Maximilien LUCE
French 1858–1941
Quai de l’École, Paris, evening 1889
(Quai de l’École, Paris le soir)
oil on canvas
50.9 x 70.0 cm
Private collection

This view of the Pont Neuf is filled with homeward-bound Parisians illuminated at twilight by incandescent gas lamps. Interpreting Luce's cityscapes from a radical viewpoint in 1891, the anarchist critic Georges Darien wrote of how Luce's 'violent, raw and brutal painting evokes the populace's tortured spirit, the life of anguished crowds, exasperated by suffering and resentment, stooped beneath social misfortune, seething masses of distressed outcasts gasping for breath beneath lowering stormy skies weighed down with anger and menace'. Writing in 1890, the critic Jules Christophe also saw in Luce's crepuscular study of the Quai de l'École 'a bitter and growling expression of the muffled human struggle'.