The Portraits

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George Benjamin Luks

Artist
William James Glackens, 13 Mar 1870 - 22 May 1938
Sitter
George Benjamin Luks, 13 Aug 1867 - 29 Oct 1933
Date
1899
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 74.6 x 61.9cm (29 3/8 x 24 3/8")
Frame: 99.7 x 86.7 x 7.6cm (39 1/4 x 34 1/8 x 3")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Ira Glackens
Object number
NPG.78.53
Exhibition Label
Born Williamsport, Pennsylvania
A prizefighter, vaudevillian, cartoonist, and newspaper sketch artist before he turned to painting, George Luks brought great vitality to his art. William Glackens suggests Luks’s personality and his rapid brushwork in this painting of 1899 when the two were roommates in New York City. Along with Glackens, Robert Henri, John Sloan, and Everett Shinn, Luks chose to depict the unglamorous—and sometimes sordid—reality of urban life. Initially, disapproving critics dubbed them the Ashcan School. But when they rebelled against the tradition-bound National Academy shows by holding their own exhibition with three other artists in 1908, commentators heralded a new American art. The well-publicized independence of “The Eight” opened up the art world and encouraged unjuried exhibitions. Although never a modernist, Luks participated in the controversial Armory Show of 1913, which introduced the latest European trends to American audiences.
Provenance
The artist; his son, Ira Glackens, Shepherdstown, W.V.; gift 1978 to NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
20th Century Americans: 1900-1930 (re-installation 2012)
On View
NPG, South Gallery 322