Maximilien Luce (1858-1941)


An artist of significant output and social beliefs, Maximilien Luce started out from a working class beginning to become one of the most important post-impressionist artists in all of Europe. In part due to his close relationship with his most significant mentor, Camille Pissarro, he championed Anarchist beliefs and chose to portray "everyday people" in his paintings. He is credited alongside Pissarro, George Seurat and Paul Signac as the founders of Neo-Impressionism, more known today as Pointillism.

Starting as a commercial engraver, Luce perfected his drawing skills under Eugene Froment and in professional studies in England. Returning to Paris in 1879, he served a required military service and found himself enamored of the rising Impressionists. Luce proved versatile enough to study landscape painting at the side of his close friend Pissarro and still pull from the broader spectrum of emerging artistic disciplines in France, traveling from Impressionism to Pointillism and back to an Impressionistic style with touches of Fauvism, partially influenced by Henri Matisse.

His adoption of the different yet related techniques is partially responsible for the diverse range of his artistic output. He was drawn to portray the locales where he lived, first in Montmartre, then Auteuil and back to Paris, painting the streets, businesses and wharves of each city. In 1917 he took a home in the country, 40 miles west of Paris in Rolleboise on the Seine, which turned him more toward the impressionist landscapes that mark his final period. Professionally he was elected president of the Society of Independent Artists in 1934 after Signac retired.

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