Le repos du labour, Mereville
Oil on board: 33 x 51 cm
Signed & Dated 1898
Maximilien Luce was born in Paris in 1858 into an artisan’s family. He qualified as an engraver and initially worked in the workshop of the engraver Eugène Froment (1844 – 1900).
During military service in 1879, he met the artist Charles Emile Carolus-Duran (1837 – 1917), and after completing his military duties, entered his Studio. Here he was able to study draughtsmanship and painting, and also to meet the leading artists of the time, including Camille Pissaro (1836 – 1903) who was to become a great influence in his life, both artistically and politically.
Along with Pissaro, Georges Seurat (1859 – 1891), Paul Signac (1863 – 1935), and Théo Van Rysselberghe (1862-1926), Luce was one of the founders of the Neo-Impressionist School, a movement which based itself on the scientific study of light and the analysis of the prismatic effect of colours, termed Pointillism.
However, around 1900 he moved away from Pointillism to embrace a more lyrical, less formalised technique, yet equally concerned with the effects of light and colour on the subject.
Luce painted urban social realist scenes of labourers and fishermen in accord with his political sentiments at the time, which he shared with Pissaro. This led him to serve a brief period of imprisonment for anarchist activities in 1894, before being acquitted. However, during this time he also painted rural scenes of farms and farm workers, and when he moved to Rolleboise in Northern France during his later years his paintings became more tranquil – recording peaceful scenes of leisure, landscapes, and seascapes.
Maximilien Luce was elected President of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in 1934, where he had exhibited regularly since 1887.
Maximilien Luce died in Paris in 1941.