Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1866, George Luks attended the school of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia in 1884. He spent the following ten years in Düsseldorf, Paris, and London, and may have studied in various art academies in these cities. Upon his return to the United States, Luks worked for the art department of the Philadelphia Press in 1894 and the following year traveled to Cuba as an artist-correspondent for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. In 1896 he joined the staff of The New York World as an illustrator and cartoonist.
While at The World, Luks renewed an earlier friendship with William Glackens and Everett Shinn. Both illustrators were also committed to painting, and Glackens encouraged Luks to experiment with the medium. By 1904 Luks was accomplished enough to exhibit with his friends at the National Arts Club in New York. Four years later he joined seven other artists under the leadership of Robert Henri in forming a group that rebelled against the academic art establishment. Known as The Eight, an exhibition of their work became a progressive force in American art, revitalizing realist painting. Throughout his career, Luks sought out working class subjects for his art. He exhibited paintings and drawings of urban life and city dwellers in the Armory Show in 1913, which showcased modern art.
Luks continued to paint and exhibit and taught for several years at the Art Students League in New York. He founded his own school and painted alongside his students until his death in 1933.
[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art.]