George Benjamin Luks (1867-1933)
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George Benjamin Luks was an American genre painter born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. At a young age, Luk’s family moved to Pottsville in Southern Pennsylvania. Luk’s parents often gave assistance to coal mining families that lived in the area.
At a young age, Luks moved to Philadelphia to study art at the Pennsylvania Academy. Luks showed great skill as an art student and was urged to continue his studies in Europe. Luks spent time in various art schools overseas, living in Dusseldorf, Paris and London.
In 1893 Luks returned to Philadelphia where he continued to paint and worked as an illustrator for the Philadelphia Press. Luks joined a group of artists led by Robert Henri. The innovative group included John Sloan, William Glackens and Everett Shinn. In 1896 Luks and many of his peers moved to New York City, eventually forming a larger group known as “The Eight”.
The Eight” countered the conservative principles held by the National Academy of Design and held their own exhibitions. After an influential exhibition in 1908, “The Eight” expanded into the Ashcan school artists. The Ashcan artists were dedicated to painting “real life” scenes rather than idealized or fantastical scenes. Luks is known for his paintings of urban street scenes and middle class workers. Luks commonly painted street vendors and bustling immigrant markets. Luks painted with loose brush strokes somewhat influenced by the impressionists. While Luk’s subject matter was humble, he often signed his name with a bright red paint.
Luks became a professor at the Art Students League and eventually started his own school so he could teach independently. Luks prided himself on his independence and rebellious nature. Luks, known by his friends as a heavy drinker, died in a bar fight in 1933.
Luks made important contributions to the Modern art movement in America. The paintings of Luks are now in museums and private collections across the United States. Do you think you own a painting by George Benjamin Luks? Contact us. We are the George Benjamin Luks experts.