George Luks

USA / 1867 - 1933 / wikipedia /
Photo by Gertrude Käsebier, George Luks, c.1910

George Benjamin Luks (Aug. 13, 1867–Oct. 29, 1933) was an American realist artist and illustrator. His vigorously painted genre paintings of urban subjects are examples of the Ashcan School of American art.

.... a born rebel and one of the most distinctive personalities in American art. "He is Puck. He is Caliban. He is Falstaff," his contemporary, the art critic James Gibbons Huneker, wrote. Like many of the later Abstract Expressionist men, he made a great display of his masculinity and could seldom retreat from a dare. He took pride in being known as the "bad boy" of American art, liked to characterize himself as entirely self-created, and downplayed the influence of Robert Henri, or any contemporary, on his artistic development. He was given to hyperbolic statements and was often intentionally vague about autobiographical details, preferring to maintain an aura of self-mythologizing mystery. He was equally at home at a prize fight or in a tavern as in a museum or a gallery. Luks was always a heavy drinker, and his friend and one-time roommate William Glackens often had to undress him and haul him to bed after a night of drunken debauchery. Although many sources confirm this tendency, they also characterize him as a man with a kind heart who befriended people living on the edge who became subjects for his works of art,... e.g., Widow McGee (1902) or The Old Duchess and The Rag Picker (both 1905), in which Luks depicted with sensitivity elderly, down-and-out women who knew the harsh realities of the street. Luks was a paradox: a man of enormous egotism and a great generosity of spirit.

Luks was found dead in a doorway by a policeman in the early morning hours of October 29, 1933, following a bar-room brawl. Ira Glackens, son of William Glackens, wrote about Luks's death that, contrary to the newspaper account stating that the painter had succumbed on his way to ... (
change photo
remove photo

First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


Related Artists

+ add artist