- Maximilien Luce
- LA SAMARITAINE, LA NUIT
Signed and dated Luce 1905 (lower right); also titled on the stretcher
- Oil on canvas
- 18 by 25 3/4 in.
- 45.8 by 65.4cm
Galerie Jean Dufresne, Paris
Jean-Claude Eger, Paris
Edouard Troester, Geneva
Galerie Moos, Geneva
Sale: Sotheby's, New York, May 11, 1977, lot 33
Private Collection, Connecticut (acquired at the above sale)
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Denise Bazetoux, Maximilien Luce, Paris, 1986, vol. I, no. 270, illustrated p. 74
Throughout his career, Luce was attracted by the energy and color of Parisian street life. In 1889, he began a series of paintings depicting the bridges and thoroughfares of modern Paris teeming with human activity. The contribution made by these works to urban iconography at the turn of the century is rivalled only by those of Luce's close friend, Camille Pissarro.
La Samaritaine, la nuit looks across the Pont-Neuf to the famous department store, whose name derives from a seventeenth-century hydraulic pump in the vicinity. Often taking the Seine as a leitmotiv, Luce's topographical views represent Paris at different times of day and under varying climactic conditions. The present work is a virtuoso rendition of a rainy evening, with exquisite gas-lit reflections playing over windows and puddles.
One of the founders of Divisionism in the 1880s, alongside Seurat and Signac, Luce's post-1900 oeuvre evinces a mature, individual style with thicker brushstrokes and an intuitive sense of color. As Denise Bazetoux has noted, in works such as La Samaritaine, la nuit, "the 'divided' brushstroke enables Luce to render the indecisive impression of falling twilight, and the shimmering of light" (op. cit., p. 64).
Fig. 1, The Pont-Neuf with the Samaritaine circa 1905, photo by Frères Séeberger.