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George Luks (artist)



George Luks epitimozed the ash can artist–a group of young American painters who rejected subjects acceptable to polite society. A confirmed bohemian, barroom brawler, and unrepentant alcoholic, Luks knew more of the low than the high life. Perhaps because of his own experiences, his interpretations of the downtrodden were never condescending. His early training as a newspaper illustrator gave him an eye for drama and telling detail.

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George Benjamin Luks (August 13, 1867 – October 29, 1933) was an American artist, identified with the aggressively realistic Ashcan School of American painting. After travelling and studying in Europe, Luks worked as a newspaper illustrator and cartoonist in Philadelphia, where he became part of a close-knit group, led by Robert Henri, that set out to defy the genteel values imposed by the influential National Academy of Design. His best-known paintings reflect the life of the poor and hard-pressed on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.