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The River Sambre at Charleroi (La Sambre à Charleroi)

The River Sambre at Charleroi (La Sambre à Charleroi)

Maximilien Luce

Maximilien Luce’s predominant subjects are landscapes and urban scenes depicting the world of the working class. This painting was executed in 1896 at a time when the artist painted scenes of the “Black Country” of Belgium, a region devastated by coal mining and a decade of violent strikes. Under Luce’s brush, however, the polluted sky above Charleroi and the dreary stretch of bank along the Sambre River are transformed into a luminous composition glowing with color. Luce, together with the painters Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, and Camille Pissarro, was one of the founders of Neoimpressionism, a movement that expanded upon the Impressionists’ fascination with recreating the effects of light through color by devising a systematic approach to the application of pigment based on the scientific study of light and the prismatic effect of colors. The neoimpressionists used a technique of dotted brushwork called pointillism to create vibrant color harmonies with points of pigments which blended in the viewer’s eye.
Maximilien Luce
(French, 1858 - 1941)
The River Sambre at Charleroi (La Sambre à Charleroi)
Oil on canvas
25 3/4 x 32 in. Overall
Elvehjem Museum of Art General Endowment Fund purchase
Accession No.


<span>1964, possibly purchased in Paris by Hirschl &amp; Adler (not yet confirmed); 1982; sold by Hirschl and Alder Galleries (New York, NY) to the Elvehjem Museum of Art [now called Chazen Museum of Art]</span>

  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Handbook of the Collection." Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Madison, 1990. no. 103
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Bulletin 1981-1983." Madison: Elvehjem Museum of Art, 1983. p. 67
  • Weidinger, Corina. "Picturing Industrial Landscapes: Ecocriticism in Constantin Meunier's and Maximilien Luce's Paintings of Belgium's Black Country," in "Ecocriticism and the Anthropocene in Nineteenth-Century Art and Visual Culture," edited by Maura Coughlin and Emily Gephart. New York: Routledge, 2021: 101-114. p.1, pl. 3

  • Director's Legacy, A: Elvehjem Museum of Art, 10/7/1983–11/20/1983

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