (i.e. the Pointillists). 

In 1887, Luce joined the Société des Indépendants, after which time he consistently participated in the avant-garde group’s exhibitions.  Though landscapes made up most of his oeuvre, Luce executed some marvelous paintings of people in the Pointillist style – an aspect of his style that differentiated him from many of his fellow Neo-Impressionists.

Maximilien Luce was, for a period of time, a strict Pointillist.  After 1920 Luce started to paint in a freer manner.  Concerned very little with accolades, he did, however, accept the position of President of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in 1935 subsequent to the death of Signac, a position from which he would resign as a statement against the society’s growing posture towards restricting Jewish artists from exhibiting.

Luce made a significant contribution towards exporting Neo-Impressionism and maintained strong ties with the Belgian Pointillist Théo van Rysselberghe (1862-1926).  He has left us a sizable amount of work in various mediums, as he was an indefatigable artist. Maximilien Luce remains a very important figure in French Post-Impressionist Art, as a Pointillist and a social realist.


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