Luce was born in Paris on 13 March 1858, the son of Charles Désiré Luce, a clerk in the Seine prefecture. In 1872 he was apprenticed to the wood engraver H.T. Hildebrand. He also trained as a painter, attending evening classes at an art school in the rue de Vaugirard and later at the Académie Suisse. He served in the army for four years and during the early 1880s became involved in the anarchist movement. In 1885, following the example of Seurat and Signac, he began experimenting with optical painting and in 1887 he painted his first neo-impressionist portrait of Madame Georges Gausson. In the same year he exhibited seven paintings based on the divisionist technique at the third salon of the Société des Artistes Indépendants and from 1889 onwards he exhibited intermittently with the Société des XX and La Libre Esthétique in Brussels. In the summer of 1892 he visited Signac in St Tropez, the first of several visits. In 1894 he was arrested as a suspected anarchist and held in Mazas prison in Paris, but was acquitted. A major retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the galerie Georges Bernheim in June 1929 and in 1935 he was elected President of the Société des Artistes Indépendants. In 1940 he married Ambroisine Bouin, who died just over two months later. Luce died the following year on 6 February.