Maximilien Luce (1858-1941)
Maximilien Luce (1858-1941)
Maximilien Luce (1858-1941)
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PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ARNOLD AND DOROTHY NEUSTADTEROur father, Arnold Neustadter, made his reputation in business, as the organizational genius who invented and manufactured Rolodex, the iconic rotary card file for “contacts” that became de rigueur for homes and offices everywhere. But while he contemplated the creation of the next ingenious desktop device, his cultural and intellectual bent led to a keen interest in Impressionist and Cubist painting and sculpture, classical music, Judaic studies and English literature. Born in the Bronx, he attended New York University, where he edited the college newspaper, played clarinet in an amateur orchestra, and read both the Talmud and Shakespeare. A trip to Europe in 1950 inspired a lifelong love of France, a passion he shared with his elegant, like-minded wife Dorothy. They learned to speak French, sent us to the Lycée Français in New York, and we were possibly the only Americans to spend summers in the beach town of Cabourg in Normandy, where Marcel Proust’s family had vacationed, and which, renamed Balbec, is featured in Proust’s writing. As our parents prowled art galleries in Paris and New York together, Dorothy’s discerning eye, impeccable taste and flair helped inform the selection of paintings and sculpture by Chagall, Picabia, Degas, Valtat, Utrillo, and Modigliani as well as by fledgling artists, which graced their apartments in Manhattan, London, and Palm Beach. Ardent philanthropists, Arnold and Dorothy supported UJA Federation, the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish causes here and in Israel, where they donated a Chagall painting, “The Sukkah,” to the Israel Museum. They were among the original founders of the Metropolitan Opera House when it moved to Lincoln Center in 1966. And as collectors who had raised their paddles at countless auctions, they hoped that, upon their death, other art lovers would acquire and appreciate the works that enriched their lives for so many years. Please see lots: 744, 749, 753, 755-756, 760, 762-764, 768, 780-781 and 784.Martha Mendelsohn Jane Revasch Richard Neustadter
Maximilien Luce (1858-1941)

Nu se coiffant

Maximilien Luce (1858-1941)
Nu se coiffant
signed and dated 'Luce 89' (lower left)
oil on canvas
25 5/8 x 18 ¼ in. (65 x 46 cm.)
Painted in 1889
Galerie Hervé, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the late owners, April 1968.
P. Cazeau, Maximilien Luce, Paris, 1982, p. 48 (illustrated; with incorrect dimensions).
D. Bazetoux, Maximilien Luce: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, Paris, 1986, vol. II, pp. 157-158, no. 626 (illustrated, p. 158).
(possibly) Brussels, Musée Moderne, Les XX: Neuvième exposition annuelle, February 1892, no. 2 (titled Femme à sa toilette).
(possibly) Paris, Hôtel Brébant, Exposition des peintres Ne´o-Impressionnistes, December 1892-January 1893 (titled Femme à sa toilette).
Paris, Galerie Hervé, Quelques tableaux des maîtres Néo-Impressionnistes, May-June 1967, p. 18, no. 32 (illustrated in color, p. 19).

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Lot Essay

Luce first encountered Georges Seurat’s Pointillist painting technique and Divisionist color theory in the mid-1880s and began to experiment with the same energetic, staccato brushstrokes and radical color palette. Both artists used this style to interpret modern life, depicting rural landscapes, urban street scenes, as well as bourgeois and working class figures. While Seurat’s approach to the human figure was somewhat flat and detached, Luce’s paintings of individuals, including the present work, are often charged with personality and emotion.
The model for this work has been endowed with very specific features: a pert nose, full cheeks, a slender torso, and thick black hair. However, the subject of a woman seated at her toilette has a long tradition in the history of Western painting, dating back to Renaissance depictions of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. French artists—including François Boucher, Edouard Manet, and Berthe Morisot—famously translated that erotic mythological subject into the mortal realm, depicting modern women in the quotidian act of dressing themselves and their hair. Here, Luce has rendered that subject in his distinctive Neo-Impressionist style, with vivid punctuations of color. Though his experimentation with color borders on abstraction, Luce has developed a clear sense of volume and perspective—and a very detailed observation of the woman’s taut muscles and soft flesh.

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