Friday, August 24, 2012

Luce, Maximilien

Le bon samaritain (The Good Samaritan)
oil on canvas
76 x 102 cm
private collection

Maximilien Luce (1858 - 1941) was a French Neo-impressionist artist. In his painting, he became influenced by Impressionism. In the 1880s he met and established friendly contacts with many Parisian painters, including Camille Pissarro, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. Together with them he was one of the founders of Neo-Impressionism (Pointillism). Through Camille Pissarro, he came under the influence of Anarchist ideas and formed friendships with the Anarchist writers and journalists in Paris in the 1890s, and in 1894 served a brief prison term, before being acquitted.

He began a movement which based itself on the scientific study of light and the analysis of the prismatic effect of colors. For some years, he worked strictly by the ideas of pointillism, though he later changed his technique in favor of a less formal painting style. Landscapes, city scenes, and depictions of working people define the contents of Luce's paintings. During the First World War he also painted war scenes, depicting soldiers struggling against the horrors of the Great War. In 1934, he was elected President of the Societe des Artistes Independants after Signac’s retirement, but soon resigned in a protest against society's policy to restrict the admission of Jewish artists.
He died in Paris in 1941. He remains an important artist in Pointillism and social realism.