A stunning vision of Notre-Dame Cathedral, its towers and south facade tipped with the waning light of golden hour, this is also a portrait of Paris and its people. French artist Maximilien Luce toiled to effectively portray the “ceremonies, marriages, people coming and going, the crowds” seen here. Going about their day, they pass along the Quai Saint-Michel, drive horse-drawn carriages, and work on the dredging barges of the Seine.
Luce grew up in a working-class neighborhood of Paris and was trained as an engraver. He studied drawing and painting and went on to create landscapes and scenes of urban life in impressionist and neo-impressionist styles. Politically aligned with the proletariat, Luce contributed prints and illustrations to the anarchist press. In 1894 he was arrested for anarchist activity and spent more than a month in jail. Throughout his career Luce exhibited his work with the Société des Artistes Indépendants. He painted more than a dozen versions of this view, with Notre-Dame de Paris selling at auction in 2011 for more than $4 million.