Born in Paris in 1858, Maximilien Luce began his career as a commercial engraver in the employ of Eugene Froment. His style has been simultaneously ascribed to the schools of Post Impressionism, Pointillism, and Social Realism. Like many artists, he experimented with several of the modern painting techniques and schools developing in France throughout his career. He favored depictions of everyday life of the working class as well as landscapes and seascapes. Maximilien Luce is noted for his ability to depict scenes of urban life without deteriorating into anecdotes; everyday people are treated with humor and tenderness, dignity and nobility.
Along with fellow artists Paul Signac, Camille Pissarro, and Georges Seurat, Luce founded l’Ecole des Neo-Impressionists. They exhibited together in 1887 at the third Salon des Independants. Neo-Impressionism or Pointillism sought to improve upon the Impressionist style through the use of a scientific technique.
In 1894, following his military service, Maximilien Luce became active in the Parisian anarchist movement. He was imprisoned that same year along with other members of the press for the publication of riot inciting art. Luce was eventually acquitted in what became known as the Trial of the Thirty. Luce’s penchant for social liberalism also led him to resign his post as President of the Societe des Artistes Independants, to which he was elected in 1934, in protest to the racial laws enacted by the Vichy regime barring Jewish artists from official gatherings.
His work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, NY; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN; the Phoenix Art Museum, AZ; as well as many international institutions.