Maximilien Luce 1858-1941


It's not before 1876, after he discovered Georges Seurat's pointillism, that Maximilien Luce begins his painting career, having been overall an engraver until that moment. Fascinated by painting in close tones, he launches himself into an important production and exhibits for the first time in 1897's Salon of Independent Artists during which his work is noticed by Camille Pissarro. He befriends Signac and Seurat, entering officially the circle of neo-impressionism.

Because of his social background, coming from Montparnasse's working class, Maximilien Luce is closely touched by the events of the French Commune and states his political commitment loud and clear. Dead set against Sadi Carnot's government he depicts with strength the penal environment through numerous illustrations, which are printed in hundreds of copies. In 1934 he is named President of the Independant Artists' Salon, but quits a year later to signify his opposition to the Vichy government.

During his whole life, Maximilien Luce remains an active anarchist and his work is influenced by his poor background. He finds inspiration in the landscapes of Southern Belgium, in particular the coal basin near Charleroi, which colours were to be revealed by the Industrial Revolution. The exhibition with the XX in Brussels, 1889, along with masters such as Gauguin, Cross, Pissarro, Monet and Seurat sets the path to fame for Luce, who paints several views of Paris, once he comes back to the French capital. His "Rue de Paris en 71" remains among the most famous canvases in the History of impressionism.


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