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George Luks Portrait

George Luks Portrait

George Luks

Also Known as: George Benjamin Luks, George B. Luks

Williamsport, Pennsylvania 1866

New York, New York 1933

Photo Caption:
George Luks, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0001923

Photo Caption:
Courtesy Juley Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Luce Artist Quote

“Art my slats! I can paint with a shoestring dipped in pitch and lard . . . Technique did you say? My slats! . . . it’s in you or it isn’t. Who taught Shakespeare technique? Guts! Life! Life! That’s my technique.” George Luks, quoted in O’Toole, George Luks: An American Artist, 1987


Painter and graphic artist. As a newspaper artist in Philadelphia, Pa., he met Robert Henri, John Sloan, Everett Shinn, and William Glackens. He later applied masterful powerful brush strokes in his scenes of New York City's East Side. Hester Street (1905) is one of his best-known paintings.

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

George Luks once said that “Like Mozart, I began my career when I was barely out of my diapers.” He was a boisterous figure whom critics called a “guts” painter because of his gritty subject matter and bold painting style. He began as a sketch reporter, and also made a name for himself producing a Sunday comic about the adventures of Mickey Dugan, “the Yellow Kid,” who made all sorts of trouble in the tenements with his gang of delinquent friends. Luks created portraits of the urban poor, explaining that he liked the slums because “down there people are what they are.” He died at the age of sixty-six after a bar fight. (Zurier, “The Making of Six New York Artists,” Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York, 1995)