George Benjamin Luks

George Benjamin Luks was an American artist, identified with the aggressively realistic Ashcan School of American painting on New York.

With a humble start as a newspaper illustrator and cartoonist in Philadelphia, George would grow in notoriety throughout his career as he continued to produce artwork. He was a boisterous figure whom critics called a ​“guts” painter because of his gritty subject matter and bold painting style. He applied masterful powerful brush strokes in his scenes of New York City’s East Side his work reflects the life of the poor and hard-pressed. Hester Street (1905) is one of his most widely recognized paintings.

The Ashcan School successfully challenged academic art institutions, and the authority of the National Academy of Design as a cultural arbiter. Painters in this school of thought played a role in enlarging the nation’s sense of what a suitable topic for artistic expression might be.

Luks was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, his father was a physician/apothecary and his mother was an amateur painter and musician. Luks was married twice but had no children. Luks was found dead in a doorway by a policeman in the early morning hours of October 29, 1933, following a bar-room brawl.

Born: 1867
Died: 1933


Select Exhibitions

Participated in the Armory show

Exhibited as a member of “The Eight” (Robert Henri, George Luks, William Glackens, John Sloan, Everett Shinn, Arthur B. Davies, Ernest Lawson, and Maurice Prendergast), Macbeth Gallery