George Benjamin Luks
(August 13, 1867-October 29, 1933) was an American realist artist and illustrator. His vigorously painted genre paintings of urban subjects are examples of the Ashcan school in American art.
Luks was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to Central European immigrants. His father was a physician and his mother was an amateur painter and musician.The Luks family (George, his parents and five siblings) eventually moved to Pottsville, in Southern Pennsylvania near the coal fields. In this setting, he learned at a young age the importance of compassion by watching how his parents helped the coal miners' families, and many believe that this is the reason why lower class New Yorkers were often Luks's subject matter. Luks studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts before he traveled though Europe where he attended several art schools. Later he went to Desseldorf where he lived with a distant relative, a retired lion-tamer. He abandoned Desseldorf for the more stimulating spheres of London and Paris. He then returned to Philadelphia in 1893 where he was an illustrator for the Philadelphia Press where he met John Sloan, William Glackens, and Everett Shinn. They would meet at the studio of Robert Henri, an artist who emphasized the depiction of ordinary life, shunning genteel subjects and painting quickly. The group became known as the "Philadelphia Five". In 1896, Luks moved to New York and began his art career there as the premier humorist artist for the New York World. During his time as an illustrator there, he lived with William Glackens.