Study of a man lying down
Maximilien Luce

Study of a man lying down

late 19th century - early 20th century
Size : 27,8 x 39 cm
Color : Uncolored
Technique : pencil on paper
Reference : 571-24

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Large unpublished sheet by Maximilien Luce, a committed modern artist.

Handwritten signature lower right: "Luce - a Druet".

Bibliography: Unpublished.

Born in Paris on 13 March 1858, Maximilien Luce trained with the wood engraver Henri Théophile Hildibrand. He exhibited for the first time in 1887 at the Salon des Indépendants and soon adopted the pictorial principles of Georges Seurat. Gradually, however, the artist abandoned pointillism to explore other aesthetic horizons. His work revolved around two main themes: landscapes, especially along the banks of the Seine, and numerous depictions of working-class life. Maximilien Luce excelled at highlighting the physical suffering of the humblest workers, as in this unusual composition. He masterfully studies the exhausted body and weathered features of a man painfully seeking rest. Maximilien Luce's interest in this subject was not purely formal, for he was a committed artist. He contributed to several anarchist newspapers, including La Feuille (1894), Le Libertaire (1899), L'Anarchie (1905-1906), La Voix du Peuple (1901), L'Almanach de la Révolution (1902-1905) and L'En-Dehors. Classified as "dangerous" by the police because of his involvement with Père Peinard and his anarchist friendships, Maximilien Luce was arrested and imprisoned at Mazas in July 1894, following the assassination of President Carnot by Caserio on 24 June. He remained in prison for 42 days before being acquitted at the Trial of the Thirty in August 1894. A recognised and appreciated artist, Maximilien Luce succeeded Paul Signac as head of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in 1935. A year before his death in 1941, he resigned his post to protest against Vichy's policy of discrimination against Jewish artists.  

This sheet, signed lower right, also includes a dedication to "Druet". This suggests that the work was probably a gift to the gallery owner Eugène Druet, who exhibited Maximilien Luce's work on several occasions.


Adolphe Tabarant, Maximilien Luce, Paris, Éditions G. Crès, 1928.

Philippe Cazeau, Maximilien Luce, La Bibliothèque des Arts, 1982.

Jean Bouin-Luce, Denise Bazetoux, Maximilien Luce: catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, Paris, JBL - Avril Graphique, 1986-2005, 3 vols., notice LUCE Maximilien, Jules [Dictionnaire des anarchistes] by Olivier Ray, version uploaded 3 March 2014, last modified 16 June 2021.

Maximilien Luce