Lot 179
  • 179

Maximilien Luce

Estimate
400,000 - 600,000 USD
Sold
898,000 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Maximilien Luce
  • Camaret, bateaux de pêche sur la côte
  • Signed Luce and dated 94 (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas

Provenance

Arthur G. Altschul, New York
L.G. Baugin, Paris
Sale: Christie’s, London, July 6, 1971, lot 61
Sale: Ader, Paris, December 4, 1972
Acquired circa 1978

Exhibited

New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (on loan)

Literature

Philippe Cazeau, Maximilien Luce, Paris, 1982, illustrated p. 70 (titled Camaret, la côte)
Jean Bouin-Luce & Denise Bazetoux, Maximilien LuceCatalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, vol. II, Paris, 1986, no. 1569, illustrated p. 386

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1894, at the height of Luce's Neo-Impressionist period, the present work is among the most exquisite examples of the artist’s resplendent coastal imagery. His obsession with the brilliant light and delicate palette of the coast began in the summer of 1892, which he spent with Paul Signac in Saint Tropez. Indeed Luce was profoundly influenced by the color he encountered in the South of France, having spent the duration of spring with Camille Pissarro in misty London. Possessed of an extraordinary luminosity, the rich, shimmering paintings that follow bear testament to Luce's distinctive mastery of the Neo-Impressionist trademark style, Divisionism. In the two years that followed this fateful trip he met Abroisine Bouin, who at once became his lover, later his wife and mother of his children, and he traveled to Camaret, a small fishing village in Brittany on the Atlantic coast, where he further explored the subtle variations of light and palette that were so unique to seaside environs. It was here that he painted several of his most virtuosic compositions, including the present picture as well as Camaret, clair de lune et flotille de péche, now at the Saint Louis Art Museum (see fig. 1).

Made famous by Georges Seurat's Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte at the 1886 Salon des Artistes Indépendants, Divisionism was based on the theory that by placing tiny brushstrokes of pure contrasting hues next to each other on the canvas, tones could be mixed optically by the observer rather than on the palette and that this would enable the artist to create an exceptionally radiant effect of light. Having trained as a draughtsman and an engraver, Luce excelled at the exactitude required by this style yet he also painted with a freer hand, and by the early 1890s he was already beginning to assimilate and apply all the subtleties of execution that were to differentiate his art from the other Neo-Impressionists. The instinctive nature of Luce's touch and high color harmonies are instantly recognizable in the present work, further recognized in the words of critic Charles Saunier in his review of the ninth Salon des Artistes Indépendants in 1893: “Maximilien Luce has always displayed little concern for theory. The principles of tonal contrasts are subordinate to the strength of his personality and his impressions” (Charles Saunier, “Salon des Indépendants,” La Plume, April 15, 1893, p. 171, translated from the French).

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