Maximilien Luce

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Maximilien Luce, 1858-1941

Aux Environs de Vernon. Mme Luce by the River at Vernon.


Original lithograph in colours. 1897. Signed in red chalk. Rare trial proof before the edition of 40 impressions (plus 20 impressions printed with an extra 'remarque' sketch of the Seine lower left). Drawn and printed at the studio of Clot. Edition issued by Gustave Pellet, Paris 1897. Ref: Kornfeld - Archives Gustave Pellet 1962 no 29

Superb impression with very rich colours. On off-white chine volant paper. Small c. 1/2-3/4 inch margins beyond the image. Sheet: 9 5/8 x 15 3/4ins. Image overall: 8 7/8 x 14 3/8ins. (225x365mm)


The special hallmark of Luce's painting in the 1890's was its adventurous use of colour. The typical juxtaposition of strong touches of green, blue, yellow and red are used to evoke the effects of sunlight, the deliberate contrasts of the colour tones a development of 'pointillist' handling of Luce's friends Seurat, Signac and Cross. Luce had had a log term interest in printmaking before the 1890's but at that period, encouraged by Signac, he began to use colour lithography. Using bold ink tones, overprinted to create juxtaposition, he added a further dimension to the colourism f his painting. His colour lithographs of the 1890's are some of the most visually exciting graphic images of the period. This composition is a study of Mme Luce in a landscape near their house in the country. It has all his characteristic excitement of sunlight and colour. Luce met Signac in 1887 and was immediately inspired by Signac's theories of Neo-impressionist colour, the tones juxtaposed so as to create light through their interaction. It was Signac who introduced Luce to Seurat and Cross, and they welcomed him into their circle as his own colourism very much echoed their ideas.


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