Lot 70
  • 70

Maximilien Luce

700,000 - 900,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Maximilien Luce
  • Le Pont-Neuf, La Seine, Petit bras
  • Signed and dated Luce 1900 (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 25 5/8 by 36 1/4 in.
  • 65 by 92 cm


Sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, February 24, 1936

Eric Hall, London

Marcus Wickham-Boynton, Burton Agnes Hall, United Kingdom

Sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 13, 1974, lot 36

Private Collection, 1974 (sold: Christie's New York, May 10, 2001, lot 324)

Acquired at the above sale


Marcus Wickham-Boynton, A catalogue of modern paintings at Burton Agnes Hall, Driffield, 1959, illustrated p. 37 (dated circa 1892)

Philippe Cazeau, M. Luce, Paris, 1982, p. 126, illustrated

Denise Bazetoux and Jean Bouin-Luce, Maximilien Luce, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, vol. II, Paris, 1986, no. 245, illustrated p. 68 (dated 1892)

Catalogue Note

Le Pont Neuf dates from the high point of Luce's involvement with the Neo-Impressionists, a radical group of painters at the forefront of avant-garde, just as the Impressionist movement was coming to a close.  The term 'Neo-Impressionism' was coined in 1886 at the final Impressionist group exhibition by the critic Félix Fénéon when referring to the paintings of Paul Signac, Georges Seurat, and Camille and Lucien Pissarro.  In 1887, Luce made his debut with these artists at the Société des Artistes, exhibiting seven pictures that bore the style which Fenéon had found so remarkable the previous year.  As the inheritors of the Impressionist tradition, Luce and his colleagues continued to depict the visual splendor of the modern world.  Their approach to this artistic goal, however, was decidedly more scientific, relying upon the harmonious resonance of color and a precise, divisionist application of paint known as pointillism.  When Luce painted this scene of central Paris in 1900, the pointillist technique defined some of the most powerful paintings of the turn-of-the-century, and it would ultimately have a profound impact on the Fauves in the coming years.

Robert Herbert provided the following explanation of the divisionist approach to painting that Luce has applied so adeptly in his enchanting Le Pont Neuf: "Suddenly, the new Impressionists proclaimed that intense shimmering light need not spring from this hedonism of the retina.  On the contrary, the insisted, the vibration of colored light must come from the patient and systematic application of nature's immutable laws.  With Seurat's monumental Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte as standard bearer, these artists exhibited works in bright colors laid down in tiny and systematic dabs of paint.  Their paintings breathed a spirit of clear, order, firm decision, scientific logic, and a startling definiteness of structure that constituted an open challenge to the instinctive art of the Impressionists of the previous decade.  The most conspicuous act of defiance was their mechanical brushwork, which deliberately suppressed the personality of the artist and so flouted the individualism dear to the Impressionists" (R. Herbert, Neo-Impressionism, Princeton, 1968, p. 15).