- Maximilien Luce
LE QUAI ST. MICHEL
- Signed and dated Luce 1900 (lower right)
- Oil on canvas
- 18 1/4 by 21 3/4 in.
- 46.3 by 55.2 cm
Estate of the artist
Family of the artist (acquired from the above)
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, 50 ans de peinture, M. Luce, 1929, no. 48
Paris, Musée Marmottan, Maximilien Luce, 1983, no. 34
Paris, Galerie H. Odermatt - Ph. Cazeau, Maximilien Luce, époque néo-impressioniste, 1987-88
Jean Sutter, Les Travaux et les jours, Lausanne, 1971, illustrated p. 23
Phillipe Cazeau, Maximillien Luce, Paris, 1982, illustrated p. 208
Jean Bouin-Luce and Denise Bazetoux, Maximilien Luce, Catalogue de l'oeuvre peint, vol. 2, Paris, 1986, no. 301
The present work derives from a series that Luce began in 1899 depicting Paris as seen from the Quai Saint-Michel. The vantage point depicted in the current composition was of particular interest to the artist, providing subject for his most developed and mature paintings of urban settings. As he wrote to Henri-Edmond Cross in a letter towards the end of the year 1899, "I am working at the moment from a window on the quai Saint-Michel, Notre Dame, [and] the quai des orfèvres and it is harshly beautiful. I am making piles of studies and will try to make use of them" (Maximilien Luce, letter to Henri-Edmond Cross, quoted by Béatrice de Verneilh in Maximilien Luce et Notre-Dame-de-Paris, "L'Oeil", March 1983, p. 24). When Luce painted the present composition in 1900, Paris was the location of the World's Fair and Centennial Celebration. This event brought an added vivacity to the city streets, something which Luce depicts eloquently in Le Quai Saint-Michel.
During the 1890s, Luce distinguished himself as a leading figure in the Neo-Impressionist movement. After meeting Seurat and Signac in 1887 and familiarizing himself with their techniques, Luce began to employ similarly stippled textures and divided colors in his paintings. By the turn of the century, he began to temper the regulated style of Divisionism with the loose Impressionist style found in his earlier work. Painted in 1900, Le Quai Saint-Michel presents a masterful fusion of these styles. The artist uses precise dabs of color alongside larger brushstrokes to communicate the vitality of the bustling streets and bridges of Paris. With his paintings of Paris at the turn of the century, Luce captures the atmosphere of a culturally thriving city on the verge of the modern age. Other artists, such as Matisse and Marquet, would look back to these paintings several years later for inspiration. Le Quai Saint-Michel is an artistically refined and resonant example from this important series.